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How to bath your dog while keeping him safe

Updated on November 3, 2013
My best friend: Alvin
My best friend: Alvin | Source

Comfort and safety

Make sure you think of comfort and safety when you bathe your dog.

Put a mat or towel at the bottom of the tub or shower so he has something to grip. This will help so he doesn't slide around in the tub. Sliding can be unsafe and easily scare your dog, so the next time you bathe him, he won't want to cooperate with you because he will be scared.

Cover your dogs eyes and ears to prevent water from getting into them. Most dogs don't like water in their face. Use a washcloth to wash his eyes, face and ears after your done with the rest of his bath.

You may want to leave his collar on if he is skittish or this is his first bath. A collar will help you to keep him under control. You can always wash under the collar if you leave it on.

Drying with a towel

English: The mascot of a cookhouse at the 9th Australian division, a puppy dog, being dried after his bath, in preparation for the visit of general Douglas Macarthur, Commander in Chief, Allied Land Forces, South West Pacific Area.
English: The mascot of a cookhouse at the 9th Australian division, a puppy dog, being dried after his bath, in preparation for the visit of general Douglas Macarthur, Commander in Chief, Allied Land Forces, South West Pacific Area. | Source

How to bathe your dog

It's a fact of life that dog's get dirty. They like playing in the dirt, rolling on the most unusual things and just generally becoming very dirty.

The fact is, dogs do get into things and dig. This can get them plenty dirty. If your dog is visibly dirty or he really smells bad, then it is time for you to give him a bath.

Keeping your dog clean can also help you cut down on housework. A dirty dog can leave dirt and dander trapped in your carpet and on your furniture.

Long haired dogs carry the most dirt around because it gets trapped in their hair. Bathing a long haired dog is harder and takes a lot more time than bathing a small short hair dog.

Whichever kind of dog you have, eventually he/she is going to need a bath. Here are some great ways to bathe your dog, while keeping him/her safe.

Let's start with where you are going to bathe your dog:

Bath tub:

If you have a bath tub with sides, you can bathe your dog in there. The sides will help him to know he is suppose to stay in the tub. A tub bath is also easier on your back.

For safety, put a mat or a towel on the bottom of the tub. This will give your dog something to "hang on" to while he is getting his bath. You may also want to keep his collar on so you can get ahold of him if he does slip in the tub.

Walk in shower:

If your shower is large enough for your dog, then a walk in shower is a great place to give your dog a bath. If you don't have a long hose attachment in your walk in shower, you may want to put one in. A hose makes it easier to wet him down and also rinse out the soap at the end.

A shower mat on the bottom of the shower should be used for safety. Your dog will not slide around like he would without something to hang on to. Having something to hang on to can help prevent injury to your dog.

Kitchen sink, or laundry sink:

If you have a small dog or a puppy, then you can wash him in either your kitchen sink or a laundry sink. A sink is an easy place to bathe your puppy or small dog. It is a smaller space, and gives you more control of the bath.

Put a kitchen towel on the bottom of your sink so your little dog can get a grip on it. This will make him feel safer, knowing he has something to grab if he should feel himself slipping.

Garden hose:

Using a garden hose is an easy way to give your "big boy" a bath. Be careful though because water from the hose is usually cold. So, only give your dog a bath on a warm day if you are using this method.

Now that you know where to bathe your dog, let's look at the how of bathing your dog:

Be safe:

If you are using either your bathtub with a removable showerhead or a walk-in shower to bathe your dog, put a large mat down in my tub to protect the surface and to provide a safe, non slip surface for your pooch. Make sure you bathe your dog in tempid or luke warm water. You don't want to scald, burn or freeze him.

Wash cycle:

First soak him down from head to toe with luke warm water, them apply flea shampoo. Lather him well ( he should love this part,it's just like giving him a head to toe massage!). Let the shampoo set on him for about 5-10 min. or whatever the directions say. Make sure it's lathered everywhere on you dog so the fleas cannot escape.

DO NOT GET SOAP OR WATER IN YOUR DOGS EYES! Or he will not like his bathes.Most dogs don't like water or soap splashed in their face. It makes them feel like they can't see or breathes and startles them. Use a wet wash cloth, without soap, and wash your dogs face with the wet wash cloth.

Rinse cycle:

After the required time, rinse. Start at his head and work your way to his tail. Don't forget his legs. Let him stand in the tub or shower a few minutes afterwards with the curtain closed and he will shake a couple times there. That will save you from having a boat load of water on your floor.


Finish drying him with a dry, clean towel. Try to get him as close to completely dry as you can. If your dog will allow this, you can use a blow dryer on him to get him totally dry.

Be careful if you use a blow dryer to dry your dog. If you get the blow dryer to close to your dogs skin, you may burn your dog. If your going to blow dry your dog to get him dry after a bathe, hold it at least 10-12 inches away from your dogs fur.

Ear care:

After you dry him as best you can, you need to clean his ears. I know..ooops would have forgot that part. Yes it is a step that a lot of pet owners forget, but your dogs ears get dirty too. Take a wet warm washcloth and clean the insides of his ears.

You can also use Q-Tips to clean your dogs ears. Just be careful. You don't want to "dig" too deep into your dogs ears or you may rupture his ear drum, causing severe pain and hearing loss.

There, your dog is sparkling clean!


The last step of the bath, if you do it once a month like I do, is to apply the flea protectant or give him his monthly flea pill. I use Sargeants flea oil for large dogs. I just start right behind his head and squeeze it along his back to just in front of his tail. There, now he is protected from those nasty, bothersome fleas.

Once he is all done, nice and clean, he deserves a treat. So give your dog a nice treat for enduring all that "punishment". Of course, my dog loves his bath. He jumps right in the tub as soon as he hears the word bath. I think that if you treat this grooming session more like a petting and massage session for your dog, he too will be jumping in that tub!


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