Can I wash my dog with just water?

Can I wash my dog with just water?

Many dog owners hate to see their dogs scratching tirelessly due to bad ingredients used in the production of so many dog shampoos in the market today(online and offline). Most are scared of using harsh chemical ingredients found in most dog shampoos on their dogs, while others are on a budget and would entertain the idea of spending so much money on purchasing dog shampoos. But should you wash your dog with just water?

If your dog is comfortable with a wet bath and smells good already, then you can wash your dog with just water. But if your dog doesn’t smell fresh, then you should use dog shampoo, and essentials oil to improve your dog’s scent. 

Well, as a professional dog groomer with over two (2) decades of experience as a dog groomer, I am also going to give answers to what type of shampoo dog groomers use  and other questions regarding washing a dog with just water and other dog owners who are skeptical about using dog shampoos in washing or bathing their dogs.

Can I wash my dog with just water?

can I wash my dog with just water

As a dog parent, we’re bound to ask ourselves this question someday.- Can I wash my dog with just water?

You may have got a filthy dog with a stinky smell that needs proper care, but maybe you don’t have the resources to get a shampoo formulated for dogs with itchy and smelly skin . Now you have to figure out how to get your dog cleaned up with just water

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Well, outside making use of shampoo, there are several ways one can cleanse their dog with shampoo – some include The baking soda rub method, The wet bath method amongst many more, and even without water (this is for dogs that have undergone some surgeries and are advised to stay away from water).

Know this, bathing your dog without a shampoo may leave your dog not smelling fresh. Also, with a shampoo, cleaning, or washing of dogs becomes effortlessly easy.

But in answering the question, Can I wash my dog with just water? Let’s find out.

Can I wash my dog with just water every day?

Washing your dog every day with shampoo may have some side effects but washing them with just water everyday has no side effects. But why wash every day when you can actually keep the way from dirty environments and objects?

Washing your dog daily with just water does not affect it at all.

As a professional dog groomer who has been grooming for almost three(3) decades, I do not advise my clients to wash their dogs with just water.- Except they try to clean a spot on the dog that got stain- maybe due to play or the environment.

I always advise them to ensure that their dog stays clean to avoid washing daily as it could lead to dry and itchy skin.

Washing your dogs with just water every day can lead to;

  • Drying out their skin
  • An Itchy skin
  • Flaking

When we over bath our dogs, we deplete and reduce the natural oil found on their skin – This actually leads to dry skin and reduces the luster of a dog’s natural coat.

The about every and many more downsides of washing your dog daily.

Can I wash my dog without shampoo?

Just like we’ve answered in previous subtopics above, wash your dog without shampoo is okay, but the problem lies in the reason for the wash.

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If your dog is dirty, stinky, and stained, then washing without shampoo may not be advised; but if you insist, then it’s up to you.

Aside from washing your dog with shampoo, one can go for any of the below options.

  1. Making use of dish:

You do not have to go straight to using a dog dish soap on your dog.

Instead, you can formulate a simple one for your dog.

You’ll need;

  • ¼ cup of dawn
  • ½ cup of white vinegar
  • 2 cups of water

Ensure that you apply to your dog’s wet fur and then lather gently. Also, ensure that they do not get into their nose, mouth, or eyes.

  1. The use of baking soda:

You can either pour the baking soda and rub it into your dog’s coat, or you create a recipe:

  • 1 cup of raw-ground oatmeal
  • half ½ cup of baking soda
  • Three 3 cups of water
  1. Baby wipes or towel:

This is a great option too. You can use this to wash your dog without shampoo.

Please note: Making use of dog shampoo is the best option to go for when washing or cleaning your dog, especially if they have spent all their time in mud or a dirty and stinky environment.

Is it ok to wash your dog with cold water?

Bathing your dog with cold water is actually not bad, but consider the weather before you do so. Remember that cold water may not be okay for most dogs- Many do not find it fun.

If you want to bathe your dog in cold water, it ensures that the weather is warm enough. – This is to prevent your dog from catching a cold. In getting rid of dirt, please note that warm or slightly hot water may be more preferable.

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You may also want to start the was with heated water so that your dog’s body can get warm.

Caution and Considerations of Washing your Dog with just water

Here are some things you need to put into consideration before going into any of the above forms of washing your dog without the use of shampoo

  • Baking sodaOpens in a new tab. works well when you need your dog to smell good, but there is no shampoo around, or you do not have enough time for shampooing your dog.
  • Dry-washing or wet wipes can be recommended for dogs who get dirty but hate bathing.
  • If your dog is very okay with washing without shampoo, you might want to consider applying coconut oil on their coat to help sort out skin issues such as as- itching and skin dryness.
  • Should you opt for washing your dog without shampoo regardless of the effects, the. You may consider adding some essential oils to your brushing sessions.- Essential oils that can help freshen up your dog’s scent. One of such essential oils includes Lavender, which can help calmer down an anxious dog and leave some pleases scents behind.

How often should I bathe or wash my dog?

Dogs do not need regular bathing as humans do. Bathing once a month is good except they are always dirty and smelly due to their kind of job or environment.

Try as much as possible to keep their surroundings clean.


In all you do, know this washing or bathing your dog with shampoo is the best way to keep your dog clean.

It is also one of the best ways a dog owner or parents can maintain a healthy dog coat and keep parasites (ticks and fleas ) away from their dog’s coat.

All of the above-listed washing options are good, but making use of shampoo is the best.

Dr. Jason Williams

Dr. Jason Williams has served the veterinary field for over 26 years. After graduating from the Prestigious University of California--Davis. He has practiced in both the large and small animal sectors. His experience with Animals is immeasurable. Dr. Jason has found pleasure helping pet owners find the best information they'll ever need for their pets(companion). He currently has 20 pets and is dedicated to sharing from his wealth of experience to pet owners all over the world.

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