Beginner Tips for Bathing your Dog 101

Beginner Tips for Bathing your Dog 101


For most puppies, bath time has never been an enjoyable activity, but giving your dog a bath does not have be to a struggle. By learning simple bathing your dog 101 tips, you can easily keep their fur nice, clean and free of harmful parasites. To make baths less stressful, there are things you can do to ease your nervous pet to prevent them from running off soaking wet. First, a little dog prep by brushing off any dirt loose fur, avoid splashing water in their eyes and ears, and then dry them gently. But before getting started, our bathing your dog 101 lesson dictates that pet owners should know when a bath is necessary, the products to use, and all the mistakes they should avoid.

It’s important to note that in bathing your dog 101, there is such a thing as too many baths which can remove the natural oils in their fur that prevent skin problems. How often you give your dog a bath depends on their breed, type of coat, and level of activity. For example, dogs with heavy coats, like a Husky, should ideally be only given a bath every few months. However, life happens, and if your pet plays in the mud, is sprayed by a skunk, or gets fleas, these scenarios all merit a bath. Ultimately, it is up to you to use common sense, if they smell like garbage, it’s bath time, but if they have a few crumbs in their fur, the bath can wait.

How to Bathe a Dog Easily

Before throwing your dog into the deep end, you can avoid common bath mistakes by preparing them for the bath as gently as possible. Consistency with the location of the bath and positive reinforcement in the form of praise and treats can help train your dog to relax before a bath. As you fill up the tub or sink, brush your dog as you normally would to remove matted fur and any surface level dirt. At this time, make sure you have everything you are going to need for the bath, like shampoo and towels, because leaving them alone mid-bath to get something will result in a wet mess. However, no matter how much preparation with our bathing your dog 101 tips, you will still get wet, but hopefully not as wet as your dog.

A Step-by-step Guide to Giving your Dog a Bath

In bathing your dog 101, follow these guidelines when washing your dog in order to avoid common bath-time mistakes dog owners make:  

  1. Remove their dog collar and brush their fur to remove matted areas or excess dirt
  2. Ensure the water you are using is warm to lukewarm to the touch
  3. Slowly place the dog in a shallow pool of water slightly above their ankles
    • If they struggle, do not force them in, but slowly reassure them and provide them with treats until they are standing in the water
  4. With a water pail, wet your dog from the base of their neck, across their entire body, while avoiding the head entirely
    • Do not get their head or face wet
  5. Make sure their coat is fully doused in water
  6. Apply shampoo by following the instructions on the bottle based on your type of dog
  7. Use your hands to lather up your dog by massaging in the direction of their hair growth to avoid tangles
    • Do not touch their anal sac unless you were taught how to properly handle it by your vet
  8. Use a damp washcloth to wash their face, but avoid washing the inside of their ears
  9. Rinse your dog until there are no more traces of soap
  10. Dry your dog by simply patting them down with a towel
    • Do not rub them with a towel aggressively, this can lead to matting
    • For dogs with long fur, combing the fur while it is a little damp will help avoid tangles
  11. Once the dog is dry, use a dry cotton ball to gently clean their ears by wiping any dirt away
  12. Bathing your dog 101 is not complete without giving them a treat for finishing a successful bath

Shampoo Recommendations

Any dog specific shampoo should do the trick and there are even shampoos for your specific dog breed or coat type. However, you may need a shampoo to treat a skin condition or to get rid of pests. If your dog is suffering from a bacterial skin infection caused by fungus, we recommend Phyto Vet CK Antiseptic Shampoo to help restore skin and prevent further damage. For tick and flea problems, we have tips for fun dog bath time fun with Adams Flea & Tick Shampoo. It is gentle on your pet and kills fleas, ticks and lice on contact.

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