give that dog a bath

Is it time your pup had a bath? Regular bathing not only helps to get rid of dirt and tame super-duper-doggo smell, it can help keep your furry buddy’s skin and coat in good condition. Plus, it’s fun!

If you’re picturing trying to chase a sudsy pooch around the yard with a hose, trust us, there is an easier way. Here are a few of our best tips.

What you need

  • A sink or tub, or a kiddie pool and hose outside (if it’s warm) – just remember to use a closed-off or contained space to avoid any wet-dog dashes
  • A non-skid mat to line slippery surfaces
  • Pet shampoo (no human soaps), ready to go and placed within easy reach
  • A bucket or pitcher to pour water
  • A sponge to capture any extra fur before clogs the drain
  • Towels for drying
  • Your dog

Prep your pet

First, if you’re washing outside, make sure the weather is on your side. Too hot, too cold, or too humid can all make bathing a bad idea. (And if your pet has just had a flea treatment, hold off for at least 48 hours.)

Next, do a bit of preliminary brushing to remove hair and tease through matts before your pet’s bath – it’ll help the shampoo to work and prevent massive hair wads from going down the drain.

Now it’s time for the eyes. You always want to avoid getting soap in your pet’s sensitive eyeballs. Here’s a pro tip: ring your dog's eye sockets with some petroleum jelly. Just gently wipe it off with a cloth when you’re done.

Onto the feet! We recommend trimming pet toenails before, not after, you embark on your bath adventure. This helps your pet keeps traction so they don’t slip.

Get your supplies

Some people like to dilute their pet shampoo to make pouring, lathering, and rinsing easier. Try using one part shampoo to 10-15 parts water, so it’s really liquid-y. And as crazy as it sounds, put your towels in the drier so they’re warm when you’re ready to dry your dog off. It can make a real difference in drying time. Put everything within easy reach and ready to go first, before setting up your pet.

Ready, set, wash

Once your dog is in place, it’s time to scrub!

First, rinse them down using lukewarm water. A direct deluge of water can be scary, so use a small pitcher or cup and pour closely onto your dog’s body instead of from higher in the air.

Then put pet-friendly shampoo into your cupped hands and gently massage it onto your pet with your palms and fingers. Always avoid getting shampoo or water in your pet’s eyes, nose, ears and mouth, whether washing or rinsing (see tip above). A wet washcloth, with no soap, on their faces works just as well.

If your pet seems nervous, speak to them calmly and gently. Reassure them with kind words and lots of loving attention.

Use lukewarm water to rinse off every speck of dog shampoo. Then stand back – it’s time for at least one great big wet shake. (Probably more.) When your dog is done drenching you, wrap them in a big, warm towel and dry them off.

Post-bath beauty routines

Once your pet is dry, check their ears to make sure they’re dry and odor-free. If they’re damp, use a cotton ball – never a cotton swab – to gently blot any dampness away.

After a bath is a great time for a really good grooming session. Bathing can loosen hair and fur, so tackle it now with a good de-shedding tool.

Congratulations! You’ve given your dog a bath. Reward them with praise or a few small treats – and maybe even reward yourself with a quick shower to rinse off.

And now that they’re clean, make sure they’re also getting the affordable, year-round petcare they deserve, with a bundle of discounted services from Banfield Pet Hospital. If your pet isn’t already part of the Banfield community, get started today.

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