How to Bathe a Dog: The Ultimate Guide

How to bathe a dog

Is it time to bathe your dog?

Don’t dump them into the tub just yet! There are important steps to keep in mind when you bathe a dog. You want your dog to enjoy the experience, not to fear it or feel agitated and angry.

The good news is we’ve compiled the most useful dog bathing tips for you. We invite you to continue reading our guide below to learn how you can give your dog the best bath today:

Preparing Your Dog

Don’t simply grab a hose and bathe a dog with no preparation. Start by getting your dog ready for the activity. 

Bring your dog to the bathing spot. This will help them associate the area with bathing. Get a brush and groom your dog, making sure to untangle knots in their coat.

How often should you prep and bathe your dog? For most dogs, you can get away bathing them only once a month. Dogs with long coats or breeds that run around a lot might need a bath every week or two. 

Where to Bathe a Dog

Got a small dog? You can do all the dog washing in a sink then. If you have a slightly bigger dog, you can get away by giving them a bath in the tub. 

Big dogs with long, thick coats need more space. You’ll want to bath them outdoors.

However, make sure it’s not too cold or too hot outside. If it’s too hot, find a spot with a shade. This guarantees your dog doesn’t suffer from extreme heat. 

Tools for the Job

The first thing you’ll need is shampoo. Conditioner isn’t always needed but it can help if your dog has a long coat.

Don’t use human shampoo on dogs. The acidity of human shampoos, even milder shampoo like the ones meant for babies and toddlers, can be too harsh for a dog’s skin. Yes, dog shampoo can be a bit more expensive but it has the right pH balance. 

Always bring a leash, even if your dog doesn’t run away. Your dog might get surprised and could run off, forcing you to chase them down. Bring treats too — praising your dog and giving treats helps them develop a positive outlook towards bathing.

Bathing Process

Now it’s time to bathe your dog! Use lukewarm water. Cold or ice water isn’t great for cleaning and hot water can harm your dog. 

If you’re using a hose, don’t increase the pressure. The water should simply flow out so that it won’t hurt your pet. Increasing the pressure could also scare them, causing them to run away. 

When you apply the shampoo, avoid sensitive areas like their face. You don’t want to get shampoo in their eyes, nose, and mouth. Take your time to massage shampoo on their body, the same way you’d massage soap and shampoo on your head.

Washing a Dog’s Face

Washing your dog’s face is still part of good dog care. As mentioned, you do need to be more careful so you don’t get shampoo in their sensitive areas. Get a clean washcloth and dip that into the shampoo-filled water and then gently scrub it on their face. 

Let the shampoo sit in for a bit and then get a different washcloth. Dip it in clean water and use that to rinse off the shampoo from the dog’s face. Make sure to get everything off to avoid leftover shampoo stinging your dog’s eyes or mouth. 

Drying Your Dog

Don’t forget to dry your dog. Similar to humans, it’s not healthy for your dog to run around wet. Their fur could knot and they could develop diseases on their skin due to the moisture. 

Use a blow dryer designed specifically for dogs. The ones for people can be too hot and this will harm your pet. 

Pet your dog and encourage it with soothing words. Some dogs panic the moment they hear a blow dryer, similar to how some animals panic from the sound of a vacuum cleaner. Allow them to sit down and enjoy the drying process. 

Dog’s That Hate Bathing

Some dog breeds don’t like taking a bath. It’s not a big problem, you’ll simply need to do some extra work. 

First, make sure to keep them leashed. Have someone with you so they can hold the dog down in case they get agitated and begin to panic. Both of you need to soothe the dog with praises and treats. 

Always bathe your dog in the same spot. Once your dog begins to enjoy bathing, they’ll associate the spot with the joy and pleasure they experienced. They’ll know it’s time for a bath whenever you bring them over to the usual corner. 

To prevent your dog from panicking, don’t immediately run water over them. Get them accustomed to the water before fully committing to the bath. 

Professional Dog Grooming

It’s okay if you can’t always bathe your dog on your own. It’s fine to bring them to a professional for expert grooming. In fact, this can bless your dog with a wonderful experience.

After all, groomers will not only bathe your dog but will also clean and file their nails and cut or clean their coat. Professional grooming can become a luxurious and relaxing experience for your pet. It can get a bit expensive but the good news is you only need to do this once in a while.

Give Your Dog a Good Bath Today

Now you know how to bathe a dog properly. It does take a little bit of preparation, some tools, and patience. However, you can guarantee that your dog will behave and enjoy the bath with the right setup and know-how. 

Of course, bathing your dog is only the beginning. 

Grooming involves taking care of their nails and their coat too. You also need to learn how to keep your dog happy and healthy. Fortunately, we’ve got a library of posts to help you out so don’t hesitate to continue reading our pet guides right here, right now!