We look at the best way to give your dog a bath at home. Does your dog have a doggie aroma? Do they love to jump into mud puddles or dig up dirt? Most dogs need baths on occasion, especially the ones who spend time outdoors. This can make running to the groomers all of the time pricey. 

You can keep your Rover’s skin and coat in great condition by bathing them at home. Pet owners wonder about the best way of going about this. You don’t want this to be stressful for your dog. This is why Oakland Veterinary Referral Sources is here to give you the basics on how to give your dog a bath at home, for a clean, fresh, happy and great smelling dog.

Preparing to Give Your Dog a Bath at Home

If you plan to bathe your dog at home regularly, take time to make your dog feel comfortable with the tub when it’s dry and then with water. Gradually train your dog to jump in and out of the dry tub, then teach them to stay while you quickly turn the water on and off and pouring a little water over them accompanied by treats. You can even occasionally feed or treat your dog in the tub so that there are positive associations.

Take your dog for a walk or play to expend some energy before the bath if possible. Allocate enough time that you don’t feel rushed and convey that stress or rushed energy to your dog. 

Make sure you have the right kind of tools for the job and they are gathered before you start the bath. Supplies you will need include:

  • Brush or comb
  • Towels (3 or more) 
  • Mat or towel for bottom of tub (optional but recommended)
  • Dog friendly shampoo and conditioner
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Treats and/or smear of peanut butter on the wall or a Licky mat with suction
  • Blow dryer (optional)

Your dog will need a dog shampoo for their skin and coat type. There are shampoos for shedders and non shedders, for those with itchy or sensitive skin, medicated shampoos, natural shampoos–ask your groomer or veterinarian for suggestions if you’re not sure. Never use human shampoo on your pet as this can irritate their skin.

Brush your dog first and remove any matted fur or tangles. A good quality brush or comb is another essential part of their bath. During this time, give them a treat and make sure they aren’t anxious by speaking in a soft, reassuring voice.

Protect Your Dog’s Ears

Dogs are prone to ear infections when moisture and debris remain in the ear canal. To prevent this, be careful not to spray water into or pour water over the ears. You can use a few cotton balls and place them in your dog’s ears to keep them dry. Cleaning wipes and cotton balls can be used to clean around the ears without getting water into them.

Now, for the Bath

Fill the tub halfway with lukewarm water (never hot). Make sure there is enough water to at least get your dog thoroughly soaked. This is particularly important to check how wet they are if they have a thick undercoat, since you want to get down to the skin with your shampoo.

After they are completely wet, apply a generous amount of shampoo along the spine, under the tail, and around the torso. Work up a good lather and begin to rinse your dog from the top down to their feet. You will have to rinse a few times to ensure all the suds are gone and they are free of the shampoo. If you have a hand held shower nozzle that detaches, this is your best bet at a thorough rinse. You can also use a plastic pitcher and pour the clean water over your pet.

If you are using a dog friendly conditioner, you can repeat the above mentioned steps. Now, it is time for drying off your perfectly bathed pup. Having lots of towels helps with this effort, since your dog will want to be warm and dry right away. Make sure to pay close attention to drying the face and ears. If you like, you can use a blowdryer on a cool setting, but never get it too close to the skin because it can cause burns.

Last but not least, reward your clean-smelling, pretty as a picture pet with a delicious treat after the bath. You may also want to do some type of bonding activity (cuddling, playing, etc.) to again build that positive association with bathing.

Questions About How to Give Your Dog a Bath at Home?

If you have any questions about the best way to give your dog a bath at home, please give us a call!