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How to Properly Bathe Your Dog at Home

Some dogs despise bath time. If your pooch is the type to hide or scurry away as soon as you run the water, then you have a challenge on your hands. However, bathing a dog can be a pleasurable and easy experience if you know what to do. Below are some tips to help your canine get clean without taking them to the groomers.

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

Unlike humans, dogs need to bathe much less often. Unless your pup is rolling around in the dirt all day, you can usually get away with bathing them once a month. However, keep in mind that the frequency also depends on the breed. Dogs with longer coats like Shih Tzus often require more frequent baths than dogs with short hair.

What You’ll Need

Before you fetch your dog for bath time, make sure you have the following items at the ready:

  • Dog Brush
  • Towels (to keep things sanitary, give your pooch their own set)
  • Cotton balls (for their ears)
  • Saline solution or tear stain remover
  • A pitcher, sprayer, or showerhead
  • Dog shampoo (make sure it’s formulated for dogs; don’t use human shampoo as it’s too acidic)
  • Conditioner (optional, but it can detangle knots)
  • Treats (for before and after)
  • Dryer (optional)

Where to Bathe Your Dog

Along with the items above, it’s crucial to find a dedicated space to bathe your dog. Depending on your home, you may want to do this in the bathtub or shower, in a utility sink, or outside in the yard.

Remember that sinks are ideal because they’re at the perfect height. Bathtubs are a close second, but you’ll likely be washing on your knees. If you opt for the outdoors, make sure you find a way to fasten your pet to something, or they might run away.

How to Wash Your Dog

Once you’ve established where to bathe your dog, it’s time to fetch them. If your dog is the water-hating type, entice them with treats first. Otherwise, if you can coax your dog into the grooming area, you’re good to go with the steps below.

Brush Their Fur

Before you run the water, make sure you brush your dog first. This helps loosen tangles and get rid of any matted fur.

Put Cotton in Their Ears

Excess water in a dog’s ear canal is one of the biggest causes of infections. Put cotton balls in your pup’s ears first to ensure this doesn’t happen. This is especially important if their ears are the floppy kind.

Run the Water

Next, wet your dog thoroughly using a small showerhead or pitcher. Also, make sure the water is lukewarm, as too hot or too cold temperatures can dry their skin.

Apply Shampoo and Conditioner

When shampooing their fur, start at the tail and work towards the head. If they have lots of eye goop, use a pet tear stain remover rather than shampoo as it’s gentler and less irritating. If you need grooming materials, pet supplies Maricopa is a great option.


Once your dog is well rinsed and squeaky clean, dry them gently with towels. They’ll likely shake vigorously, so watch you don’t get sprayed. You can either let them air dry at this point or use a pet dryer if you don’t want them to get cold.

Treat and Brush

Lastly, give your pooch a treat as a reward. They’ll remember it next time. Once their fur is dry, you’ll also want to give them another brush to remove residual tangles.

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