Most dogs don’t mind being dirty—in fact, they enjoy it! Depending on your dog, bath time can be tricky. Some dogs, even water-loving breeds, are not fond of baths.

Here are some tips for making bath time easier for you, and your dog.

How often?

The ASPCA recommends bathing your dog at least once every 3 months, and veterinary dermatologists recommend it even more frequently, as often as once a week. Figure out what works best for you and your dog based on factors like how much time they spend outside and any skin conditions they may have (bathing more frequently is better for dogs with allergies).

Before the Bath

  • Make sure you have a shampoo and/or conditioner that is especially formulated for dogs. Find what will work best for your dog—a Pet Supermarket associate would be happy to help you with recommendations.
  • Brush your dog thoroughly before getting him wet.
  • You can put a cotton ball in your dog’s ear canals to prevent water from getting inside—just remember to take it out after you’re done. Some dogs may benefit from the use of an ear powder after bathing. The powder helps absorb any excess moisture.
  • If you’re bathing your dog at home in the bathtub, putting a non-slip surface on the floor of the tub or a bathing tether can help relieve anxiety by giving your dog more traction and security.

Splish Splash

  • Now that you’re ready for the bath, it’s time for positive reinforcement. Offer treats, toys and affection to get your dog excited for the bath, and anytime he does anything that’s helpful during bath time. Stay calm and assertive—if you are anxious or angry, your dog’s actions will reflect your energy.
  • Use warm water, not hot. If your dog is anxious about baths, adding the water to the tub before he gets in may help calm him.
  • Start shampooing at your dog’s neck and work your way down to the tail and the toes. Use a damp washcloth to wash your dog’s face. Offer praise and treats along the way.
  • Once your dog is sudsed up, rinse with clean, warm water. If your dog is still dirty, you can repeat shampooing and rinsing as needed. If you’ll be using conditioner, you can massage it into your dog’s fur and then rinse well.

Drying Off

  • Have towels ready for drying—three is a good amount. One can go on the floor, one for drying your dog’s face and ears, and another for drying his body and feet. Some dogs don’t mind blow dryers if you’d prefer to go that route, just make sure it’s on the coolest setting so as not to burn your dog’s skin.
  • Don’t let your dog outside until he’s completely dry, or he might undo all of your hard work!

Pet Supermarket carries a large selection of shampoos and grooming supplies to make your dog’s bath a success!