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How to build your own recirculating bathing system for bathing your dog

Updated on May 10, 2012

Home Made Recirculating Bathing System

In this lens I am going to show you how we made our own home made recirculating bathing system for my home based grooming business.

Most dog grooming shops have plumbing already and don't need this kind of water works. But what if you are only working in a garage or outbulding or barn that doesn't have plumbing. This may help you.

View the photos below.

Getting water from a stone

Well not literally. That's how I felt at first as I looked at our small storage building that we had decided would be transformed into my new grooming room. Was I going to continue to bath in the house using my bathtub and then carry the dogs out to the groom room for the drying and grooming?

Funny how fast you can come up with solutions when you have too. I had been looking at recirculating bathing systems on the internet already and had become familiar with how they work. (the same concept as your washing machine) Yet still most people used them in the bathtub and incorporated them with their running water. What if you don't have the luxury of running water? Here is our solution. As pictured below we used pails of warm water filled from the bathtub and carried out to the groom room. We bought a plastic storage box from Walmart and made a drain. Sat this on a plywood table and placed the sump pump into the pail of water underneath the drain. With the spray nozel and hose attatched to the sump pump I now have a recirculating bathing system that works without any running water.

This may be your answer if you are dealing with a building without plumbing and can't afford to install it right away. Or maybe you just need to get your fam dogs or other small farm animals bathed and would like to use some warm water and keep the bath out of the house. This will save you a lot of money if your alternative was taking your farm dogs into town for the groomer to bath. Also you don't need to wait for a hot summer day.

The one precaution with this method is to be very careful about the electricity and water combination. I have my sump pump cord pluged into an electrical outlet that has a switch wired for safely turning it on and off. Use a GFI or Ground Fault. You always have to turn the pump off when you take it out of the water to replace it into a clean water source. When you start and finish Never use your wet hands to unplug the pump!

The Low Cost Tub - Add a Drain


Make a hole in the bottom of your tub and insert a simple straight plastic plumbling. The metal mesh filter drain is a good idea as without any filter your pump will get clogged up.

The Sump Pump


You can buy these pumps at your hardware store, usually under $100 if you don't already have one. Then attach a shortened garden hose and nosle end.

Keep It Safe - The safety switch

safety switch
safety switch

You need to have your switch and plug on a ground fault, or GFI to avoid any electricution dangers. Alternatively if you are only using this type of system once in a while, make sure you have a helper who will keep his hands and feet dry. Your helper can then plug your pump in and unplug it as you need.

The water supply


You don't need much water for the bath. I fill the small pail about one third full. Add shampoo right in, no need for pre-wetting. Then fill two larger pails with water for the rinse. By the second pail your water should be quite clear and clean, if not repeat once more. Remember to always shut off your pump before you take it out of the water to put into the new water pail.

As for cleaning you can use Dettol, mix according to bottle directions. Just run a dilution through the pump after you have done a few washes or as you feel you need. Not all cleaners are safe to use around animals so check the lables. Detol is one that you can use around dogs.

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