How to Bathe Your Dog

Complete instructions on how to bathe your dog correctly. It will be easier for you, and more comfortable for your dog.

Make the bath as easy and comfortable for the dog as possible. Avoid surprising or scaring the dog by any sudden movements or hostility, and be sure the dog relieves itself before you start. It might be helpful to have someone hold the dog steady while you wash.
 Your dog will become more relaxed and compliant the more you bathe him.

  1. Allow a few inches of tepid water to accumulate in the tub.
  2. Place the dog in the tub, and keep him steady.
  3. Place cotton in the dog’s ears, and lightly smooth Vaseline around the eye area, not in the eyes. Over the eyelid is all right. Vaseline will keep the shampoo out of the dog’s eyes, and will clean the eyes nicely when you gently wipe it off with a clean damp cloth.
  4. Wet the dog completely, starting at the tail and working up to the head.
  5. Shampoo the dog with your hands from tail to head. Massage the shampoo into the dog’s skin, but don’t rub to hard.
  6. Wash the dog’s underside and legs. These may be the dog’s dirtiest areas, and require washing with a sponge or cloth.
  7. Wash the dogs face lightly with a soft cloth or sponge, taking care not to get shampoo in his eyes. Clean its ears with a cloth but do not go to deep.
  8. Rinse the dog thoroughly. It’s important that no shampoo is left on the dog. Dried shampoo can irritate the skin, so rinse more than once.
  9. Remove the cotton from the dog’s ears, and gently wipe its eyes with a clean damp cloth.
  10. