How to Bathe Your Dog | Animal Friends

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Lauren Odendaal

Animal Friends Pet Insurance

How to bathe a dog

Giving your dog a bath can be a messy and sometimes frustrating experience for both pet and owner. Most dogs love to play in water, but they don’t tend to enjoy bath time. We’ve collated some tips and tricks on how to get your dog clean, without dirtying your house.

How often should I groom?

It’s important to avoid washing your dog too often. If you bathe your pet too often, you can cause skin irritation, making your dog feel very uncomfortable. You shouldn’t really have a reason to bathe your dog, unless they have a skin infection or are visually unclean. A bath once a month will keep your pet smelling and looking fresh.

It is important to brush your dog’s coat as often as possible. It’s not only great for your pet’s skin and coat, it also helps keep them clean in between washes.

bathe your dog

Bathing your dog

It’s handy to have everything you’ll need to clean your dog before you start. Using dog shampoo is really important, as human shampoo can dry out their skin. You should have a collection of towels and some treats to help your dog enjoy the bathing experience.

Like with cats, bath time is the perfect chance to give your dog a pet MOT. Check the length and condition of their nails, check their teeth, ears and skin for any cuts or sore areas. If you find something you’re worried about, it’s best to book in with your vet.

How to wash your dog

Make sure to brush your dog before you bathe them, this will help protect their skin, allow you to get the shampoo out easier and make drying simpler.

If you have a smaller dog, you can just pop them in a sink, or a small laundry tub filled with warm, (not hot) water. If your dog is larger, you’ll need to wash them in a bath or a portable dog tub. It’s a good idea to put a towel at the bottom of the bath to stop your dog slipping. This is will make them feel safer and more comfortable, making bath time a more enjoyable experience.

Apply shampoo in a line down the middle of your pet’s back and gently massage all over the body. Be very careful not to apply shampoo to your dog’s head and protect their eyes.

clean your dog

When shampooing, make sure to wash down each of your dog’s legs, under their arm pits and across their belly. If your pet’s face is dirty, take a clean, wet washcloth and gently wipe their face.

While washing your dog, make sure to offer them treats whenever they look anxious or scared. Speak to your pet in a calm and reassuring voice and they will feel more relaxed.

If your dog is particularly nervous about baths, it’s a good idea to enlist a friend or family member to help with your pet’s bath, as they can gently hold on while you shampoo and rinse.

Once you’ve lathered the shampoo all over your dog’s body, make sure to rinse the suds well. Soap left in fur can cause irritation. If in doubt, rinse your dog a few times to be sure.

After the bath

It’s best to towel dry your dog after their bath, as the noise from a hair dryer can easily scare your pet. Pop a couple of towels in a tumble dryer beforehand and gently rub your dog until all the excess water is gone.

You can then leave your pet in a warm room to fully dry. It’s important not to let your dog outside until they’re fully dry, or they could be at risk of catching a cold.

bathe the dry your dog

And that’s it! A very simple, easy way to give your beloved pet a bath, without getting soap and water throughout your house.


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    Hi I'm Lauren Odendaal I am part of the Marketing team at Animal Friends Insurance. I love giant dogs, noisy cats and my budgie, Monet. I am here to keep you up to date on the latest news, if you would like to get in touch please give us a shout on our social media.