How To Clean A Dog

How To Clean A Dog

How To Clean A Dog

Here is a groomer's top advice on how to bathe a dog, from choosing the right shampoo to how to wash a dog's head.

A little shampoo, a little water… Bathing a dog can't be that difficult, right? It's sometimes more difficult than you anticipate. Whether your dog enjoys baths or flees when you say “B-A-T-H,” bathing your dog on a regular basis is a vital element of pet care. Linda Easton, president of International Professional Groomers and proprietor of Salem, Oregon-based grooming business Canine Concepts, CPG, and ICMG, gives her top dog-washing techniques.

Bathing your dog on a regular basis is an important aspect of maintaining his grooming and hygiene. Baths, of course, aid in the removal of visible dirt that your dog has accumulated during enjoyable walks and romps through natural settings. Bathing your dog's coat not only keeps it clean, but it also keeps it healthy and parasite-free.

While all dogs require bathing, not all dogs require bathing at the same time – factors such as their breed, fur, and habitat all influence the appropriate interval between showers. Once you've determined how many baths your pet need, use these professional recommendations for bathing a dog, which are backed by a veterinarian, to make those baths as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.

Why Should You Bathe Your Dog?

Bathing your dog on a regular basis is a crucial aspect of overall pet care. The most common purpose for bathing a dog with healthy skin and a healthy coat is to remove an undesirable odor or to remove dirt from their coat.

Bathing has several advantages, including washing the skin and coat, removing loose hair, scale, and debris, and improving the shine of the hair coat.

Bathing may be part of the medical treatment plan for dogs with specific skin disorders, as prescribed by their veterinarian.

How To Bathe Your Dog

How To Bathe Your Dog

Set up an environment where your dog will be as comfortable as possible and will associate the experience positively before you even turn on the water. One method to achieve this is to prepare your dog's coat so that the process is as painless as possible.

“It's suggested that you brush your dog's coat, especially if they're longer-haired pups that acquire tangles frequently,” says Jennifer Freeman, a resident veterinarian and pet care expert at PetSmart. “When you start shampooing your dog, tangled hair might mat, making it an unpleasant experience for your pet.”

Where To Bathe Your Dog

First, you'll need to figure out where you'll bathe your dog. “Consider the size and breed of your dog as a starting point to ensure you have space and to best select whether to bathe your dog indoors or outside,” Freeman advises.

A sink may be the best option for tiny dogs. It's more than likely a bath tub, which can fit a variety of breed sizes.

In particular seasons, bathing your dog outside rather than indoors may be a good option for some breeds.


Bathing some dogs on the ground in the backyard can be the most convenient option. This allows owners to avoid lifting their dogs, especially those that are medium to large in size. This is also a viable alternative for dogs who attempt to leap from the tub.

Some homeowners choose to use a low-pressure garden hose. Always check the temperature of the hose water before using it, since it can be fairly hot at first in the summer and you'll need to wait until it cools down before using it. If the temperature is cooler, buckets filled with comfortable, warm water may be required instead, as the hose water may be too chilly.

Tub For Dogs/Bathtub

A bathtub or a dog tub may be suitable for other pets. Observe your pet; if they appear upset, try bathing them outside instead.

If you're using a tub, make sure to keep an eye on your dog and be present. Allow the water to go down the drain so that the tub does not overflow. This is crucial for the protection of the dog, as they can drown.

If you don't have a hose/shower attachment, you'll have to use containers/buckets of water and a ladle if you don't have one. Check the water temperature to make sure it's warm and pleasant for your dog, and that it's not too hot or cold.

Bathing Services Provided By Professionals

Bathing Services Provided By Professionals

If you need assistance bathing your dog, contact your local veterinarian's office; most of them offer bathing services, and experienced groomers are frequently employed by vet clinics.

Ideal Water Temperature And Pressure For Bathing A Dog

Be cautious of water temperature and pressure, especially if you're bathing your dog outside, where hoses may run cold or hot.

Make sure the water pressure is low and the water is lukewarm, whether you're using a hose or a shower head, according to Freeman.

Warm water is both comforting for your dog and effective at cleaning; cooler water does not clean as well. (If you don't enjoy a cold bath, your pet is likely to dislike it as well.)

How Often Should Your Dog Be Bathed?

You usually don't need to bathe your dog more than once a month unless he's just spent the afternoon playing in mud puddles. This varies by breed; longer-coated dogs may require more frequent bathing or even visits to a professional groomer. If you're unsure how often you should soap up your dog, see a groomer or your veterinarian. However, giving a bath once a month is essential.

“The way a dog's skin works is that they have a whole new layer of cells around every 30 days,” Easton explains. “As a result, the aged cells begin to slough off. That's what causes dander and other such things. So grooming or bathing on a regular basis keeps the dandruff at bay.”

Products And Tools

Products And Tools

Your initial selection will most likely be where you wish to bathe your dog. Your pick will most likely be influenced by the size of your dog. A tiny dog may be able to be bathed in a kitchen sink, but a large dog will need more space. Some pet parents prefer a dog-specific bathtub, which may be purchased separately or installed in the home or at a DIY dog bath facility. Fur and filth might clog your family bathtub if you use a distinct dog bath area. It's fine if you prefer to give your dog a bath in the family bathtub. Simply choose a location where your dog may enter and exit the cleaning area safely.

Then, before you turn on the water, double-check that you have all of your supplies and tools on hand. Easton adds, “You want to have everything you need exactly where you can get it.” You don't want to be running around your house chasing a wet dog while looking for conditioner. Shampoo, conditioner, and towels will undoubtedly be on your shopping list. You might also want an eye wash and a non-slip bath mat just in case.

To Bathe Your Dog, You'll Need The Following Items:

Dress in comfortable, casual clothes that you don't mind getting dirty — and soaking wet — before bathing your dog. Then assemble all of the materials you'll need and keep them close at hand. (It's much better to do it now than to try to locate lost objects while your dog is drenching you!)

You'll need absorbent towels, as well as an additional one for your pet to stand on after the bath when he's still wet. You'll need to use dog shampoo (you can ask your vet for the best brand for your pup). Get a set of combs and brushes that are appropriate for your dog's breed and coat type.

Choose The Best Shampoo And Conditioner

Your local veterinary clinic can advise you on which products are best for your companion dog. Select a shampoo made exclusively for dogs. Dogs have delicate skin, and the pH of their skin differs from that of humans, so human shampoo should not be used on them.

Choose a light and gentle hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs with healthy skin and coat. If your dog has skin problems, your veterinarian can recommend a shampoo or product to assist manage or treat those issues.

To assist reduce dryness after washing, apply a light and gentle hypoallergenic rinse-out conditioner after shampooing.

To ensure there is no reaction, patch a tiny amount of products first.

You'll want to start with the correct products if you want to give your dog a good bath. “Make sure you're using a shampoo designed exclusively for dogs,” Easton advises. “The pH of a dog's skin differs from that of a human's. As a result, they're more alkaline. It's possible that using a shampoo designed for people can irritate their skin.”

Puppy-specific shampoo can be beneficial when bathing a puppy, according to Easton. Puppy shampoo has a pH that is similar to that of a dog's eyes, so it won't bother the eyes as much if some gets into them.

If you're not sure what products to get for your dog, talk to a groomer about what he or she uses. Easton recommends using a gentle shampoo. If your dog has a specific problem (such as itchy skin), a shampoo developed to address that issue might be the best option.

The next vital step after bathing your dog is to apply a conditioner. “When you're grooming at home, you should always apply a conditioner after your shampoo since it strips a lot of the natural oils out of your skin and hair.” As a result, your conditioner rehydrates the epidermis while also closing all the cells on the outside of the hair shaft,” Easton explains.

How To Wash A Dog Correctly

How To Wash A Dog Correctly

The real fun begins once you've found the proper location and have the right products on hand. Here's how our experts recommend bathing:

Coax your puppy into the tub or the wash station. Treats are a fantastic way to get the process started on the right foot!

Using water, dilute the shampoo. Try putting some in a bowl of water or putting the shampoo in a dispenser with water. Shampoo that has been diluted will foam up and spread more evenly. According to Easton, most shampoo is thick and dense, so diluting it with water makes it easier to use.

Use warm water to wet your dog. Easton adds that checking the temperature with your hand is perfectly acceptable.

The dog should be shampooed twice. Easton adds that when the shampoo is used for the first time, it adheres to the dirt and aids in its removal. The second time around, you're truly cleansing your skin and removing any lingering dirt or oil from your hair. To help disperse the shampoo around, Easton suggests using a loofah sponge. Make sure to pay attention to the pads of your feet, armpits, and bellies. Most importantly, make it a pleasurable experience. “You can massage the entire dog with your hands. And if you're doing that and using warm water, and the dog is in a warm environment, it should be fine.

Make use of conditioner. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing it off.

Rinse thoroughly until no more product remains on the fur. “You want to scrub them thoroughly, but you also want to ensure that all of the soap has been removed.” “Probably the most essential thing,” says Easton. “Because if you don't get all of the soap out, it will remain on your skin and irritate it.” It's even worse than not bathing them.”

Steps To Grooming

The following are the basic stages for grooming a dog:


Brushing is the first line of defense for any dog owner in the effort to keep their dog clean. For short-coated dogs, this task should be done once a week, and for long-coated breeds, at least every other day.

Brushing loose fur, preventing matting, removing existing mats, and removing dirt and debris are all benefits of brushing. Before giving your dog a bath, give him a thorough brushing.

