Is your dog looking shaggy and unkempt? Like you, your dog feels happiest – and healthiest – when clean, fresh smelling, and well maintained. While you can take your dog to an expert for grooming, learning how to do it yourself will be a big savings, and may even be more convenient, too. Follow these steps to keep your dog looking fresh and healthy.
Step 1: Get Your Supplies
This potentially wet situation will go smoother if you gather up supplies first. You'll likely need:
- a dog brush or comb
- lots of clean towels
- bath mat or non-stick mat for bottom of the tub
- optional: a leash, pet nail clippers, Q-Tips, cotton balls, alcohol, blow dryer
Of course, if you're going to be bathing your dog, you'll also want to make sure you're wearing casual clothes that you don't mind getting wet or grubby.
Step 2: Brush Through Fur
Combing your dog will help you to get rid of your pet's extra hair, leaving you less to wash, and will also remove any knots and matted fur. Brush in the direction the hair grows, and cover the dog's entire body. While bathtime can be uncomfortable for some dogs, many will enjoy being brushed.
Step 3: Get Your Dog Wet
Place your dog in a tub, and get started by thoroughly saturating your dog's fur. You can use a pitcher or plastic container to pour water over you dog, or try using a handheld showerhead to get your dog's coat thoroughly wet. Test the water before it hits your dog – warm water, which is neither too hot nor too cold is best.
Tip: A non-stick bath mat will help keep your dog from sliding around in the tub. If your pet is squirmy and doesn’t enjoy bath time, putting on a leash may help you keep your dog relatively still while being washed.
Step 4: Time for Shampoo
Once all of your dog's fur has been thoroughly moistened, shampoo them up. Make sure not to get shampoo in your dog's eyes, ears, or mouth, which can be irritating and painful. It's easiest if you apply shampoo and massage and rub it in a little at a time, working through each area of the dog's body. Make sure not to apply too much shampoo – you want lather, not overflowing bubbles. Work the shampoo through all of your dog's hair.
Once your dog is all lathered up, use warm water to rinse all the shampoo off. Make sure it's all removed.
Tip: If someone can help you with the bath, have your assistant hold onto the dog's head. Instinctively, your dog will want to shake his head, which can make you, and your surroundings, wet if you don't prevent it. If you’re without a helper, do your best to hang on to your dog’s head yourself.
Step 5: Dry & Brush
Now it's time to dry off your dog. Use towels and rub along your dog's fur. You can also lay a towel on the floor, and your dog will most likely helpfully rub his body against the towel.
You can also cautiously use a blow dryer to dry off fur, but be very careful, and only use the lowest setting of the blow dryer or the cool air function. It’s very easy to burn a dog if the blow dryer is on medium or high heat. Brush through your dog's fur again to help it dry and keep it tidy.
Step 6: Clip & Clean
As you’re finishing up with your dog’s beautification, now is a great time to clip your dog’s nails, clean their ears, and wipe off any tear stain marks or snotty nostrils. Ta-da! Your dog’s spa day is over, and they are clean, refreshed, and have sleek, shiny fur. Dogs can be brushed daily, and can have baths as often as twice or three times a month.
More on Keeping Pets Clean and Happy
Homemade Shampoos for Dogs
Cleaning Your Dog's Teeth
Bathing a Pug's Wrinkles
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.