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How To Bathe Your Dog

How To Bathe Your Dog
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Synopsis: There are many reasons you might want to wash your dog, including treating a skin problem or removing the smelly mud he rolled in on his morning walk. These reasons will influence how you bathe him and what you use to do so.

There are many reasons you might want to wash your dog, including treating a skin problem or removing the smelly mud he rolled in on his morning walk. These reasons will influence how you bathe him and what you use to do so.

Choosing a Dog Shampoo

There are many types of shampoos available for dogs, how do you know which one to choose?

Quick Tips

  • Brush Your Dog Before You Wash.
  • Flea Shampoo Should Only Be Used As Part Of A Flea Control Program.
  • Be Careful With Medicated Shampoo's. (most are not for ongoing use)
  • Try Dissolving Soap In A Spray Bottle To Make Lathering Easier.
  • Soap Free Shampoo: If your dog has normal healthy skin, then a mild soap free shampoo is ideal. This will be gentle enough to use frequently, and it shouldn't dry out his skin and coat.
  • Flea Shampoo: Flea shampoo can be helpful if you're constantly battling these little blood sucking insects. However, on their own, they are not very effective against a heavy flea burden. They are useful as part of a more extensive flea control program.
  • Medicated Shampoo: Medicated shampoos, particularly those obtained from your veterinarian, are effective in treating bacterial and fungal skin infections. They are usually not a good choice for regular use, and when your dog's skin is back to normal, you should switch back to a milder shampoo. The exception to this is if your veterinarian specifically recommends ongoing use of a medicated shampoo, when you should follow their advice.

How To Bathe Your Dog In 4 Easy Steps

When you wash your dog, don't be surprised if you get almost as wet as he does. Here are some simple steps to making the bathing process as enjoyable for you as it is for him.

Step 1: Brush Your Dog
brush dog
The first thing to do is to brush his coat thoroughly to remove any dirt, and to loosen any tangles. This is best done when he is still dry.

Step 2: Get Him Wet
wet dog
It is then time to turn on the hose. You can bathe your dog in a bath tub or outside on the grass. If you are doing it outside, you may want to tie him up to stop him making a break for freedom before you are finished. Wet his coat as best you can; depending on his breed you may find his coat is water resistant and it can be hard to wet him left down to his skin.

Step 3: Get Him Lathered
soapy dog
There are several ways you can apply shampoo to your dog. You can pour it directly onto his coat, but this can make it difficult to spread over the rest of his body. You can apply the shampoo to your hands then rub them through his fur and lather him up that way. A third option is to dissolve the shampoo in water and put it in a spray bottle, then spray the liquid onto him. Some dogs may be a bit nervous about being sprayed, so this won't work for everyone. Add water as needed to rub the shampoo into a good lather. It's easiest to wash the parts of him that are within reach, but don't forget to wash underneath his front legs and between his back legs. These areas are often overlooked particularly if your dog is fidgety and doesn't like a bath.

Step 4: Rinse Him Thoroughly
rinse dog
It's rinse time, and it's important that you remove all the soapy lather from your dog's coat. If you want to use a conditioner, now is the time to apply it. You can then give him a towel dry, and step back when you let him loose. The first thing he'll do is shake, and you'll be left in the firing line.

Special Note For Medicated Shampoos: If you are using a medicated shampoo to treat a skin condition, your vet may want you to only shampoo the affected area. Under these circumstances, you can skip the brushing because it may further irritate his skin, but the rest of the process is the same. Wet the irritated skin, lather the shampoo in and rinse it off, while leaving the rest of your dog dry. These shampoos are often more effective if you leave the lather in contact with your dog's skin for 10 minutes before rinsing it off. This gives the active ingredients more time to do their job.

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