How to Give a Dog a Bath

We love our doggies, but the smells that frequently come with them… not so much.

Obviously, the way to fix this is by giving your dog regular baths. But that can be easier said than done.

Many dogs, even those that enjoy swimming or playing in the water, will do absolutely anything they can to avoid baths.

And a huge majority of those seem to want to punish us by deciding that they’re not going to start flailing around until after you’ve got them wet in a full tub, of course.

But we still adore them. The good news is that your dog can tolerate or even enjoy bathing.

Read on to learn how to make giving your dog a bath a breeze!

This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We thank you for your support.
how to give your dog a bath

How to Bathe a Dog at Home

It’s best to groom your dog at home when he’s tired and worn out. After a good workout, your dog will be more interested in a relaxing bath.

You will need some time and a little patience. Don’t rush through it.

Use it as a time to bond with your dog and you will both enjoy it more.

Use treats and toys to make it more fun for your dog. If he can associate baths with a positive experience, he will be more receptive to it next time.

1. Brush Your Dog

Brushing your dog before bathing helps remove any loose hair. This will reduce the number of hair that comes off in the bath.

It’s also an important first step to take if you have a long-haired dog whose coat tangles easily.

A tangled mess is the result of not brushing them before bathing. Plus, all that loose hair will limit your ability to clean your dog.

Use a brush that is suitable for your dog’s coat. Longer bristles are required for longer coats. And before you start the bath, block the drain to avoid clogging it.

Brushing before bathing will help to detangle any matted hair as well.

Recommended Reading: How to Detangle Matted Dog Hair

2. Wet Down Your Dog With Warm Water

Put your dog in the tub or bath with a non-slip mat to prevent slipping. A mat also gives nervous dogs confidence by providing traction.

If you don’t have a mat, use a towel. You may want to cover yourself with another towel to avoid getting wet.

Wet your dog thoroughly before applying shampoo. Find a temperature that your dog is comfortable with to make the process comfortable.

The sound of rushing water from the faucet may scare some dogs. Use a cup, a hand-held shower head, or an attachment like the Aquapaw Dog Bath Brush.

3. Shampoo And Condition

There are numerous shampoos and conditioners available. The products you use should be based on your dog’s coat and skin issues.

For instance, we like the 4Legger USDA Certified Organic Dog Shampoo, which is great for dogs with sensitive skin or allergies.

Use your hands to lather the shampoo throughout your dog’s coat. For dogs with thicker coats, make sure that the shampoo is worked into the coat well.

Rinse the shampoo out completely. Then, if you are using a conditioner, work this in next. Massage it deep into the coat with your hands.

Let it sit for a minute or two before rinsing again. Try the Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Conditioner for a nice shiny coat.

4. Rinse Thoroughly

Rinsing your dog thoroughly is an important step. When first learning to bathe a dog, you may underestimate the amount of rinsing required.

We suggest starting at the head and neck, working your way to the tail. The water pressure will help push the suds through your dog’s coat.

Work the water into the coat with your fingers to remove any remaining suds. Failure to do so may cause skin problems in your dog.

Like our skin, dogs’ skin is sensitive to shampoo residue. If your dog’s skin seems irritated after a bath another good rinse might be needed.

5. Dry And Brush

Start by towel-drying your dog. You can use an old towel or get an absorbent Shammy Dog Towel with Hand Pockets to make it a bit easier.

Short-haired dogs will air-dry quickly.

Longer-haired dogs will dry faster if blown dry. Use the coolest setting on the blow-dryer.

Prevent burning your dog by not holding the blow-dryer too close to the skin or too long in one place. While blow-drying your dog’s coat, run your fingers over it to feel how warm it is.

If your dog is new to blow-drying, start slow and let them get used to it.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog

You may be wondering how often your should bathe your dog. That depends on their breed, coat length, and time spent outdoors.

Every two weeks is a good rule of thumb. But longer-haired dogs need weekly baths, while short-haired dogs can go longer. 

You’ll know how often your dog needs it when he starts smelling, feeling, or looking dirty. If unsure, consult your veterinarian.

Recommended Reading: Best Low Maintenance Dog Breeds

Always end your dog’s bath with positive praise and a treat so they remember it as a positive experience.

Keep Your Dog Clean and Fresh

It may take a few baths for your dog to get used to the experience, but with practice, you can make bath time fun for both of you.

I hope this helped you get your dog clean and smelling good!

Find out if you should wash your dog after swimming in the pool.