How to bathe your dog like a groomer

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Knowing how to bathe your dog like a professional groomer is a useful and important skill, whether you’ve decided to skip the line at the dog groomer’s or simply want to turn bath time into some extra bonding time. 

If it’s your first time bathing your dog at home, no worries! Just follow this step-by-step guide, and remember to praise and treat your pet for being good during bath time. 

Tools you’ll need to wash your dog:

  • Dog washing station, basin, or tub 
  • Bucket (for supplies and/or rinse water) 
  • Sprayer or hose  
  • Hair trap 
  • Pet soap or shampoo 
  • Grooming glove 
  • Towel 

How long does it take to wash a dog? 

It usually takes around 20-30 minutes to wash a dog. Bathing your dog may take up to an hour if you include blow-drying. Bathing time varies depending on the dog’s breed, coat length, and other factors. Be patient with yourself (and your pet) since you’ll both need time to adjust to this routine. 

Bathing your dog like a groomer 

Step 1: Check if it’s time to bathe your dog.  

First things first: Is it time to wash your pet? This can depend on factors like the type of dog you own and their living environment and lifestyle. Overbathing your dog can strip them of their natural oils and dry out their skin. Under-bathing them can make them prone to disease. You can ask your vet if you’re bathing your dog frequently enough or read up on how often to wash your dog

Step 2: Brush your dog’s fur.  

brushing dog's fur

Remove loose fur and debris by brushing your dog’s coat. Brushing before a bath can help your dog in three ways: 

  • First, brushing distributes a dog’s natural oils throughout their skin and fur. 
  • Second, brushing prevents matted, tangled fur and an irritated pet. 
  • And lastly, brushing your pet gives you time to reassure them and sneak in some cuddles and treats. It also lets your dog know that bath time can be relaxing and enjoyable! 

Step 3: Prepare the bathwater. 

touching water from faucet to check temperature

Next, place your dog in the tub or wash station and prepare the water. Now’s a good time to stick the hair trap in the drain as well. 

Part of learning how to bathe your dog like a groomer is making sure the bathwater temperature is just right. Like people, dogs don’t enjoy water that’s scalding hot or icy cold. Making sure your pooch is comfortable helps them look forward to their next bath! 

Extra tip: Whether you’re using a shower head, special sprayer, or a hose, take special care not to shock your pet with the water. Praise your dog, maybe sneak in a treat, and pet them – anything that’ll let them associate baths with a terrific time. 

Step 4: Wash your dog’s fur. 

washing a dog in a bubble bath

Next, start washing your dog’s fur. You can apply pet-friendly shampoo and conditioner using a special grooming glove or your bare hands. If the shampoo is on the thick side, it may be a concentrate that you can dilute. 

Make sure to lather the shampoo and get it into the nooks and crannies of your pet’s body. Pay attention to areas like between the toes, under the tail, between the legs, and deep into the extra-fluffy parts. Just be sure to avoid their eyes and the insides of their ears (ear cleaning usually takes place during the grooming process).  

Step 5: Rinse off the shampoo or soap. 

yellow labrador retriever taking a bubble bath

Depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, you may need to let the shampoo or soap sit for a few minutes on your dog’s fur. Once this is done, it’s time to rinse your furbaby off! Use the grooming glove to scrub the suds away. Get into all those nooks and crannies again; Any residual suds can dry up your dog’s skin and fur, causing irritation. 

Step 6: Dry your dog off.

towel drying a Shnauzer dog

Finally, it’s time to dry off your pet! You may want to let them have a few good shakes first, then help them by towelling them off. Dogs with heavier coats need an especially thorough towelling-off since damp areas in their undercoat can cause a skin disorder called acute moist dermatitis. 

And that’s it! Make sure to treat your pet and praise them for behaving well during their bath. 

Make bath time fun for you and your beloved pet! 

Sometimes, even with all the positive reinforcement and treats in the world, your dog may not learn to love baths. Or, you might occasionally be too busy to give them those top-notch baths you both love. Whichever the case, you can save yourself the trouble and quickly find a trusted dog washer near you on Airtasker.

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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.

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.

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.

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.