How to Give Your Dog a Bath

Bathing is a messy, but important, part of your dog-grooming routine. The task itself can be daunting, especially if your dog doesn't like the water. Luckily, giving your dog a bath does not need to be a daily occurrence. Here are the steps to follow for bathing your dog:

How Often Should I Give My Dog a Bath?

How often your dog should have a bath depends on several factors, including:

  • What type of coat he has
  • How much time he spends outside
  • How dirty he gets

It's up to you to decide when to bathe your dog. Some dogs need a bath every two or three weeks, while other dogs can wait up to six weeks. Even a dog that can normally wait six weeks for a bath should get a light clean after two weeks if he's gotten especially dirty.

What Supplies Do I Need for My Dog's Bath?

Rubber Mat

If you live in a warmer climate and have an outdoor space, you may want to wash your dog outside, using a garden hose. But if you wash your dog inside, placing a rubber mat in the bathtub or shower stall will give your dog secure footing and keep him from slipping.


Find a mild dog shampoo. Some shampoos are specially formulated to help control fleas and ticks. Pick a shampoo that is compatible with your dog's fur type.

Cotton Balls

Placing cotton balls in your dog's ears during bath time should help keep water out of their ear canal.


A washcloth will help you clean your dog's face without getting soap in his eyes.

Dry Towels

Be prepared for the fact that bathing a dog is a messy job and every inch of your bathroom is prone to some splashing! Have plenty of dry towels handy to wipe down the room when the bath is over.

How Do I Wash My Dog? Start by Gathering Your Supplies

Keep the mild dog shampoo, cotton balls, and washcloth within reach of the tub.

Guide Your Dog Into the Tub

Some dogs love the water, while others hate it. Depending on your dog's feelings, getting your dog into the water can be tough. If you have a dog that does not enjoy baths, you can try to help him through the process by talking calmly to him or even singing. The sound of your voice should help to soothe him.

Saturate Him With Warm Water

Make sure to wet him right down to the skin. Be sure to place a cotton ball in each ear to help keep the water out.

Apply Shampoo and Start Scrubbing

Work the shampoo into a nice lather. When cleaning the face, use a damp washcloth and be careful not to get soap into his eyes.

Rinse the Entire Body With Warm Water

Be sure to get rid of every last bit of soap. If you'd like, you can follow this with a conditioning rinse.

Towel Dry Him Thoroughly

Once you've finished rinsing your pup, he may want to shake off any excess water (this is where it gets particularly messy!) If his coat is very thick, you may want to use a hand-held blow dryer on a low, cool setting to make sure he's really dry.


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