How to Bathe a Dog at Home

Easy
15 - 30 Minutes
4 Weeks

Introduction

Bathing your dog at home is a fairly simple process. The only true risk you have is getting soap all over yourself! 

Taking your dog to the groomer constantly for a simple bath can become quite expensive. When you have the skills to bathe your dog within your own home, you can keep him clean even if you have a groomer cutting his fur and nails. You can bathe your dog in your bathtub and your shower or even in your backyard with a hose if weather permits. The biggest trick to bathing your dog at home is preparation.

Dog's Perspective

Your dog might be excited about bath time if he loves water. However, many dogs don't love the idea of running water and they don't love the sound of running water in a bathtub. To quell these emotions within your dog, have the bath already running before you put him in. If you decide to bathe your dog in the shower, a handheld shower works best. This allows you to get your dog wet without spraying water all over the place and controlling not only the flow, but the splashback.

The Bathtub Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Prepare
Gather everything you will need to bathe your dog. This should include at least two towels for drying, an additional towel for the bottom of the tub, shampoo, and a cup or bowl for rinsing. You should know your dog’s skin needs before purchasing a shampoo. Always use one made for dogs. People shampoo may be drying and cause itching.
Step
2
Brush
Away from the bathroom, give your dog a good brushing before his bath. This will help get any tangles out of the fur, making shampooing easier. If your dog has any mats, cut them out with scissors before bathing.
Step
3
Ears
You can place a cotton ball just inside your dog’s ears to help keep water from draining into the ear canal. Be sure not to put the cotton ball in too far.
Step
4
Bathtub towel
Line your bathtub with a towel to keep your dog from slipping on the floor of the tub. To keep your dog safe, place this towel in as the tub is filling before your dog enters the tub.
Step
5
Warmth
Fill the tub with warm water before your dog enters the bathroom. Some dogs do not like the sound or feel of running water. If possible, run the water and fill the tub no more than halfway, much less for small breed dogs, before your dog enters the bathroom.
Step
6
Close door
To keep the heat inside the bathroom, keep the door closed while you are getting your dog to come into the bathroom as well as during the bath.
Step
7
Place dog in tub
Set your dog in the tub and let him get used to the warm water. If you have a medium or larger breed you cannot lift into the tub, you may need a nonslip mat or another towel for the side of the tub. Help guide your dog into the tub while ensuring he is safe climbing over the edge.
Step
8
Wash
With a cup or handheld shower, rinse your dog from head to tail, getting his stomach and legs wet as well. With dog shampoo, lather his fur down to the skin with suds and bubbles to get your dog clean.
Step
9
Rinse
Be sure to rinse your dog from head to toe as well. Be sure to get his potty areas as well as his stomach. Leaving soap to dry on his skin could cause an itchy rash, so rinse well. Be careful of getting soap or water into his eyes and ears. If you put cotton balls in his ears, you can take them out once the dog is rinsed.
Step
10
Dry
Hold one towel up for that wet dog shake. This will help him dry off, so if you can, let him do it with a towel up to keep you dry. If it will mean water all over your bathroom, drape a towel over him like a blanket. With the second towel, begin to dry the dog. You can also use a hair dryer if your dog will let you to keep him warm while drying. Just be mindful of the heat coming off the dryer.
Recommend grooming method?

The Shower Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Towel
Step
1
Prep shower
Prepare the shower with towels and the shampoo you will be using on your dog. Place a towel on the shower floor for your dog to stand on. This will prevent him from slipping in the shower. If you place it over your drain, you can also prevent dog fur from clogging your drain. Be sure to remove any hazards such as razors you don’t want your dog near while showering.
Step
2
Prepare yourself
You may want to wear clothes you don’t mind getting a little wet, such as a bathing suit, to bathe your dog in the shower. If you have a handheld shower, your risk of getting wet depends on how well your dog handles the water.
Step
3
Ears
To keep water from entering your dog’s ears, place a cotton ball just inside the ear.
Step
4
Close door
To keep your dog warm, if you have a shower door, close it. It will also keep your dog from escaping while sudsy. If you do not have a shower door, closing the bathroom door may help keep some heat inside the bathroom.
Step
5
Shampoo
Using the handheld shower, get your dog wet from head to tail including his stomach and legs. Shampoo the dog’s fur and skin with dog shampoo.
Step
6
Rinse
Rinse all the shampoo from your dog’s skin and fur using the handheld shower. Be careful around his eyes and ears. If you keep the handheld shower close to your dog’s body he may be less anxious about spraying water.
Step
7
Dry
Once the water is off, your dog will want to shake. You can hold one towel up to keep yourself dry during this wild shake. The typical wet dog shake will help dry him a bit. Wrap a towel around your medium to large dog or wrap your small dog in a towel and begin to dry him.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • No matter which method you use, always keep more than one towel on hand. You will need at least one towel to get your dog dry. You might like a towel to hold up and protect yourself from the infamous dog shake when you are done bathing your dog.
  • Be aware of soap in your dog's eyes. No one enjoys soap in their eyes, not even your dog.
  • Be careful not to get water in your dog's ears, as this may cause yeast growth and discomfort.
  • When rinsing your dog, don't forget to rinse his belly and the backs of his legs.
  • Always be sure you are cleaning his potty areas as well. This will help keep your house cleaner as well as stop bacteria or disease from spreading.
  • A towel on the bottom of your tub or shower will keep your dog from slipping and getting hurt.

Conclusion

Fun and fur-tastic baths at home are exciting for you and your dog. You can bathe tiny dogs in your sink, medium sized dogs in your bathtub, and large breeds in your shower with you. You'll never have to wonder what the dog dragged in when you are able to clean him at home.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions