Six Important Things To Do When Bathing Your Dog

It’s that time of year – the time when we get mud, mud, and more mud!   Once the mud has dried and you have brushed Rover’s coat out its bath time!   Contrary to the old wives tale, you cannot give your dog too many baths!  With all of the wonderful products and mild shampoos in the marketplace there are many safe, effective and gentle shampoos that will not dry your dog’s skin out.  Here are the top things to know and to do when bathing your dog.

Things To Have Handy

You should get all of your essential items ready before you even get Rover into the sink or tub.   Heres a check list of things to have handy:

  • Mild shampoo (puppy shampoo works great and is mild)
  • Several thick absorbent towels (for drying)
  • Cotton balls (for cleaning ears)
  • Blow dryer

UMMM – You Need Rover!

Once you have all of your essentials gathered and ready it is now time to retrieve the dog (who, if he or she is like Reagan, is now in hiding!).   Just prior to putting Rover into the sink or tub, you need to regulate the water temperature – check it by running the water over your inner wrist/forearm – it should be warm – not hot!


Place your dog in the sink or tub and proceed to wet the back half of the dog.  By starting the bath at the back end it will give your dog a chance to get used to the idea he is getting a bath.  (If you have a dog intent on escaping your endeavor, a nylon kennel lead can be helpful – they are short, can be slipped over your dog’s head and are waterproof because they are constructed of nylon.)  Continue wetting him gently from the rear forward to the front.   Make sure you don’t get ANY water into his ears.  Once he is saturated it is now time to apply the shampoo.

Working Up To A Good Lather

Pour the shampoo into your hands and then distribute it into your dog’s coat.   Using your fingertips, massage the shampoo down thru the hair to the skin.  You don’t want to use your fingernails as this could cause irritation to his skin and cause itching later on.  Work the shampoo into a good lather to loosen the dirt and shedding hair.

Rinse, Rinse and Rinse Again

You are now ready for the rinse!   So rinse, rinse, and rinse again.  You want to be sure to get any residual soap out of the coat.  Your dog’s coat should feel almost “squeaky” – that is how you will know all the soap is out.   This is extremely important because dried soap on your dog’s skin will cause itching.

A Few Extra Towels Help

Once done rinsing thoroughly, have those towels handy.  Your dog is going to shake off the water if he has not already, spraying everything in the immediate vicinity with water (including you!).   So you want to wrap at least one of those thick absorbent towels around him to get the water off as quickly as possible.  Start with your dog’s face and move quickly and thoroughly down the length of your dog.

How About Those Ears?

Before you lift your dog out of the sink or tub, it would be a great opportunity to utilize those cotton balls to wipe out his ears.  You should only insert your finger and cotton ball only as far down into the ear canal as you can see – no digging here!   And, if you have long fingernails, please be careful not to scratch the inside of your dog’s ear canals.

Since Rover Has No Style – How About A Blow Dry!

You are now at the point in this adventure, where you can lift Rover out of the sink or tub and sit comfortably with him and utilize the blow dryer on a cool or mild setting (again check the temperature on the inside of your wrist/forearm).  Start at the top of the back end of your dog and keep that dryer moving.  Your goal is to fluff or tousle the hair and get the stream of air down to the skin.  Again, make sure the temperature is not hot – a cool or mild setting is just as effective and your dog will appreciate the time on the floor with you!   And you will appreciate having a clean nice smelling dog again.   Happy bathing!


I would love to hear your comments, feedback stories and ideas.

Scoops is a pooper scooper, dog waste clean up and pet waste clean up service located in central New Jersey – Check us out at

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