Bathing Your Dog

Advice on making bath time easy and how often you should give your dog a bath

See also dog travel tips advice and dog tricks training guide

give my dog a bathItís been said that a clean dog is a happy dog. Weíre not sure if thatís true, but itís definitely better to have a clean dog than a dirty one.

Everyone would rather pet and snuggle up to a dog when heís clean, so itís certainly nice to have a clean dog when you can get one.  The trouble is, sometimes giving a dog a bath can be a tough chore. 

You should bathe your dog every few weeks.

This is especially true if he is allowed outside. If your dog is outside for part of the day, splashing around in a mud puddle or rolling in the grass may be the way your dog chooses to spend his afternoon.  

Dogs are free-spirited creatures and they donít mind getting dirty Ė in fact, many dogs seem to gravitate toward messy situations. The problem is that though dogs heartily enjoy getting dirty, many of them hate taking baths.  But, with a few clever tips you can turn the act of giving your dog a bath into a fun experience that your dog will look forward to.

It's not easy being clean

When you think about it, it isnít hard to understand why many dogs hate bath time. For one, dogs that havenít been bathed often as puppies may be irrationally fearful of being in a bathtub. Other dogs may just hate being wet. And, letís face it; bath time isnít exactly a picnic in the park for the dog if heís faced with a confining tub, cold water, scrubbing in uncomfortable places and a slippery bathtub floor.

Make dog bath time a fun timedog bath

1.       When you begin preparing your dogís bath, get excited and use positive words. Say things like ďAre you ready for your bath?Ē in an upbeat tone. This will let your dog know that something good is going to happen.

2.       To prepare your dogís bath, grab some of his favorite treats and some rubber squeaky toys. Squeak the toys and put them in the bathtub.

3.       As soon as you put your dog into the tub, reward him with treats and play with his toys.

4.       During each step of the bathing process (rinse, soap, rinse, and dry) continue giving your dog treats and talk to him in a soothing positive tone.

5.       When itís time for your dog to get dry, give him plenty of cuddles and treats. Doing this will also help you keep your dog in one place while you dry him off.

Create a non-threatening environment for bathing your dog

1.       Before you run water in your dogís bath, put a few rubber shower mats on the floor of the bathtub. These will help to keep your dogís paws from slipping on the floor. You can find shower mats in several different places, but if you donít have access to them, you could also use towels on the bath floor.

2.       Make your dog more comfortable by checking the water and making sure itís neither too hot nor too cold. The water for your dogís bath should be a little cooler than the water temperature that youíd use for your own bath.

3.       Many dogs feel fearful in tight spaces. To make your tub less confining, remove any items that either the dog would knock over with his tail or would make the dog feel crowded. Shampoo bottles and soaps can fall during the bath and frighten your dog.

How often should I bathe my dog?

This is a question that will have a different answer depending on what your dog does on a daily basis.  If your dog is an outdoor dog and does not come into your home, bathe him at least once a month and apply a flea/tick preventative a few days after bathing.  If your dog is an indoor dog who sometimes spends time playing outdoors, you'll need to plan on giving your dog a bath more often - about once a week or once every two weeks - because you don't want him to dirty your carpet, linens, etc.  

Making bath time fun time and creating a non-threatening environment for your dog will drastically change your dogís reaction to taking a bath. After a few times of doing a bath like this, your dog will stop fearing bath time.  In our experience, using these techniques will get your dog to look forward to bath time, so he will eagerly enter the tub and sit still during bathing and drying.