Learn the Proper Way to Bathe a Dog and Leave it Smelling Good

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As part of maintaining the hygiene of your dog, giving it a proper bath is necessary. You should know that not all dogs love to get a bath, so take it easy with your dog. We will share the tips you can use when it comes to bathing a dog that hates its bath time. Well, before we get into all that, you need to learn about the proper way to bathe a dog. This is crucial so that your dog is always comfortable come bath time. Let us get into it.

How Often Should You Bathe a Dog?

Many people who own dogs might not be sure how often they need to wash their dogs. Some might say weekly while others every few days. It comes down to various factors that might affect how often you wash your dog. Some of these factors include;

  • Wash your dog when it smells. It does not matter whether you washed it yesterday. So long as your dog is smelly, just know it is time to give it a nice bath.
  • Talk to a professional groomer. Groomers will have extensive knowledge on how often you should wash your dog depending on its breed among other factors. Some will come up with the best schedule to help you take good care of your dog.
  • Any medical issues? If your dog has skin issues, then it would need regular cleaning with the prescribed medical shampoo to help it get better. Follow the instructions for cleaning the dog as stated by the vet to leave your dog with a healthier skin.
  • For dogs with double coats, they would need less bathing but more brushing. Such breeds include Chow Chow, Samoyeds, and Alaskan Malamutes.
  • Short-haired dogs or those with water repellent coats would need few baths to help with regulating their natural oils.

As you can see, it is essential to understand your dog breed before coming up with a bathing routine.

Supplies You Need for Bathing a Dog

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Before you can start washing the dog, you need to get all the important supplies. Such supplies include the following;

  • Dog shampoo. Make sure that you use dog shampoo and not human products. Still, pick a shampoo that fits well with the dog’s coat quality and how frequently you are to use the product.
  • Lukewarm water is important for washing a dog. No dog loves bathing in cold water.
  • A brush is important for combing your dog’s coat to remove the dead hair before washing it. Also, it is good for combing the coat after washing the dog to allow for faster drying.
  • Towels are also necessary for drying the dog’s coat. Do not use a hair dryer as it might be too hot or dry out the dog’s skin.

Some dogs do not like baths, so be patient with them. Take your time to prepare them for a bath.

How to Bathe Your Pet

Prepare its bath area

Photo credit: The Perfect Baths

First, gather all the necessary supplies you will need for washing your dog. This includes the dog shampoo, towels, combs, brushes, and much more.

You should consider placing a rubber mat in the tub to prevent the dog from slipping. We all know how the tub surface can get slippery after adding shampoo. Whenever a dog slips in the tub, it tends to panic making it hard to give it a bath.

Proceed to fill the tub with up to three or four inches of lukewarm water. The water should not be too hot or cold as such would make the bathing experience of the dog quite uncomfortable. Test the water temperature with your hand until you feel it is the right temperature.

You should consider blocking the drain with a steel wool. This is important as the steel wool will catch the dog hair. Having too much dog hair in the drain might end up clogging your tub.

Prepare the dog for a bath

As part of readying the dog for a bath, brush its coat. This activity helps to remove excess dirt, dead hair, and tangles. If the knots are tough to remove by brushing, use scissors to snip them. You need to be careful with your scissors so that you do not cut too close to the dog’s skin.

If you have to use a collar or leash during bath time, it is recommended that you use nylon collars and leashes. The nylon material is good as it can stand up to wet environments. A collar or leash is good for ease of control of the dog when bathing it. It can help to keep the dog from jumping out of the tub when giving it a bath.

Lead the dog to its bathing area. Using a treat can get the dog to behave better before bath time. Since bath time can be sometimes stressful on a dog, giving it a walk around the bathroom should help calm it down.

Once the dog seems relaxed, help it into the bath tub. Slowly lower it into the water, which is warm at this point. With the water being warm, your dog will be less resistant getting into the tub. You might face a bit of resistance when the water is too cold or hot. Adjust the water temperature and try again.

Washing the dog

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With a pitcher, wet the dog’s whole body. Do not blast water at the dog as it might make it frightened and try to get out of the tub. At this point, you can apply the shampoo to the dog’s coat. Massage the shampoo to get deep into the coat and remove most dirt.

It is best if you use a dog shampoo product that lathers easily.

With a rubber brush, gently massage the shampoo deep into the coat to remove as much dirt as possible. Once the whole body is washed, rinse thoroughly to remove the shampoo from its body. You should still use a pitcher and not blast it with a lot of water at once.


By now, you are done with bathing your dog. Use a towel to dry off any excess water. The drying should be done once the dog is out of the tub to avoid getting the towels excessively wet. You should not use a hair dryer as the sound from the device can frighten the dog. If you must use it, use it with the lowest setting. When the hair dryer is too hot, it can make the dog uncomfortable as too much heat reaches its skin.

