How to Give Your Dog a Bath

Fido has done it again. He’s rolled in something stinky outside and you have to get him clean…QUICK!

So do you rush him to the groomers or tackle it yourself?

If you’re going to do it yourself, there’s several types of shampoo on the market so be sure to see what would be best for your pup. To be safe, dog shampoo formulated with oatmeal is generally a safe product.

Any professional dog groomer knows there’s a huge difference in dog shampoos but many dog parents don’t. On top of that, many people think that using our shampoo or even dish washing liquid  is fine for dog baths, when in reality it isn’t. Using products that are not specifically made for dogs can be detrimental to their skin and hair.

So you’re ready to get this show on the road, here’s a checklist to make your job a little easier:

  1. Assemble your supplies, i.e. dog shampoo, plastic cup or shower handle;
  2. Gather towels, put one or two on the floor to catch any spills or splashes from the tub, place others close by;
  3. Prepare yourself. Don’t laugh, we’ve done this many times and suggest wearing shorts, t-shirt, remove any jewelry, pull your hair back if necessary;
  4. Attach a leash to your dog and tether him in the tub if possible;
  5. Put a non-skid bath mat in your tub so your dog can have good footing;

Now you’re ready to put your dog in the tub so read this:

  1. Adjust water before you put your dog in the tub, warm/tepid water is good;
  2. One the water is adjusted, place your dog in, try to keep it positive, don’t use punishment;
  3. Either use the plastic cup or shower handle to thoroughly wet all of your dogs’ hair, from snout to tail;
  4. Apply generous amount of dog shampoo on and later up, add water if necessary;
  5. Rub the shampoo over his entire body;
  6. Be sure to lather shampoo on his rear and his tail;
  7. Pick each foot up and rub between each toe and rub over all of his pads;
  8. Make sure to wash his ears and to keep the shampoo from getting into his eyes.

Rinsing is the most important part. If you leave shampoo in his hair an infection could occur so make sure to rinse completely.

While bathing your dog, you can feel for lumps and bumps and check for any tenderness. You can check their nails at this time also.

How often should you shampoo your dog?

Once a month or every other month should be sufficient and if you bathe him more frequently you could cause problems.

Other interesting things about dogs:

Dogs have a unique acid mantle on their skin which helps keep them healthy. When we use shampoo that are harsh, we can wash away this protective layer of skin. Our skin ph level ranges from 5.4 to 5.9 and a dog’s ph level ranges from 6.2 to 7.4, hence the need for using gentler shampoo.

Did you know that dog hair has an important function? Surprisingly it does. Dog hair helps keep your dog safe by blocking contaminants that could otherwise get into their skin. Dog hair can repel water. Dog hair protects the skin from the sun.  Another interesting thing: The more hair an animal has on its body the thinner the skin is. Interesting, eh!?

So your dog still stinks, what’s going on?

Maybe you’re washing too much. Odor-causing bacteria can grow where the acid mantle should be. Another culprit could be a skin infection or disease. Consult a veterinarian and rule out any problems your dog might have.

Bath time can be a pleasurable experience for your dog. It doesn’t have to be a stressful time so have fun and try to stay dry when you give Fido a bath.


Kelley Stewart

CEO|Pet Sitter

sit-stay-play In-home pet sitting & more.LLC

Click HERE to schedule pet sitting services with us!

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