Min menu


 Bathing A Dog

bathing a dog with dawn
bathing a dog in the shower

All dogs need to have baths. Some more than others. Most dogs do not need to be washed more than once every couple of weeks because bathing a dog to often will dry out his skin. Every breed is different, so it is important to find out how often your particular breed should be bathed.  But there always is that extra bath, the ‘what did you roll in bath‘.

As an owner you want to make the whole process of taking a bath as easy and as painless as possible for both of you. Bath time should be, if not a happy time, at least not a total war zone.

Get everything ready in the bathroom before you get the dog. You are going to need to get any brushes and combs that the dog requires. Have dog shampoo and conditioner handy. Be sure you have towels, and the blow dryer, his leash, and a few treats. A change of clothes for you as well is highly recommended.

Once you have everything ready be sure that all windows and doors are closed. You do not want to be chasing a wet dog around the house. If you know your dog does not like his bath put him on his leash. It often helps to have another person around if you can arrange it, especially with larger dogs.

Always brush your dog before getting him wet. It is far easier to remove any knots and tangles when he is dry. If necessary cut out any mattes that you find, being very careful not to cut his skin.

Some people recommend filling the tub before getting the dog. But if your dog is really dirty you are going to have a tub full of very grimy water once the dog gets in. If you intend to use the showerhead to spray the dog be certain that you test the water . Start with his head area, but be sure not to get water in his eyes or ears and work your way towards the tail. Be certain to get all of the dog’s stomach and underside.

Once your pet is completely wet start shampooing. It is best to put the shampoo on your hands first and start lathering before moving to the dog. Work your way from head to tail. Talk to your dog throughout the process. Keep your tone cheerful and light. Give him the occasional treat. Don’t forget to carefully wash his paws, but be very gentle because dog’s paws are very sensitive. If you  are using conditioner make sure you follow the directions on the bottle.

It is very important to thoroughly rinse your pet. Shampoos and conditioners can be very drying and irritating to a dog. Once again start with his head area and work your way down. When you are certain that all the shampoo and conditioner are off, it is time to start drying.

Before he gets out of the tub use your hands to gently remove as much water as possible from his coat. Gently but firmly run your hand down his sides, his legs and his tail. Try to get his stomach if you can. Get a towel on him quickly, hopefully before he starts to ‘shake’. Many dogs shake their coats to try to remove the excess water. If you get the towel on quickly, you can prevent the bathroom from being totally soaked. Gently rub the dog all over. Hopefully you have prepared well, many dogs are going to require more than one towel.

Some dogs don’t mind the blow dryer while others are absolutely terrified of it. If you have a young dog it is important to introduce them to the blow dryer early. Once again keep things light, reward and praise while drying.  Make this a pleasant time for you and your pet. If your pet is showing real signs of anxiety around the blow dryer, STOP and try again next time. Be very careful using a dryer on your dog. What feels alright to you may be too hot for the dog. It is best to keep the heat setting on low or if possible turn it off altogether.

Once your done bathing your dog and he is dry, be sure that you reward him, give him lots of praise and a treat or two. Turn him loose, so that you can clean the bathroom.