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Should you wipe your dog down after a walk?

Taking your dog for a walk is one of the highlights of being a dog owner. The fresh air, exercise, and time spent bonding with your furry friend are all great benefits. However, when your dog comes back from a walk, they may be covered in dirt, mud, grass, pollen, and more. This begs the question – should you wipe your dog down after a walk? There are pros and cons to consider when deciding whether or not to clean your dog post-walk.

Why You Should Wipe Your Dog Down

Here are some of the main reasons why wiping your dog down after a walk is a good idea:

Keeps Your Home Clean

Dogs love to explore on walks, but this means they often come home covered in dirt, mud, grass, pollen, and more. If you let them run around or lay on furniture before cleaning, they will spread all of that mess in your home. Wiping them down right when you get home keeps the dirt contained.

Removes Allergens

For dogs and owners who suffer from environmental allergies, wiping off pollen, grass, and other allergenic particles can provide relief. Dogs can develop itchy skin from allergens sticking to their coat during walks.

Prevents Parasites

Ticks, fleas, and other parasites can latch onto your dog during outdoor time. Wiping down with a washcloth immediately when you get home removes bugs before they can bite and cause infection. Checking your dog’s skin thoroughly while wiping can catch any parasites.

Freshens Up Smell

Dogs smell like, well, dogs after being outside! Wiping off dirt and releasing fur and skin oils can freshen up your pup’s natural odor until their next bath time. This is especially true in humid climates.

Monitoring Health

Wiping down your dog lets you do a quick inspection of their coat and skin. You may notice scratches, cuts, hot spots, flea dirt, or other problems that warrant treatment. Catching issues early allows for quicker recovery.

Reasons You May Want to Skip Wiping Down

While there are many benefits to wiping dogs down post-walk, there are a few reasons you may want to skip it:

Time Consuming

For dogs with thick coats or aversions to being wiped, it can be a lengthy process after every walk. Dogs that don’t enjoy baths may resist or need treats as a reward. This requires time and effort after every walk.

Transfers Dirt Indoors

If you wipe down your dog outside, dirt is contained. Wiping in an entryway still brings some dirt into the home before bathing. Having supplies ready by the door can minimize this.

Dries Skin

For dogs with dry, sensitive skin, frequent wiping can cause flaking and irritation. This is especially true if using cleansing wipes or washcloths with detergent. Sticking to water only minimizes this risk.

Dog Enjoys Being Dirty

Some dogs love rolling in the mud and grass! If your adventurous dog doesn’t mind being dirty, wiping them down against their will can take away their fun. As long as they don’t transfer mess into your home, letting them chill messy may be okay.

Tips for Effective Wiping

If you opt to wipe your dog after walks, here are some tips for making it easy and effective:

– Have supplies ready by the door – towels, wipes, brush, comb so there’s no delay.

– Use lukewarm water to wet a washcloth – avoid too hot or cold.

– Focus on paws, belly, legs, under tail – the areas that get dirtiest.

– Check skin for any abnormalities during wiping.

– Follow with a dry towel to soak up moisture.

– Give treats and praise throughout so your dog associates wiping with positive things.

– Properly dispose of used washcloths so they don’t transfer dirt into your home.

– Brush and comb after to neaten and spread oils through coat.


At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice whether or not you want to wipe down your dog after their daily outdoor adventures. There are certainly compelling reasons to do so, but also circumstances where skipping wiping is fine. Do what works best for your lifestyle and your dog’s needs. If you do choose to wipe them down, be gentle, make it a positive experience, and have the right supplies on hand to make the process easy for both of you! Proper post-walk wiping keeps your home clean and catches health issues early while avoiding drying out your dog’s skin.