Grooming Your Dog: The Bath

To learn more about grooming your dog, go to

Gather your supplies. You don’t want to be running around looking for cleaning products with a wet dog in the tub, so have everything in one place before you start. You should also make sure that you’re properly dressed in clothes you don’t mind getting messy, because you will get wet. At the very least, you will need:

  • Dog shampoo
  • Treats
  • Several towels
  • Place one towel on the edge of the tub to keep water from splashing over the tub. The rest are for drying.

Place a non-slip surface on the bottom of the tub. I used a towel for the tub for a large dog and one in the sink for a small dog.

Get your dog use to the idea of getting in the tub. Don’t fill it with water yet. Throw a ball into the tub to get your dogs attention. Encourage him to get in and get the ball. Be patient. It may take a while. It took Porkchop about 5 minutes to get in and get comfortable.

Start to fill the tub with warm water. Hot water can harm your dog’s skin, especially if your dog is short haired. You may have to spend some time desensitizing your dog to the sound or running water with the help of his favorite treats. Always go slowly to avoid overwhelming your pet and making things worse for both of you.

Soak your dog thoroughly. Make sure your dog’s coat is completely wet before you start applying shampoo to it.

Shampoo the dog. Begin at the neck and move downward toward the rear and legs, using your fingers to spread the shampoo and work it in down to the skin.

Rinse your dog thoroughly. As long as you see dirt or soap bubbles in the water coming off of an area, keep rinsing. You can use the same method you used to soak the dog’s coat before shampooing.

Dry your dog. Towel dry him as best as you can while he’s still in the tub, so you don’t make a mess. Place the towel over your dog’s back and give permission to shake the water off their body. Many dogs will learn the “bath rules” and wait to shake until you have placed the towel over them to contain the water droplets. If your dog is a short haired or you prefer to let your dog’s coat dry naturally, you’re done. If you have a double coated or long-haired dog, you may need to blow the coat dry.

towel_timeBlow dry the dog if necessary. Blow-drying can dry the coat without overheating or over-drying your dog. If you have a dog with especially long hair, you may need to dry the coat while brushing it. Make sure that the blow dryer is on the cool setting! It may take longer than usual, but it’s worth the time because there will be less of a chance your dog’s hair and skin will dry out.


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