Bathing Your Dog

Catherine Forman

It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it. Two factors make giving your dog a bath a huge undertaking:

  • The size of your dog.
  • How much your dog likes (or hates) water.

I have two dogs. The smaller dog, Miss Bee, weighs about fifty pounds. I can actually pick her up and haul her into the shower with me when she needs a good scrubbing. She doesn't like it, but it can be done in emergency situations -- like the time she rolled in something really gross and stinky at the park.


My big dog, Nerman, is closer to a hundred pounds. He loves water, which is good and bad when I'm trying to give him a bath. During the summer, I tie him out to the back deck and hose him down when it's bath time. And he loves it! His favorite part is trying to bite the hose water, which just cracks me up.

But it is probably easiest to bathe your dog if you have a bathtub (or a large utility sink, for smaller dogs). Fill the tub up a few inches with warm (not hot!) water and get the pup in. A detachable shower nozzle is a delightful luxury when it comes to dog washing -- you can spray what needs spraying with ease. However, you can also just use a big plastic cup to dump water all over your pup.

Like other dog grooming tasks, bathing your big dog is much easier if you have a helper. Firstly, because it makes the scrub go faster; secondly, they can help hold the dog in the tub if your dog wants to make a break for it.


Once your dog is wet, it's shampoo time! For dogs that don't have skin problems, you can use a gentle baby shampoo. However, my dogs always seem to have dry/flaky skin, so I use oatmeal based shampoos. Scrub em up, then rinse em down. Don't get water in their ears; I usually avoid pouring water over my dog's head entirely.

Then it's time for the fun part: trying to keep your dog from shaking while you dry them off. Two towels (one covering the head) are better than one, and this is another time when a helper will be much appreciated with a big dog. If the dog manages to shake, you're going to be cleaning water and hair off the bathroom walls!

Keep in mind that when you bathe your dog, you're probably going to end up soaked yourself. It's just a fact of life! Put on your bathing suit and have fun with it. If you make bath time enjoyable for your dog, it will be less of a chore.

wet white dog

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By Taylor living in Switzerland (Guest Post)
April 13, 20060 found this helpful

I used to have trouble washing my dog by myself (he weighs 35 kilos = 77 pounds) until my husband told me not to worry...he'd trained the dog to jump into the bathtub on his own. I just have to make sure there is a rubber mat on the bottom of the tub so his paws don't slip. Dogs want to please so you just have to train them to understand what you want. I guess it helps to have a really smart dog...and husband too!

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By Roberta Reyes (Guest Post)
March 3, 20080 found this helpful

I bathe my dog by putting him in the shower with me. I can't believe that most people rarely bathe their dogs. If you want your dog to be an INSIDE dog, you HAVE to bathe your dog more often!


Use baby shampoo on the head, and human shampoo on the rest of the dog's body.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 104 Posts
April 15, 20120 found this helpful

My dachshund is an inside dog and contrary to another post, my vet said it's best NOT to bath him any more than I have to as it can dry out their skin. His words were "bath him only if he stinks". I was bathing my dog every week and he told me to stop it. He said too many dogs get bathed way to often.

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June 27, 20140 found this helpful

I have two yorkies. They both hate to have a bath. I put a bathmat in the tub and a tether. Gracie, the youngest, is real good. Precious fights the whole time. She is elderly and has a limp leg. She can't stand for very long. I just bathe her sitting down and hold her up to bathe the back legs and rear end.


I use baby shampoo on their heads and a DOG shampoo from the vet to bathe them. I bathe Precious once a week and Gracie 2 to 3 times a week, per her vet. She has very sensitive skin and is prone to skin infection. It's a chore, but we survive and they smell so good and look so pretty.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 128 Feedbacks
January 21, 20160 found this helpful

I just saw a photo of your wee dogs today, in the car on Thrifty. What a wonderful photo. They are so lovely.

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