Best Dog Shampoos for Bathing Your Pet

Paws & Pals Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

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This shampoo is one of the best thanks to its ingredients. It is designed to offer premium coat and skin treatment each time you wash your dog. The shampoo boasts of having the right balance of essential oils. Such oils help in rejuvenating the coat of your dog making it look better.

The shampoo is also good for moisturizing and soothing an itchy skin. Other benefits include relieving symptoms of allergies, dry skin, and hot spots. After the bath, your dog also smells nice, which is something you would want.


  • It comes with a nourishing formula
  • It helps to relieve allergy symptoms
  • The shampoo is good for an itchy skin


  • Not the best for dogs with a sensitive skin

Fresh ‘N Clean Scented Shampoo

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If you hope to achieve a long-lasting scent for your dog, then this could be an ideal shampoo to consider. It will also help to keep your dog’s coat moist all the time. Those who use it claim that it can leave your dog smelling fresh and looking good for weeks.

The shampoo is not just for smelling good, as it also helps to remove tangles and mats from the coat. For its price, you should find it an affordable option for keeping your dog clean.

There are antistatic agents in the shampoo making it possible to manage the coat easily until the next bath.


  • It provides a long-lasting scent
  • Its antistatic agents keep the coat manageable
  • It is cheap


  • Its lathering capability could be better

Wahl Flea & Tick Repelling Dog Shampoo

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The shampoo is made with eucalyptus cedar and rosemary ingredients. These two are good for helping you protect the dog’s coat from fleas, ticks, and any other insects. Its thick lather is great for ease of washing the dog all the time. You will also find that your dog smells good for longer.

This shampoo is still pH balance making it safe for your dog’s skin. Other safety features include it being alcohol free, paraben free, and PEG-80 free. All these features make it highly recommendable by vets.


  • It lathers easily
  • It is pH balanced
  • The shampoo is allergy friendly


  • The packaging is small

What is the Ideal Water Temperature for a Dog Bath?

A dog loves its bath water to be under 38 Degrees Celsius. Anything above this will make the dog uncomfortable during the entire bath process. It is recommended that you keep the water temperature lukewarm.

If the bath water feels too warm, it will end up overheating the dog’s skin. For a large dog, it will take more time before cooling down its coat.

You should also not use water that is too cold as it will still make the dog uncomfortable. Always take the dog out of the bath tub immediately when it shows any signs of pain or discomfort.

How to Bath a Dog that Hates Baths

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Give it treats before bath time

For a dog that hates taking a bath, using treats during bath time should entice it to like its baths. You could also regularly feed it around that the bath area so that it gets comfortable each time you take it there.

To help it get used to a bathtub, do a practice bath without water. It is only when the dog is accustomed to the bath area that you can introduce water.

Brush the dog’s coat while in the tub to help it calm down. Such a routine is also good to remove any dead hair from its coat before the actual bath. If you do this for a few days, the dog becomes less fearful of the bath environment.

Preparing it for a bath

To prepare it for a bath, start by taking long walks. During these walks, make the dog run around to spend as much energy as possible. Such activities make the dog tired, so it would have less energy to resist taking a bath.

Go ahead to fill the tub with lukewarm water before putting it in. Three to four inches of water should be enough to bath the dog. Get the dog into the tub. You will face less resistance as the dog is used to the tub environment. Splash water to its feet before doing it for the whole body.

The dog will realize bath time is not as bad as it had always thought. Proceed to use dog shampoo and rinse it thoroughly afterwards.

Wash it more often

Now that the dog shows signs of being comfortable in the tub, you should bathe it more often to help it get used to the water. After a few sessions, you should find that your dog no longer hates its bath time.

Additional Grooming Tips for Dogs

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If you hope to have a healthy dog, grooming is essential. Other than bathing it, here are some additional grooming tips you should consider doing.

  • Brush its coat to keep the fur looking great. This activity is also good for removing dead hair, thus keeping its skin healthy.
  • You should brush the dog’s teeth daily if possible. Just like humans, cavities can also affect your dog. Use the recommended toothpaste for a dog. Human toothpaste might make the dog sick.
  • Trim the dog’s nails
  • Clean the dog’s ears to prevent cases of infection
  • Wash its face more often to remove bacteria build up


It is important to maintain your dog’s health by ensuring its hygiene is not compromised. From the guide above, you now have an idea about the proper way to bathe a dog. By using the right products meant for dogs, cleaning just got easier. Even for a dog that does not like bathing, you now know which tips to use to get it loving its bath time. You can always consult a professional groomer to learn more tips about how to keep your dog clean and healthy.