Wash a Dog

Edited by Sean, Eng, Jen M


Another day and another challenge of being a dog owner. Washing your dog, or dogs, can be surprisingly easy, but the difficulty often relies on your dog's temperament, size and type of fur. However, there are many things you should consider for washing any dog and below, after the general tips, are a few basic procedures you can follow based on the type of dog you have.

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First Things to Consider Before Washing Your Dog

Before we get into specifics for washing different dog sizes, here are some general tips and things to consider before you actually begin washing and cleaning your dog.

  • Blow dryers are a must for anything but the smallest of dogs, especially with dogs with thick coats of hair that has multiple layers (like Samoyed's or Chow Chow's).
  • Shampoo type is very important and it is recommended to usually go with something mild and tear free. Do not use a human shampoo.
  • Rewards are important for making your dog associate a bath as a good thing. If you call your dog to come to you before a bath, make sure to have treats ready to reward the behavior.
  • Further associate a bath as something positive by letting your dog do a favorite activity immediately following the bath, like a walk or a meal.
  • Approach baths as something calm and relaxing. If you are tense your dog will pick up on that and they will not relax.
  • Train and tease your dog first before giving an actual bath. Let your dog see and explore the area you are going to use for giving them a bath. You can even turn on the water and spray your dog lightly while always giving treats and making it a positive experience. Do this for a few days, or even a week if you can, before giving an actual bath.
  • Use cotton balls to protect your dogs ears. This may not be necessary if your dogs ears naturally fall down and cover the ear canal.
  • Lastly, make sure you rinse off all shampoo, otherwise your dog may develop rashes or itchy spots.

Wash Your Dog

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For small dogs you have a number of options, but ideally you are going to use a sink, a bathtub or a mobile shower head. Unlike large dogs, pretty much anything will work as long you are comfortable with it.

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For large dogs you mostly have the same options as small dogs, but larger versions of each thing. If you want to save yourself some back pain and make it easy, then a shower or bathtub with a removal-able shower head is ideal and can save a lot of time.

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Bummed Out.jpg

Any size of dog will require the same steps though:

  1. 1
    Bring your dog to the washing area and restraint if necessary
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  2. 2
    Wet your dog thoroughly with mildly warm water
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  3. 3
    Apply shampoo and lather it in, making sure to get it in deep in case your dog has several layers of, or just thick, hair
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  4. 4
    Rinse out all of the shampoo and use your hand to brush away layers of hair to make sure no shampoo remains
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  5. 5
    Let your dog shake off multiple times before you step out of the bathing area, this gets rid of a significant amount of water and will make it easier to dry them
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  6. 6
    Dry your dog via towel and blow dryer (which may not be necessary on very small dogs)
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  7. 7
    Prepare yourself for your dog rubbing all over everything, this is normal, so keep him or her somewhere where they won't get dirty again.
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Final Tips

Is your dog misbehaving?

If your dog is already anti-bath or incredibly difficult to deal with for various reasons, like a huge dog with a thick coat that takes hours to clean, then your best bet may be to use professionals to wash and groom your dog. In most areas you have the option to go to local groomers, large corporation pet shops that also have groomers (like Petco or Petsmart), or you can use mobile groomers that come to you but often cost a bit more.

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If you are trying to train your dog to enjoy baths then do not do these things:

  • DO NOT yell at your dog or physically punish them for resisting a bath.
  • DO NOT ignore signs that your dog is genuinely terrified of being washed. Some dogs are very scared of water and may react aggressively if you force them under water. This problem would require some behavior training and probably with a behavior specialist, which larger dog shelters and organizations have, or even some specified vets work on this.
  • DO NOT treat your dogs like they are humans getting washed. Many dogs have sensitive skin and cannot handle human soap or shampoo, and are easily burned by hot water.
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Bathing made simple

It is best to start training your dog from an early age to like baths and then you will be able to have an easy time washing them once they've become used to it, and if they associate it with positive activities or rewards. It may seem like a simple thing to wash your own dog, but there are so many complications that could arise and not everything is always so simple. However, this guide should help and If you have any questions about any of these steps, or anything relating to them, feel free to ask.

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Shaggy Moliere.jpg


General Information:

  • Bathing Your Dog - ASPCA.com[1]


If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Article Info

Categories : Dogs

Recent edits by: Eng, Sean

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