How to Clean a Dog's Facial Wrinkles

by Mary Lougee
    "You smell like you need a bath."

    "You smell like you need a bath."

    Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    What is that doggy odor? A dog who has facial wrinkles or skin folds can smell if his face is not cleaned daily. This is especially true on dogs with very short noses and wrinkles, such as a pug. The wrinkles hold an accumulation of food, mucus, dry tears and debris that can lead to skin infections and harbor bad odors. Cleaning your dog’s face takes only a few minutes a day, and his fresh smell will reward you for your time.

    Step 1

    Place your wrinkly dog cleaning supplies on a table near a couch. Open a container of baby wipes and petroleum jelly. Place several cotton swabs on the table and a dry washcloth.

    Step 2

    Call your pooch over to you. Sit on the floor in front of your dog if he is a small breed or ask a large-breed dog to sit in front of you directly facing you.

    Step 3

    Place your thumb and forefinger on each side of a facial fold and gently open it. Wipe the interior of the fold from one side to the other with a baby wipe. Clean each wrinkle in the same manner on your dog’s face. Wipe gently and give your pet dog treats during the process so he associates cleaning his face with tasty rewards.

    Step 4

    Place a dry washcloth over a forefinger. Wipe each facial wrinkle from one side to the other with the washcloth. Reposition the washcloth over your forefinger in a dry area as needed to dry his folds. Leaving moisture inside facial folds can lead to skin infections and skin fold pyoderma.

    Step 5

    Dip a cotton swab into the petroleum jelly container and scoop a tiny amount onto the swab. Open each fold and apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the skin. Use a separate cotton swab for each wrinkle. Petroleum jelly repels moisture and conditions dry skin to keep it healthy.

    Step 6

    Give your four-legged friend several treats after he is clean and play a game he enjoys, such as fetch or tug-o-war. He will decide that patience during face cleaning secures him some one-on-one playtime with you and be patient.

    Items You Will Need

    • Baby wipes
    • Washcloth
    • Petroleum jelly
    • Cotton swabs
    • Dog treats


    • Start face-cleaning procedures with your dog on a daily basis as soon as you adopt him to acclimate him to the process.
    • Clean a dog’s facial wrinkles from the top of his head to the bottom, one at a time, so you don’t miss any skin folds.
    • Clean additional wrinkles on your dog in the same manner. Overweight dogs may have wrinkles near their tail, or some breeds, such as shar-peis and mastiffs, have wrinkles over their entire body that require routine cleaning.

    Photo Credits

    • Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Mary Lougee has been writing since 2004 and specializes in pets with publications in "Modern Dog" and "Pet Planet." Lougee gained extensive pet knowledge and expertise in care and rehabilitation, built a farm, and cares for rescue animals from small to large. She holds a bachelor's degree in management.

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