How to Give a Dog a Bath

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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 love them anyways. And the good news is, it is possible to make the bathing process something your dog will tolerate or even enjoy — meaning no more stinky dog or wet trail of madness through the house for you!

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

how to give your dog a bath

How to Bathe a Dog at Home

When doing any type of at home dog grooming, it is always a good idea to do it when your dog is a little tired and worn out. After some exercise is a good time, as your pup has worked off some of his energy and may be more interested in cooling off in a 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 and loosen any hair that’s also ready to shed. This will reduce the amount of hair that come off in the bath. Brushing your dog is an especially important first step to take if you have a long-haired dog whose coat tangles easily.

If you don’t brush them beforehand, you’ll wind up with a tangled mess by the time bath time is over. Plus, you won’t be able to get your dog as clean with all that loose hair in the way.

Be sure to use a brush that works best for your dog’s individual coat. The longer the coat, the longer the bristles need to be. And before you start the bath you’ll want to block the drain to keep it from getting clogged.

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

Place your dog in the bath or tub, on top of a non-slip mat to eliminate slipping. A mat will also give nervous dogs more confidence by giving them sure footing. You can use a towel if you don’t have a mat. To keep yourself from getting wet, you might also want to drape another towel over yourself.

Before adding shampoo, wet your dog down thoroughly with warm water. This will get them used to the temperature and help prepare their coat for the shampoo. Be careful not to burn your dog with hot water. If the water is too warm for your own skin it’s too warm for your dog as well.

Cold water will also make your dog uncomfortable and make them less willing to take another bath in the future. Find a temperature that your dog is comfortable with to make the process comfortable.

Some dogs might be scared by the sound of rushing water from the faucet. Instead, turn the faucet on and use a cup, or use a hand-held showerhead or an attachment like the Rinse Ace Pet Shower Sprayer.

3. Shampoo And Condition

There are a wide variety of shampoos and conditioners on the market. The products you choose should depend on your dog’s coat and any skin issues they may suffer from. For instance, dogs with dry skin might need a shampoo with added oils that promote skin and coat health. We like the Earthbath All Natural Pet 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. You can use a comb or brush if that helps. 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 one of the most important steps of the process. When you’re first learning how to give a dog a bath you’ll probably underestimate just how much rinsing they will need.

So as not to get overwhelmed by all the suds, start at the head and neck, working your way to the tail. The water pressure will help push the suds through your dog’s coat.

Use your fingers to work the water into the coat and completely wash away any remaining suds. Failure to do this can result in skin problems for your dog. The same way our skin would become irritated by shampoo left behind, dogs are just as sensitive.

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.

Blow-drying longer haired dogs will help them dry quicker. Just be sure to use the blow-dryer’s coolest setting.

Be careful not to burn your dog by holding the blow-dryer too close to the skin or by holding it in one place for too long. Run your fingers over your dog’s coat while you blow-dry to feel how warm your dog is getting and to avoid burning them.

If your dog is new to blow-drying, start slow and let them get used to the sound and sensation. Once they get used to it you may notice that they enjoy lying down and relaxing while being blown dry.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog

You may be wondering how often you should give your dog a bath. Well, that depends on a few things, like their breed, how long their coat is, and how long they spend outdoors. A good general rule of thumb is every couple of weeks. But some dogs with longer hair will need bathing weekly, and others with short hair can go a bit longer. You will soon know how often it is needed for your dog as he will most likely start to smell or feel or look dirty. If you are not sure, check with your vet for advice.

Recommended Reading: Best Low Maintenance Dog Breeds

Always finish off your dog’s bath with some positive praise and maybe a treat so that they remember and associate bathing as a positive experience.

Keep Your Dog Clean and Fresh

It may take a few rounds of baths before your dog gets used to the experience, but with time and patience you can make bathtime fun and easy for you both. I hope this has helped you to get your doggy smelling fresh and looking clean!