How to Wash Your Dog

As the months turn warmer, your dog may spend more and more time outside enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Unfortuantely, with all of this time outside, your dog is more at risk of getting dirty and in need of a bath. If you’d like to bathe your dog at home rather than taking him to the groomers, here’s a few things to keep in mind.

When should you wash your dog and how often?

You should wash your dog’s coat after returning from the beach, as salt water can ne damaging to the coat and skin if the salt remains. If your dog is muddy or dirty, then you should wash him immediately for the sake of his health and the sake of your clean home! There are a few other concerns when it comes to how to often you should wash your dog. Your dog’s breed may require more grooming and washing than other breeds, particularly if your dog has a silky coat. Read up on the breed to be sure you’re bathing him as required.


What do you need to wash your dog?

First, prepare a tub or basin with warm water. If washing your dog outside, you might opt for a kiddie pool, especially if you have a large dog. You only need a few basics to wash your dog, and you should gather these supplies up before you get your dog into the tub, so you make the process for both of you much easier. You’ll need dog shampoo, a brush, a clean towel, and dog conditioner, plus a bucket to rinse your dog. Your breed may have special needs depending on the texture of their coat, so you can ask your vet for any recommendations on what shampoo or conditioner you should use. If your dog has a skin allergy, for instance, you may need a special shampoo that is more than gentle than others on the market.


Beginning to wash your dog

Start the washing process by introducing your dog to the water, especially if he hasn’t been in it before. Talk to your dog in soothing tones, letting him know how happy you are that he’s been behaving during the bath. You can brush him for a minute or two to get him acclimated to the experience, as well as relax him. The brushing will also let you get any tangles or mats before you wash, and this way your dog will get cleaner.

After the brushing is done, wet your dog’s coat then work up a good lather of your dog shampoo. If your bottle has specific instructions, then you’ll need to follow those, otherwise, you can lather like you would your own human shampoo. Start at the head, and work your way down to the tail and legs. Don’t overlook the any of the dog’s skin folds or crevices either, as there may be dirt or debris caked in there that can irritate your dog’s skin.

Once your dog has been properly lathered, you can rinse the shampoo out well, taking care not to get any shampoo in his eyes. It may take several rinses to get the shampoo out, but it’s better to do the job thoroughly, so take your time so you keep your dog relaxed and receptive to the bath. Next you can condition your dog’s coat, if needed. Once the shampoo and conditioner process has been done, it’s time to move to the most fun part of the process, for the dog, that is!


Drying your dog’s coat

Know that dogs love to shake excess water off their coats, so be prepared for this to happen. It’s a natural response to being wet. Use your towel to dry your dog’s coat, making sure you don’t rub him dry too roughly. If you like, you can use a hair dryer on the lowest setting to gently dry his fur. If he’s been spooked by sounds like the hair dryer before, you may want to skip this step. Like drying your own hair, be sure you hold the hair dryer at least six inches away from the coat so it doesn’t burn. If your dog has a thick or corded coat, you need to thoroughly dry him, or his coat may mold.

Washing your dog at home lets you save money and time, especially if you’ve traditionally dropped him off at the groomers. I hope these tips and steps help make the experience enjoyable for both of you.


  1. Yay dogs!

  2. sweet dogs. definitely some like bathing and some do not.

  3. puppies bathing. i love it!

  4. I always use baby shampoo from Johnson & Johnson for my Maltese.

  5. Such good

  6. Pingback: Dog Grooming: Should You Groom at Home or Trust a Pro?

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