6 Essential Dog Bathing Tips (Especially If Your Dog Hates Baths)

dog bathing - french bulldog puppy in wooden tub with bubbles

Bathing your dog is a necessary but potentially overwhelming task. No matter the breed, all dogs require bathing now and then. But bathtime can be relaxed, not stressful. Here are some essential dog bathing tips, especially if your dog hates baths:

1. Get Everything Ready

Being prepared is essential to ensuring that the bathing experience runs smoothly. A smooth bathtime can help your dog handle the process. Gather everything you need, like a brush, soap, and towels. Keep a few treats on hand for rewards. Make sure these supplies are in easy reach of the bathing area so your dog isn’t left unattended.

Be sure your soap is dog-safe. Certain soaps can be harsh on your dog’s skin so be sure to pick the right kind. Look for a neutral PH-balanced shampoo for dogs without fragrances or dyes.

This is also a great time to pick your bathing spot. If you have a small dog, a sink can be an easier option than a bathtub. For larger dogs, a bathtub usually works well. For extra large dogs, a bigger shower with a handheld shower head is helpful, but a bathtub can work, too.

Make sure your dog has a good footing in the bathing space. Use a rubberized mat to offer your dog a better grip. This will help them feel more secure, which may result in a calmer bathtime.

2. Reassure Your Dog

Before you begin the bathing process, take some time to play with or exercise your dog, or simply dote on them. Give them a lot of affection and even a few treats. They’ll start to associate bathtime with love and treats. This can help dogs begin to tolerate bathtime and maybe even look forward to it!

Try the counterconditioning training technique to train your dog to like bath time. Counterconditioning works to create positive experiences for stressful situations, which can help keep dogs calm on car rides or during bathtime.

3. Brush Your Dog First

Brushing before a bath is a useful dog grooming tip as it reduces a lot of excess hair in the bathwater. All this excess hair can clog your drains. This also will help get rid of tangles and mattes. Tangles and matted fur can hold onto excess water, irritating a dog’s skin.

4. Test the Water Temperature and Prep Their Ears

Begin filling your sink or bathtub. Make sure the water is lukewarm so as to not burn your dog. An ideal temperature for a dog’s bathwater is no warmer than 98 degrees. If the water is any warmer, it can increase your dog’s heart rate.

To protect your dog’s ears from water, gently place cotton balls in their ears. Dogs tend to shake their heads when water enters. The cotton ball trick can prevent shaking mid-bath.

5. Bathe Your Pup Gently

Bring your dog into the bathroom and if possible, close the door. This prevents unwanted escapes with a soaking wet dog.

Get your dog into the bathtub, sink, or shower. Wet your dog’s fur well, concentrating underneath their fur. Then, begin shampooing. Gently work the shampoo into your dog’s fur. Rinse well! Shampoo residue can irritate a dog’s skin, so be sure to rinse thoroughly.

Be sure to clean your dog’s face with clean, warm water. Don’t use shampoo on their face as it can irritate the sensitive skin around their eyes, nose, and mouth.

Be sure to dry your dog well! Use a fluffy towel and be sure to take your time to dry them. Use a hair blow dryer on the cool setting if your dog is okay with it. Hold it far away, moving frequently.

6. Reward Your Dog Well!

After your dog is dry, reward them with treats! Once again, this reinforces the idea that bathtime can be fun and not stressful. Also, be sure to praise your dog for being so good during the process.

Bathing your dog is worth the work. It’s one of the home cleaning tips for dog owners that can help keep your home clean and fresh, and is healthy for your dog, too.

These are just a few essential dog bathing tips to make bathtime a little easier, less stressful, and maybe even enjoyable for your dog. Even if your dog is one of the dog breeds that tend to love water, they may still not like baths.

If your dog hates baths, remember to make it fun so they learn to tolerate it better. A clean dog is a more comfortable dog and, often, a happier dog owner!