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Which Type of Pet Bath Should I Use?

Updated on January 24, 2011

When you want to give your pet a bath at home you probably think of using the bathtub in your bathroom. After all, the drain, faucet, and showerhead are already built in, and it’s already there. But there are some things you need to think about before using the standard tub. What’s more, you have some other options for bathing your pet, both at home and for when travelling with your pet. For example, there are different types of portable pet tubs that can be stored and used as needed. All these dog bath choices vary in the convenience they offer, how much they cost, and what options are available. Let’s look at each one.

The Standard Bathtub

The basic bathtub is the most obvious choice because all houses have at least one. Which can be the biggest issue. The tub has to be shared by humans and dogs. That means it may not always be available – a potential problem if someone is using the shower when your dog has just rolled around in the mud.

Another concern could be the height of the tub. With a smaller dog you may find yourself having to lean way over the side of the tub to wash your dog. This can put a strain on your back. Something to think about is putting your small dog on a small stool or shower seat so you can more easily reach your pooch.

Another problem could be the modern tub-shower combinations that often have tracks for sliding shower doors. It can be painful if you have to lean on these tracks to wash your dog. Something as simple as putting a thick towel over the tracks can save you a lot of pain.

On the plus side for the standard tub, it already has a drain built in to get rid of the pet hair, although a drain strainer can help the pipes from clogging up. You can attach a flexible showerhead so you can more easily reach around your dog. And, of course, there’s not any additional expense for bathing your pet, although you might want to invest in a pet restraint or a non-slip mat.

The Portable Pet Tub

If you want to bathe your dog outside the house or you need to keep your dog clean while vacationing together, you should consider investing in a portable pet tub.

These come in collapsible frame or inflatable versions. They fold down when not being used so they take up very little space. And both types travel easily because they are made of lightweight material. These are ideal if you are taking your dog on a vacation because you then don’t have to worry what you’ll do if the dog wants to romp in the sand at a beach.

One concern is that these portable bathtubs need be used on the ground and are usually only about two feet high. That means you’ll probably be kneeling down to wash your dog, especially if he or she is small. But even with a large dog, you’ll probably have to get down on your knees to get to the underside of the dog. Again, this can cause back strain for some people. And, because the sides are short, bigger dogs can splash water over the sides.

The portable tubs usually come with drainage holes to which you can attach a hose. An optional holder for all your dog grooming supplies is also often available.

Smaller portable dog tubs run about $50. Consider a portable dog tub during the summer when you want to bathe your dog outside or when travelling with your pet.

Booster Pet Baths

A different type of portable pet bath is called the booster bath. This is a bathtub usually made of polyethylene, so it’s strong and lightweight. It doesn’t fold down, but can easily be moved from your basement or storage shed to the back yard.

The big plus for the booster bath is that is has attachable legs. Once assembled, you can stand up when washing your dog. You’ll be surprised at how much easier this can make it to wash your dog. And you can move all around the tub to reach all sides of your dog.

This type tub also has its own drainage hole. You simply attach a hose to the hole to let the water out. Bring over a hose for washing the dog and you’re ready to go.

One useful option is a ramp that allows your dog to walk into the tub. The ramp is definitely recommended for larger dogs. Smaller dogs can just be lifted into the tub. Non-slip mats can be added to prevent your dog from slipping around. And optional dog grooming supply holders are also available.

The only disadvantage is that the tub itself does not fold down. So if you want to travel with this tub you will need more storage space.

They cost about $180 dollars but are a good choice for outdoor dog bathing and giving your dog its own private bath.

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