9 Simple Tips for Bathing Your Dog (and Saving Money!)

Wet dog alert!
You’re on a fixed budget or would just rather groom your dog yourself. Washing your dog can actually be fun (really, it can) if you are prepared and have a little help. My family enjoys bathing our dogs outside in a baby pool in the warm months. We give them a bath in the tub in the colder months. Yes, you will have to clean the tub after Fido’s been washed. However, you will not only save money but your pet will be happier getting bathed by his family instead of a stranger!

1. Brush before bathing.

This will make bath time easier and hair dry faster. Brushing your pet thoroughly at least once a week will keep his coat healthier and may allow for longer periods between washing. A good slicker brush can really tackle the matted hair and undercoat.

2. Recruit an assistant.

If you can, have someone gently but firmly hold onto your dog while you wash him. Or you can hold him while your partner washes.

3. Use lukewarm water.

This will be most comfortable for your dog. Your body temperature is just the right temperature for your dog's bath water.

4. Use a gentle shampoo.

I like Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Castile soap. You might ask your veterinarian or your local pet store for a recommendation. I find diluting the soap with water makes soaping up and rinsing much easier.

5. Avoid getting water in your dog’s ears.

This can be uncomfortable for him and can cause ear problems.

6. Wash from the neck down.

Use a large cup or shower sprayer (on a gentle setting) to direct the water where you want it and avoiding the dog’s face. You can wipe his face with a clean dampened cloth.

7. Use a towel to dry.

Pat dry with a towel, rather than rubbing. Hair dryers can be scary to your dog and may burn his skin. Be prepared for the wet “shake off” because your dog will shake off his coat to dry! (Did I mention you may want to wear some old clothes for this, and change to dry clothes afterward?) Use a towel you have on hand, or try an ultra-absorbent pet towel.

8. Brush again after your dog is dry.

This will get out the knots and loosen shedding hair. Work a small area at a time until the job's done.

9. Be calm throughout the process to put your dog at ease.

Begin grooming your pet at a young age and keep it a positive experience. A special treat and affection after bath is a great way to accomplish this!