Cleaning Their Ears

Ear infections and smells can be caused by dirty ears. Some owners prefer to clean their dog's ears before giving him a bath, but you may always do it afterward if you want. To clean their ears, do the following:

Soak a cotton ball in a professional ear cleaning solution for dogs.

Wipe out the interior of the ear leathers first.

If your breed has a lot of hair in the canals, gently pluck out little sections of hair. This promotes air circulation, making bacteria and mites less attracted to the canals.

After removing any excess hair, dip a cotton swab in the cleaning solution and try to remove any debris.

Brushing The Teeth

Brushing your dog's teeth is an essential part of every grooming routine. You can use either doggie toothpaste or just plain water. Begin with the back teeth and softly push the brush against them in a circular motion, paying great attention to the gum line. Keep in mind to clean both the front and back surfaces.

What Is The Best Way To Wash A Dog's Face?

What Is The Best Way To Wash A Dog's Face?

One of the most difficult aspects of dog grooming is washing your dog's head. You don't want soap or water to get into your dog's sensitive ears, nose, or eyes. Easton advocates saving this step until the end of the bath and cleaning your pet's face with a washcloth.

Dip the cloth in soapy water, gently wash your dog's head and face, and then rinse with a new washcloth dipped in clear water. “You just want to make sure that all of the soap is out of those locations,”.

Even if you use a puppy shampoo that is supposed to be gentler on the eyes, it can still cause irritation, so avoid the eye area as much as possible. If shampoo gets into your dog's eyes, you should have an eye wash on hand. If your dog gets eye goobers, Easton recommends soaking them and gently removing them with a toothbrush.

How To Bathe A Water-Averse Dog

Although some dog breeds enjoy water (we're looking at you, golden retrievers), the sound of the bath faucet turning on makes many canines shiver. To counteract this, try showering your dog with loads of positive reinforcement. It's fantastic to be praised; it's even better to be rewarded! Make positive associations for your dog to remember the next time he sees you collecting dog shampoo.

It's also beneficial to have a spouse hold the dog as you bathe him, according to Easton. Start giving your dog a bath when he's a puppy, if feasible, to assist him get used to bath time.

Nail Trimming

It's time to clip your dog's nails if they require it after they've been cleaned and dried.

First, check to determine if your dog's nails need to be cut. Some like to do this before taking a bath, however this results in sharp edges on the nails. Leave this task till after the bath if you don't want to get scratched.

Trim the nails only till the pink “quick” is just visible through the nail. If you go any further, your dog will yelp and your nails will bleed. Remove the tips of black nails while dealing with them.

Trimming Fur

To keep your dog clean, you may need to do some extra trimming. Examine their pads to see if the hair between them should be cut. Pad hair that is too long might mat and collect debris.

To prevent stools from being caught, you can cut a tiny amount of hair away from a long-coated dog's anus. This is a sensitive region for dogs, so proceed with caution.

Finally, a long-coated dog will benefit from having their coat clipped to the same length as the floor. You can also round out the paws for a more polished appearance.

Drying Your Dog After A Bath

Drying Your Dog After A Bath

Regardless of where you bathe your dog, don't forget to dry him – it's an important part of the procedure to keep your pet comfortable and healthy.

“It's crucial to dry your dog with a towel regardless of where you bathe him – indoors or out,” Freeman advises. “Heavier-coated dogs should be properly dried to avoid moist areas in the undercoat, which can cause hot spots.” Acute moist dermatitis is a frequent skin condition in dogs that produces blisters and suffering.

What To Do After A Bath

To begin, towel-dry your dog as much as possible. Then, on a medium or cool setting, use a dog-specific hairdryer or a human hairdryer. Brush your dog as he dries, according to Easton. You can also air-dry your dog if he doesn't get chills or shiver excessively.

If you're air-drying your dog, “rub a brush through them every 10 or 15 minutes while they're drying to help avoid mats or separate mats if they have them,” Easton advises.

Your reward for giving your dog a wash is a dog who looks and smells clean. And the satisfaction of knowing you've done something good for your dog's health and appearance.

Bathing A Dog – Safety Tips

Whether your dog enjoys baths or is constantly apprehensive about the possibility, you'll want to put certain precautions in place to ensure bath time safe and secure.

“Unless your dog can stay still throughout a bath or you can confine them with your hand,” Freeman advises, “it's crucial to make sure you have somewhere to tether them if they escape mid-bath.” “Always keep an eye on your dog.”

She also advises pet owners to properly wash away any residual shampoo. “Failure to do so can result in contact dermatitis or hot areas, as well as moist and infected lesions that itch,” says the author.

Take Pleasure In A Job Well Done

You now know how to properly groom a dog like a professional groomer. No one will be able to tell that you groomed your dog yourself with a little practice!

I trust you enjoyed this article on How To Clean A Dog. Please stay tuned for more blog posts to come shortly. Take care!




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