International Dog Day 2024 : How to Bathe a Dog (Preparations & Steps Involved)

Tips to Bathe Your Dog the Right Way

For many dog owners, bathing a dog can be a daunting task, especially if they are new pet parents. While you might love the new addition in your family, you will not always enjoy the dog scent that your fur baby will bring into your house. Hence, washing or bathing your dog is important. Bathing your dog can help improve your relationship with it and make sure that it stays healthy. However, it sure will be difficult to bathe your dog because most dogs find bathing an unpleasant experience. Follow the steps in this article to learn the best way to bathe a dog and make it a pleasant experience for both of you.

Preparations You Need to Make Before Bathing Your Dog

Here is what you will need to do:

  • To bathe your dog properly, you will need soap and shampoo for him, so pick the right one for your dog depending on his skin and fur.
  • Place small cotton balls inside each of your dog’s ears to prevent any water from seeping into the ear canal, as it can lead to ear infections.
  • Brush your dog’s fur down before bathing him so that the fur is loose and it is easier to get the water and shampoo to reach the skin.
  • Decide where you to bathe your dog.
  • If you decide to bathe him in a bathtub, put a non-skid mat in the tub or bathing area to prevent your dog from slipping.
  • If you have a dog with long fur, it is best to mix shampoo and water in a bowl or cup so that it is easier to lather on.
  • Block the drain with a ball of steel wool so that you can catch any loose fur that falls on the ground. Prevent it from blocking the drain.
  • Fill your bathtub or your bucket with lukewarm water before you bring in your dog so that the noise does not scare him.

Steps to Follow to Bathe Your Dog

Now that you have everything ready, it is time for bathing your dog. Here is a step-by-step guide for bathing your dog: Some dogs are cooperative, and some aren’t, so even if it requires you to leash your dog, do it. Use treats as an incentive for your dog if he is fussy. Also, before you actually start bathing your dog, take off his collar. Keeping your dog’s neck clean is as important as cleaning the rest of the body, take that collar off.

1. Wet Your Dog

Using a hand-held sprayer wet your dog. You can even use a bucket or pitcher to wet him. Although be careful while doing so. Do not wet your dog’s face and avoid his eyes and ears too. To clean your dog’s face, you can use a wet washcloth at the end of the bathing session.

Wet your dog

2. Apply Shampoo

For dogs with long fur, use two parts shampoo mixed with one part water in a bowl or cup. You don’t want clumps of shampoo getting stuck in one area of the fur. If your dog has short fur, you can squirt a line of shampoo down his spine.

3. Massage

Gently scrub and massage your dog. You can use your fingers to massage him, just the way shampoo your own hair. Massage in the direction of his fur growth. This will prevent any matting, and fur from tangling.

4. Look for Problem Areas

While massaging the shampoo into his fur and skin, it is best to check your dog for any rashes, bumps, scabs, or any other problems.

5. Leave in the Shampoo

Let the shampoo remain on your dog’s coat for about 10 to 15 minutes for it to show results. Follow the instructions mentioned on the shampoo bottle to find out how much shampoo to use and how to apply it.

Shampooing a dog

6. Rinse

Rinse the shampoo out of your dog’s coat with clean water. It is important that you keep rinsing until the water runs clear and there are no more soap suds. Make sure to get between the paw pads and toes since these are often places missed by many people.

Steps for Grooming Your Dog After Bathing

We aren’t done yet! Just like us, your dog will need a little care post bath to really complete the grooming session. Here are some things you will need to do:

1. Dry Your Dog

Some people choose towels and some choose hair dryers to dry their dog. But we suggest that you let your dog have a few good shakes. Air dry him if you live in a warm climate and have bathed your dog in the morning. While towel drying, do not rub. Pat down gently.

2. Brush Your Dog’s Fur

Brush your dog’s fur to prevent it from tangling. Brushing down your dog’s fur will also help get rid of excess water from his coat.

Brushing dog's fur

3. Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Use a cotton ball (and not earbuds) to prevent water from entering your dog’s ears. You can use a  cleaning solution to remove excess earwax from your dog’s ears.


Here are some frequently asked questions:

1. How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?

This depends on different factors like the environment, the breed of the dog, and its skin. For dogs with oily skin, like basset hounds, weekly bathing is required. Dogs with thick, double coats (Border collies and Huskies) or water repellent coats (Golden retrievers) should be bathed once every few months. However, you should brush them down daily instead.

Local Indian dogs and other dogs with short fur can be bathed once a month, or in the event, they go swimming or get too dirty.

2. Can I Bathe My Dog at Night?

It is suggested that you bathe your dog when it is warm. If you have an emergency and you need to bathe your dog at night, it is alright as long as you ensure to dry him well once you are done.

3. Can I Give My Dog a Bath Without Water?

There are many waterless bathing options available such as dry shampoo, wet wipes, waterless shampoo, which you can try.

Bathing your dog may seem like a tedious job, but it is something you will have to do if you want your dog to stay clean and healthy. As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to look after the needs of your dog. So take care of his needs and make memories!

Also Read:

Essential Dog Care Tips to Keep Your Pet Happy
Simple Tips for Potty Training Your Puppy
Healthy Homemade Dog Food Recipes

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