February 09, 2018

Giving your dog a bath can be a stressful experience for you both.

Dogs typically don't like the sensation of getting wet so they often freak out in the tub. You, in turn, will likely get stressed when your dog starts acting up, feeding into his stress.

Before bathtime, reduce yours and your dog's stress. If you feel like you're rushing to quickly give your dog a bath, he'll sense it and get stressed out. You're better off waiting until a day when you have more free time.

If you have a puppy, start giving him baths now. He'll get used to baths as part of his routine, making it easier to bathe him in the future.

Below are some tips for the best way to bathe a dog.

Choosing the Right Shampoo

Your dog's skin has a protective acidic layer called the acid mantle on the outer layer of skin. It protects the skin from bacteria and keeps moisture locked in.

Humans have this protective acidic layer, too, but our skin has a much higher pH balance than a dog's. Human shampoos strip away that acidic layer, making them inappropriate for use on dogs.

Before washing your dog, you need to find a gentle shampoo made specifically for dogs. Look for ones that are free of artificial coloring and fragrances.

Finding the Best Location

Repetition is key for a dog. You don't want to bathe him in the sink one month then outside the next.

The size of your dog (or how big he will become) should factor into where you bathe your dog. A kitchen or laundry room sink works for small dogs while the bathtub is preferable for larger dogs.

When you bathe your dog, let him have one or two familiar toys in the bath with him. If you're bathing him in the tub, put down a non-slip mat so he feels more steady.

Materials You Need

Before bathtime, collect all the materials you'll need. You should have:

  • Detachable showerhead or sink attachment
  • Towels
  • Dog-friendly shampoo
  • Sponge
  • Brush
  • Ear cleaner
  • Nail clippers
  • Treats

You might not need ear cleaner or nail clippers every bathtime. Ask your vet for tips on how to keep your dog's ears clean to prevent infection.

The Technique

The best way to bathe a dog is to take it slow through these steps:

  1. Loosen any tangles or dirt from your dog's coat with a brush.
  2. In the tub, get your dog wet with lukewarm water starting at the chest and moving down his body. Don't get his head wet.
  3. Massage about a quarter-sized dollop of shampoo through your dog's coat and leave in his coat for the recommended time.
  4. Using a damp sponge (no shampoo), wipe down your dog's face.
  5. Rinse the shampoo out ensuring there's no residue.
  6. Let your dog shake out his coat then towel dry him. You can use a hairdryer on the lowest heat setting if you need him to be dry faster.
  7. Check your dog's ears and nails to see if they need cleaning or clipping.
  8. Reward your dog with a treat and praise.

Now You Know the Best Way to Bathe a Dog

Keeping your dog clean can make him feel healthier and improve his relationship with you.

The best way to bathe a dog involves creating a calm environment, gently massaging him with dog shampoo, and rewarding him at the end.

If your dog gets particularly stressed during bathtime, consider investing in some CBD cookies to help calm him down beforehand. You can learn more about our CBD cookies here.


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