How to Wash A Dog

A dog’s bath will always begin with a good brushing. For a short hair dog this is the time to look for fleas or skin irritations. For long haired dogs it is a time to inspect but also to remove the tangles. A room with a door that can close is best and if you have a shower door all the better because the dog is going to shake frequently throughout the bath spraying water everywhere.

Gather all of your supplies and have them near the bathing area. Your supplies should include dog shampoo and conditioner (especially for long haired dogs), washcloths or sponges, towels (more than one, depending on the size of the dog). Begin by wetting the dog down and applying the shampoo working it to lather in the coat, rinse well. Apply the conditioner again rinsing well when finished.

Use a cloth to wash the dogs face. Begin with no soap and pay special attention to the eye area. Apply a small amount of soap for around the mouth and bread area. Rinse well, but don’t just pour water over their head use the cloth.

Towel dry when finished and brush again. Don’t be surprised if the first thing they do is roll in the grass.


  1. For miniature breeds, think about using the sink or a plastic tub. They tend to be more nervous than larger dogs and a big bathtub might really scare them.

  2. Our dog loves the hair dryer! We stand up normal with him on the floor, the dryer on the lowest level and he just runs back and forth under it. A quick easy way to get him dried.

  3. Start washing your dog early. They will get used to it and as long as it is a pleasurable experience, will even learn to like it.

  4. Read the directions on the shampoo. If you are treating fleas or other conditions, it might be required to be on for a certain amount of time to be effective. If so, start timing as soon as you have covered the dog with the shampoo. Use that time to continue to lather it up so you are not just sitting there with a wet dog looking to escape.

  5. On hot days, try washing your dog outside. Fill a large tub with water in the morning, leave it to sit in the sun till the afternoon, then give the bath.

  6. Use a stroking motion to lather the shampoo. If you just use a circular motion it will cause the hair to become matted and tangled.

  7. There are three areas that really cause a dog to smell: their bottom, their private area and around their mouths. Pay special attention to those areas when washing and keep those areas trimmed.

  8. Don’t get water in your dog’s ears. Use a cloth to wash around the outside of the ear and use the opportunity to check for ear mites or scratches.

  9. Dog’s will shake constantly throughout the bath; it’s just in their nature. You might want to wear glasses of some sort to protect your eyes. I just put on a pair of cheap dollar store sunglasses with light-colored lenses.

  10. Some may disagree with this, but I have been using Suave shampoo for years on all my dogs with excellent results. Never any irritation and their coats are shiny and soft. Also, the cost savings are considerable when compared to the overpriced dog shampoos found in stores.

  11. Baby shampoo can be bought at the dollar store and smells great! It’s non-irritating and won’t burn if it gets in the dog’s eyes.

  12. Make sure you wash twice and rinse well because it will irritate the dog’s skin if you don’t.

  13. To keep your dog from shaking water everywhere during the bath, only wash from the neck down first. Do not wet the head. Once you have completely finished washing the body, you may wet the head. Gently keep your hand on some part of the head at all times. They will never ever shake.

  14. If your dog has sensitive skin, try an unscented goat’s milk soap to bathe him in. Please remember that a dog’s skin is much thinner than ours so products that are suitable for humans can harm our pets on occasion. If using human shampoo on dogs, it’s best to put it into your hands and rub together, then rub onto the dog’s hair rather than to squirt it directly onto their skin as it can burn them.

  15. Dry dog with a hair dryer for quick dryer and to minimize shaking. It can also make the experience therapeutic and relaxing for your pet.

  16. We put a towel in the bottom of the tub before we bath our dog. She doesn’t slip and her nails don’t scratch the tub.

  17. What I did for my smaller dog was we put her in the tub, let her get used to the water, then put the shampoo in my hands and work it into a lather, then apply it, and rinse using a cup of water. Then, wrapped her in a dryer-warmed towel, and if she was good, I would give her a treat.

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