How to Bathe a Dog

When spending time indoors with our pets, keeping them clean is a priority. But how do you bathe your dog at home (to avoid trips to the groomer or do-it-yourself dog wash) without the mess of juggling super-size cups or buckets to rinse in the sink, bathtub or shower?

Bath time doesn’t have to be unpleasant for you or your dog. Bathing your dog at home can be easy if you know when and how to do it and have a few key items available.

How often does a dog need to be bathed? It depends on your dog’s lifestyle and breed. Bathing too often can be irritating to the skin so a good guideline is to bathe your dog only when the coat gets dirty or begins smelling “doggy.”

Begin by having these pet grooming supplies on hand before you start: brush, comb or rake; shampoo, conditioner, shampoo mitt, bathing tether, bath mat, drain cover, spray hose and towel.

  1. Gather all the things you need without your dog present (to reduce a dog’s anxiety.)
  2. Place a bath mat at the bottom of the sink, tub or shower so your pet will not slip and the surface will be protected from nail scratches.
  3. Place a screened cover over the drain to catch pet hair before it goes down the drain.
  4. Brush or comb the entire coat. Remove mats and tangles (some areas may need to be trimmed with clippers or scissors.)
  5. Bring your dog to the sink, tub or shower and attach a bathing tether to the collar to hold your pet in place and minimize its movement.
  6. Use a spray hose and hold it close to the dog’s coat to allow water to saturate the coat and skin. Avoid spraying water into eyes, nose and ears.
  7. Apply shampoo to a shampoo mitt and work the lather deep down to the skin. Rinse thoroughly with spray hose until water runs clear. Shampoo or conditioner residue left on the skin may cause irritation.
  8. Let your dog shake off the excess water. Then squeeze out excess water by running your hands over the dog.
  9. Finish by towel drying. Keep your dog indoors and away from drafts until the coat is completely dry.
  10. Gather all the bathing and grooming items and place them in a caddy for convenient storage and ease of use at the next bath.

Remember to bathe your dog on a regular basis and start early. If you get your puppy used to a bath, you won’t have any problems when the dog gets older.