Simple steps to wash your dog

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Let's face it — your furry friend can really stink if she goes for weeks without taking a bath. Weirdly enough, some dogs might not take a bath for a whole month and still smell nice. For others, a few days without taking a bath and your entire house will be a stinky mess.

How do you give your dog a wash-down? Obviously, the most important thing is to learn how to clean your dog right.

This guide has everything you need to know to properly clean all types of dogs, including:

  • how often to wash your dog based on breed, habits and individual needs;

  • washing tips for different dog breeds;

  • what to do when you just can't get your dog to like bathing;

  • when to seek professional help to wash your dog .

Additionally, if your dog has a physical disability or medical issue, we recommend that you clear this with your veterinarian before cleaning.

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

How often you wash Fido varies between each dog and their specific needs. Basically, dogs should be bathed when necessary. Does her coat pick up too much mud or dirt? Does it have an unpleasant odour? If so, then you might need to give her a good washing more often.

Bathing dogs too often may cause their skin and coat to dry out, not to mention a myriad of more serious problems. It is important to know that dogs have natural oils on their coat and skin, which can be stripped away by excessive bathing.

If your dog has a skin problem, talk to your local veterinarian to get the right bathing schedules.

If your dog isn't too keen on baths, why not try swimming instead? It will help reduce the need for regular bathing and can provide additional exercise, too. Just make sure you watch your dog when swimming. It goes without saying that you should never allow your pet to swim in deep waters; the feet should always touch the ground.

How to Wash Your Dog

Don't let the movies fool you — bathing a dog isn't always that easy, and chasing after a dog soaked in soap isn't fun either. Bathing time with your dog should be a fun experience. The truth is, dogs don't mind getting dirty; some even enjoy it. Such dogs do all they can to skip taking a bath. Luckily, we have the tips to make this a fun experience for you and your furry friend.

Step 1 

Use the power of positive association. Proper dog training dictates that anything new you introduce to your dog should be followed by something positive. Think of toys, treats and pure affection. Start by luring your dog into an empty tub, pet it and give them toys and treats. Your dog should be having the time of its life by now and this is the opportune moment to add warm or lukewarm water. Keep doing this until your dog understands that bathing is a fun time.


Pick an area with enough space. If you have a big dog, you can wash it in your bathtub or an elevated outdoor bathtub. Smaller dogs can be cleaned in a sink, but make sure the cover is drained to prevent the dog’s paw from getting stuck.


Secure your dog’s footing by adding a mat or towel in the bathtub to prevent slipping.


Cover your dog’s ears when wetting the head area. Getting water inside the dog’s ears is not only uncomfortable for them but can also lead to serious health complications. Stuff cotton balls in the ears — that is, if your dog lets you do it. If not, make sure to keep water away from the ears at all times.


Use the right dog shampoo when bathing. There are many types of shampoo out there and you should check with your veterinarian to pick the one that is good for your dog. After applying the shampoo, use gentle motion and wash thoroughly.


Work from the neck down. In addition to the ears, you should always shield your pet's eyes and mouth from water, and the best way to do so is working from the neck down. There are water sprayers that are made for bathing dogs, so you may want to invest in one of those to control the path of the water.


Rinse your dog with warm or lukewarm water and get all the shampoo out of the fur.


Use a lukewarm dryer to dry your dog. if you do not have one, use a regular towel but go for the really fluffy and highly absorbent ones.

That’s it! Wash your dog by following these steps every time and bathing time will be a fun experience for both of you.

What Do You Do If This Doesn’t Work?

If you are still finding it hard to bath your dog, you can always seek help from a professional and the best place to start is Airtasker. We have thousands of skilled people for all types of jobs, including mobile dog washers that even come to your home. Just give us a call — we promise that Fido will be clean again in no time!

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FAQs on bathing a dog

It’s advisable to wash your dog after grooming. Start off by grooming your dog first, as it’s easier to trim dry fur. Then, you can bathe your dog after grooming to wash the clippings off.
You can wash your dog’s face during bath time using a washcloth. Washing a dog’s face is a tricky task, and you should avoid getting soap or water in your pet’s eyes, ears, and nose. Dip your washcloth in soapy water and carefully clean your dog’s face and head. Then, dip a clean washcloth in clear water to rinse off.
If you don’t have a tub, you can use a basin, the space in your yard, or even your shower as your dog’s wash station! Do note that if you bathe your pet in your yard, you might need to tether them to keep them from escaping. For safety reasons, do not leave your pet unattended when tethered; They could harm themselves or get aggressive when you start bathing them.

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