How to Wash a Big Dog at Home

Medium
20 - 45 Minutes
4 Weeks

Introduction

If your dog is a large breed, you might remember the days when you put your fluffy little pup in the bathtub and bathed him. Life was easy then when you could pick him up, lift him into the tub, wash, and rinse him with swift movements, dry him, and lift him back out of the bath. But then he grew up and now getting him into the tub is impossible. 

You can still keep your big dog clean while at home. You may have to get creative and give up the idea of using the bathtub, though. Summer months might allow for outdoor baths using the hose and some refreshing cool water. Inside you can consider putting your large dog in the shower with you, so he doesn't have to maneuver his massive body over the side of the bathtub, and you don't have to handle him as much as you did when you used the tub.

Dog's Perspective

If your large dog remembers his time in a bathtub when he was small, he might not quite understand why you're bathing him the way you are now. Just remember positive rewards for positive behaviors keep him in check, and encourage him to continue being a good boy while you're getting him clean.

The Backyard Bath Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Pin Brush
Towel
Step
1
Leash and harness
Leash your big guy or put on his harness and leash. You’ll need a safe and secure structure to tie him to in your yard to get him clean. Do this only in the hot summer months, so he has plenty of time to get dry without becoming too cold. Do not leave your pup tied up in the yard unattended and only keep him secured while you are bathing him.
Step
2
Treat
Have some treats handy to give your big guy as you bathe him with the hose. Prepare in advance with your dog shampoo and brushes on hand. You may also want a towel or two to dry him once he is clean.
Step
3
Hose rinse
Start with a fresh water rinse. Use the hose to rinse your dog from top to bottom soaking his skin and fur including his undercoat. Make sure you are using the hose without attachments or using a low-pressure shower attachment. Once he’s wet, step back so he can shake off the excess water.
Step
4
Wash
Using the shampoo or dog wash you have ready, clean your pup from head to tail. Because he’s so large, you should be able to stand right next to him and bathe his back, sides, legs, tummy, and tail. Avoid getting shampoo on his face. Instead, use a cloth or your hands to wash this area. Be prepared for him to shake a few times as you are washing him.
Step
5
Rinse
Once your big guy is all washed and scrubbed, you’ll need to rinse him with clean running water using the hose again. Holding the hose close to his skin will help to rinse out the suds without splashing you or your pup more than necessary. You may need to use your fingers to work through thick coats to ensure the shampoo is rinsed well.
Step
6
Shake
When you are done rinsing, your big dog will likely shake again. Stand back and let him do it. This will remove the most amount of water from his fur.
Step
7
Towel
The best you can, towel dry your big friend and unleash him from his hold. He will likely stop and shake several times to remove excess water.
Step
8
Treat
Get his attention and give him a tasty treat for a job well done.
Recommend grooming method?

The Dry Rub Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Towel
Step
1
Dry shampoo
You can buy dry shampoos from your local pet store, or you can make your own dry rub using baking soda and cornstarch from your kitchen. Mix baking soda half and half with cornstarch and add a few drops of a dog-safe essential oil to improve your pup’s scent.
Step
2
Brush
Start with a good brushing before applying the dry rub to your dog’s coat. This brushing will remove loose dirt and fur before getting your big guy clean. Focus on removing knots and tangles as well while you are brushing.
Step
3
Apply rub
Apply the dry rub to your brushed dog. You should have enough to cover his whole body. Do not apply any near his face and be cautious sprinkling it over his head, so he does not inhale the mixture of dry ingredients.
Step
4
Rub in
Use your fingers to rub the dry rub into your dog’s fur and down to his skin. This will work the solution through his coat, improving his scent and absorbing oils and odors.
Step
5
Brush out
After you have massaged the dry rub into your dog’s coat, use a slicker brush to brush it through the coat. Much of the dry ingredients will fall off during this brushing, but it has worked on removing odor and oily grime from your pup, so brushing it out of the fur is what you’d like to see.
Step
6
Shake
If you are not brushing your pup outside, you might want to take him outside where he will likely shake. This shaking will help to remove any excess powder left on the skin or fur.
Step
7
Treat
Always end a grooming session such as this with a yummy treat for your big guy.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Always prepare the bathing or showering area for your large dog before you bring the dog in.
  • Brushing your big bud before bathing will help loosen tangles and rid the coat of knots.
  • Your large dog will shake a few times during his bath. Prepare yourself for getting wet while bathing him.
  • An extra towel on hand to hold up between you and your furry friend will help keep you dry as he shakes excess water out of his fur.
  • This dog bath shake he will do will remove a lot of water once he’s been rinsed well. This will help to dry him better than a towel alone.
  • A handheld shower or hose is great for rinsing your large dog. Cups and bowls are great for rinsing, but won’t hold enough water to rinse a large dog quickly.
  • Be sure to rinse your dog well and do not allow shampoo to dry on the skin as it may cause dryness and itching.
  • Close the doors to your bathroom to keep your wet dog from running away before he’s dry.
  • If you wash your large guy outside, consider a leash attached to a stable surface to keep him in place while bathing.

Conclusion

Bathing a large dog is no small feat. But you can manage to get your big guy clean at home with the help of a shower your dog can fit in or a hose from your backyard. Be sure the weather is warm if you bathe outside, and prepare to get a bit wet yourself. Your giant pup could also benefit from a dry bath if he needs to be cleaned right away and cannot get wet. Keep your best bud out of the doghouse and back in your house, smelling great, with a bath at home.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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