Bathing Your Dog

Bathing can be fun and a great way to bond with your pet and save money. Bathing frequency depends on your pet’s coat type, how much ‘fun’ they have rolling in things, how often you brush them, and your own tolerance for natural dog oils and dander. A good rule of thumb for minimum bathing is when the coat seems dirty and when the seasons change. Always use shampoo that’s safe to use on dogs or cats. For pets that need frequent bathing, have greasy or flakey skin or are prone to matting there are specially formulated veterinary shampoos that can correct these problems and be used multiple times in a week.

Bathing is simple:

  1. Brush your pet remove all dead hair and mats.
  2. Place a rubber bath mat in the bathtub/shower to provide secure footing.
  3. Use a spray hose to thoroughly wet your pet, taking care not to spray directly in the ears, eyes or nose. If you don’t have a spray hose, a large plastic pitcher or cup will work well. If using a cup, you may find it easier to pre-fill the tub with 3 or 4 inches of lukewarm water.
  4. Gently massage in shampoo, working from head to tail. Many medicated shampoos should be left on a specified time (5 or 10 minutes is common).
  5. Thoroughly rinse with a spray hose or pitcher; again, avoid the ears, eyes and nose.
  6. Check the ears for any foul odors or excessive debris; if you choose to use a cleansing solution follow your veterinarian’s recommendation. Using a soft cloth clean and then dry skin folds if needed (many Bulldogs, Pugs and Sharpeis will).
  7. Dry your pet with a large towel. A blow dryer set on low heat can also be used if your pet will tolerate it and is an excellent choice in pet that shed a lot or have dense fur that takes a long time to dry.

Many young puppies will wiggle and bounce all over the place while you try to brush or wet them. If this sounds like your pup, put a toy that floats in the tub so they can focus on the toy rather than on mouthing you. If your older dog is aggressive, fearful or resistant to the idea of being bathed, go slow! In general, we suggest you set the bar low and assume it will take 6 months. Take a few weeks to train them to go in and out of the tub or shower area. Take a few more weeks to have them stand and sit in the area and appear comfortable. Take a few more weeks to have them go in and hear the water run, then get their feet wet, then be wet down. All the while be very excited, give lots of rewards like petting, praise and treats– whatever works for them. You can contact us for tips and ideas that are more specific to your pet and situation.