How to Give Your Dog a Bath the Right Way | Animals Matter

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How to Give Your Dog a Bath the Right Way | Animals Matter - Animals Matter, Inc.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Give a Dog a Bath

All dog owners know the smell. We love our dogs, but they are messy! And that dog odor can very quickly take over the whole house. Regular washing keeps dogs and allergy-prone humans healthy, making a happy home for everyone. So while dog baths may not be as fun as playing fetch or going on adventures, they’re an important part of being a dog owner. Without further ado, let’s discuss how to give a dog a bath.

Do Dogs Like Baths?

It depends on the dog! Certain breeds that are bred for water, like Labradors, might love to swim the river, but hate the bath. Other breeds that are known for being skittish around water might find bath time relaxing. There’s only one way to find out!

Even if your dog doesn’t love bathtime, it’s important that he or she gets cleaned regularly. Dog-friendly sanitary wipes can help as needed, especially around paws and the tush. But cleaning the fur requires a proper dog shower or bath.

How Often Should You Give a Dog a Bath?

The short answer: Once a month or as needed. Other factors that play in when you should be giving a dog a bath include:

  • The weather, perspiration, or general messiness
    Getting muddy or dirty in any way means bath day has arrived. And if your dog has just completed a strenuous run or hike with you, chances are she’ll benefit from a bathing afterward — just like you. Additionally, remember that dogs are more likely to need bathing in the warm weather. It’s also easier to bathe your dog outside in the summer. Do it on the deck or in the backyard for easy cleanup!
  • The breed
    In general, short-haired dogs are low maintenance and could go longer than a month without bathing. Dogs with thick coats benefit from frequent brushing, but fewer baths. Like human hair, dog fur benefits from its natural oils. Washing it too much can cause dry skin and irritation. But if you notice your dog’s coat gets oily quickly, you can ramp up your bath routine. Dogs with lots of folds and wrinkles can unintentionally trap dirt and debris in their fur, possibly requiring more baths than average.

When all else fails, trust your nose! A stinky dog needs a bath.

How to Give Dogs a Bath

So, how do you give a dog a bath? Set aside about an hour for the set up, wash, and dry. Bath time may take longer if you plan to do extra pampering. Allow around fifteen minutes in the bath. While you clean your dog, it’s not a bad idea to throw some of his toys in the bath or washing machine, too. Toss his dog blankets and bed in the washing machine so he can enjoy a clean space after the bath, to ensure cleanliness for longer.

Prepping the space

  • Gathering necessary dog bathing supplies is step one in how to give your dog a bath. Prep the basics and your area: a brush, warm water, a washcloth, buckets, dry towels, an enclosed area, soap, and shampoo/conditioner. Decide if this is going to be an all-out spa day or a quick and efficient cleaning.
  • If you’re giving your dog a spa-level grooming experience, get the pampering items ready: paw balm, nose cream, nail clipper, etc.
  • Decide if you are going to put your puppy in the sink, use the shower or bath, or use tubs outside. Using the garden hose is okay to do when the weather is warm enough. There’s no harm in trying out different bathing methods: though baths are common, you may find a shower for dogs is what your pup prefers.
  • Put a tarp down or plastic shield over any nearby valuables, outlets, or electronics.
  • Now that your space is ready, the first real step is brushing. Brush your dog to get loose, dead hair out of the way. That way it doesn’t clog your drain. Try to gently detangle hair in long-haired dogs.
  • Run the water. Make sure it’s not scalding, not freezing. Lukewarm or warm water is best. Fill up the tub and several buckets of water to rinse your dog with.
  • Bring your dog into the tub. Use treats to coax him in. Pet him and soothe him if he is trepidatious. You may need to use a mobility harness to lift him into the tub.


  • Get him wet slowly as he gets accustomed to the experience.
  • To get a firm hold on your dog, especially if you are bathing outside, it is okay to keep the collar on. A washable nylon one is good for this temporary experience.
  • Massage Organic Companion Shampoo & Conditioner into his fur around his ears, his tail, everywhere. But be careful not to get it into his eyes or ears (ear and teeth cleaning are different!). Don’t use human shampoo. Dogs with long hair will especially benefit from dog conditioner or shampoos that contain conditioner in them. Organic Companion Shampoo & Conditioner is hypoallergenic and 100% biodegradable. Rinse. Repeat if needed.
  • To tackle extra mud or dirt, use Organic Companion Soap Bar around his tush, paw pads, belly, all his nooks and crannies. It’s eco-friendly and gentle on the skin. Rinse. Repeat if necessary.


  • Be prepared for your dog to shake off the water in the middle of the bath. You can attempt to dry him off with towels at this point, but he’s probably already shaking his fur.
  • Drain the tub or dump out the water.
  • Continue to dry off with towels. Don’t use a human hair dryer, as it’s too hot for them. Air drying will do the trick once you’ve done your best with the towels.

Going the extra mile after the bath

The whole process of how to give a dog bath can turn into a luxurious at-home spa experience if your dog allows it!

  • Clip their toenails. They are softer after being submerged in warm water and may be easier to cut.
  • Apply Organic Vegan Paw Balm and Organic Vegan Nose Balm to moisturize dry skin. Formulas are cruelty-free, nontoxic, and antibacterial. They’re perfect for soothing irritated paw pads or chapped noses in winter or all year round. Plus, they’re made without GMOs, synthetic fragrances, or artificial dyes.
  • Once he is mostly dry, brush or comb the fur again. Do this outside, or be prepared to dispose of the fur clumps when you are finished.

Take These Steps Before Your Dog’s Next Bath

  1. Enlist help! Having an extra pair of hands makes the process of how to bathe your dog much easier.
  2. If your dog has a skin condition, or you suspect they have one, seek advice from your vet. If you suspect ticks, fleas, skunk spray, or any other type of irritant, your vet may recommend a special bath. You may be able to do it yourself, or it may be better to take him to the vet or professional groomer.
  3. It makes sense to take certain breeds, like Poodles, to the groomer so they can get a hair trim and a bath all at once.
  4. Make sure you’re prepared, too: wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet and an apron. Put your hair up. Wear protective glasses if you have sensitive eyes. Wear dishwashing gloves if you don’t want to get your hands sudsy. Don’t forget to put towels on the floor if you are bathing your dog inside.

Make Doggy Bath Time Fun

Bath time is bonding time. Even if your dog is skittish around the water, it’s an opportunity to build trust with your pet. Whether you’re a first-time dog owner wondering how to give a dog a bath, or just want to upgrade your dog’s bathing routine, we’ve got all your pampering needs covered. Browse the Animals Matter collection of all-natural, vegan dog bath supplies to clean and moisturize your dog today.

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