01 of 06
Bathing Step 1: Get Ready to Bathe Your Dog
Before you begin bathing your dog, there are a few things you must do to prepare. Proper preparation can make the process easier for you and your dog.
Choose a Location
A tub is usually the easiest place to bathe your dog, though very small dogs may be bathed in a sink. If you will be using your tub at home, it might take a toll on your back and knees. Many pet supply stores offer self-service dog wash tub you can use for a small fee. It's less expensive than paying for a groomer, and you can avoid a mess in your house. If you choose to bathe your dog outside, remember that cold water is no fun for most dogs. You may want to hook up the hot water so your dog can get a nice warm bath.
If you pay for the use of a self-service dog wash, these supplies will be ready and available for your use. If you bathe your dog at home, be sure to gather the following supplies in advance so you don't have to scramble for things later.
- Soft, absorbent towels. Beach towels work well for larger dogs.
- Shampoo -- should be intended for dogs and soap-free. Products containing natural ingredients are often best.
- Brushes and combs -- choose the appropriate tool for your dog's hair type.
- Bath mat for your dog to prevent slipping, if necessary.
- Apron and/or old clothes -- you are going to get wet!
Tip: Brush your dog out before the bath begins. Be sure to remove any tangles or mats, as these are harder to deal with once your dog is wet.
Many thanks to Highland Pet Supply for use of their dog wash facility.
Continue to 2 of 6 below.
02 of 06
Bathing Step 2: Get Your Dog Wet
Soak your dog from head to toe with warm water using a hand-held sprayer. Always test the temperature on your arm before spraying your dog. Be sure to avoid the eyes and inside of the ears. Many dogs have water-resistant coats, so a thorough soaking is usually necessary to penetrate the hair coat.
Tip: Your dog will instinctively want to shake the water off. Keeping a hand on your dog's head may help prevent this.Continue to 3 of 6 below.
03 of 06
Bathing Step 3: Shampoo Your Dog
Apply shampoo to your dog's coat. Avoid the eyes, face, and genital area. Use enough shampoo to create a lather. Apply small amounts of shampoo at a time to avoid using too much.
Tip: Mix two parts shampoo with one part water so a more liberal amount can be applied. Add the mixture to a spray bottle or large plastic cup for easier application. Remember to use caution around the face and eyes.Continue to 4 of 6 below.
04 of 06
Bathing Step 4: Scrub and Massage
Rub, scrub and massage your dog for several minutes. You can use your fingers, just like shampooing your own hair. Your dog will probably actually enjoy this part. Remember to clean the feet, too. Ideally, you should allow the shampoo to remain on your dog's coat for 10-15 minutes before rinsing.
Tip: You can also use a rubber tool with small nubs made especially for bathing a dog. It provides an extra massage for your dog.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Bathing Step 5: Rinse Your Dog
Apply a stream of warm water to your dog's coat, avoiding the eyes and ears. Thoroughly rinse all shampoo out of your dog's coat. It is very important to remove all shampoo residue from your dog.
Tip: Do not forget to rinse the feet and any skin folds or crevices on your dog.Continue to 6 of 6 below.
06 of 06
Bathing Step 6: Drying Your Dog
First, stand back and let your dog have a few good shakes. Then, towel-dry any excess water from your dog's coat. Lay a towel on the ground and let your dog go for it. Many dogs will instinctively rub on the towel and continue to shake off the water.
If your dog tolerates it, your may want to try blow-drying. Be sure to use a dryer with very low or no heat. If you bathe your dog at a self-service tub, a forced-air dryer might be available. Careful -- these dryers are powerful. Only turn it up as high as your dog tolerates, and stay away from the face, eyes, and ears. Once completely dry, thoroughly brush your dog out.
Tip: Try to keep your dog from going outside until dry, otherwise you'll have a dirty dog again in no time.
Congratulations -- you're done! Give your dog a treat, and you'll probably get a nice wet kiss in return. Your dog might be a bit tuckered out, so a nap may be warranted. Put your feet up and relax, too.