Your dog doesn’t need a bath every day, or even every week, to be clean and healthy. However, a bath once a month is a good idea for most breeds. And of course, sometimes a bath becomes a must. If your bestie has rolled in something they think is delightfully stinky or gooey, or if they just took a nice dip in the lake (wearing their Pupups biothane dog collar, naturally), they’ll need a bath so that they don’t drag all that doggy goodness into your house.
Many dogs love getting in the water or splashing about in a puddle but balk at getting a bath. Much like toddlers, they seem averse to cleanliness or bathing. How can you give your dog a bath without a lot of drama? Be sure to plan ahead and make the process as trauma-free as possible.
Gather the Tools
Even if your dog just trotted up to you gloriously coated in goose poop, don’t rush to drag them into a shower or bath without having all your gear assembled. Once you get them into a tub or shower, you can’t step away to get shampoo and other essentials, or you may end up with a dog that’s wet AND covered with goose poop running through your house. Nobody wants that.
What you need to gather before the bath:
- Dog shampoo (human shampoo can cause irritation and dry out your dog’s skin) Our pups love Skout’s Honor Shampoo!
- A brush or comb, depending on your dog’s coat type
- A big, fluffy towel
- A hairdryer, if you’re feeling brave and your dog won’t have a coronary
- Patience and maybe a coffee (for you…because you are a badass!)
If you have a shower or bath with a handheld sprayer, you’re in luck. Otherwise, you’ll also need some kind of pitcher to easily pour water over your dog.
Prepare Your Pup
Before getting in the tub or shower, remove your dog’s waterproof dog collar and clean it first. If you have a Pupups biothane dog collar, all you’ll need to do is wipe it clean. If it’s a cloth or leather collar, set it aside to clean later. Brush your dog’s coat to remove any tangles and loose hair. If they’re absolutely caked with funk, try rubbing any loose gunk off with a dry towel.
The Main Event
Get your dog into the tub or shower and make sure the water is warm, not hot. If you have a larger dog or a skittish one, have someone on hand to help you keep Fido in the tub. Wet them down thoroughly, then lather them up with shampoo, working it into the fur. Don’t skip the belly area. Although there’s not much fur there, the skin needs to be cleaned as well. Avoid getting water into the ears and eyes. You may want to skip getting your dog’s head wet and wipe it clean later with a warm, damp cloth.
Once you’ve lathered the dog up, take the time to thoroughly rinse out all the suds. Pay special attention to rinsing under the leg folds and the groin area (stinky spots). If your dog has a long or thick coat, you may need to rinse several times. Keep rinsing until the fur is squeaky clean.
Throughout the bath, reassure your dog. Praise them using a calm, low voice. Tell them what a good boy or girl they are, pat them and look them in the eyes. You’ll reduce the odds they jump out of the tub or shower and decorate your house with shampoo and fur.
Drying The Easy Way
Warning: your dog WILL shake all over to get dry the second they get the chance. Once you’ve rinsed them off, it’s best to stand back and let it happen. Hold up a towel in front of your little darling if you don’t want to get wet. Once they’ve done the full-body shake and flicked the last bit of excess water off the tip of the tail, move in with a towel and give them a brisk rub-down. You may need to use more than one towel, switching when the first one is soaked.
The hairdryer is helpful if your dog has long or thick fur but be careful. Use the lowest heat setting and move the dryer constantly to not burn delicate skin. Keep checking with your hand; if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. Brushing as you dry will prevent tangles and promote a shiny coat.
Step Back for Zoomies*
If your dog is like 99.5% of dogs out there, they’ll indulge in some zoomies after their bath. It’s best to stay out of their way to avoid getting bowled over. They’ll probably also roll around on the nearest carpet or rug because…well, we have no idea why. Because they’re dogs, right? Behaviorists will tell you it’s because they’re relieved the bath is over, they’re trying to dry themselves off, and want to get some kind of stink back. Dog’s aren’t as fond of being clean and fresh as humans.
Put a Waterproof Collar on Your Dog
Don’t forget to put your dog’s collar back on immediately after bathing. We suggest the best waterproof dog collar on the market – a biothane collar from Pupups! (Shameless plug, but for real, they’re fantastic!)
*Fun Fact: Animal behaviorists actually have a technical term for the zoomies. They call them FRAPs, for
Frenetic Random Activity Periods. We like the term “zoomies” better. It really captures the movement.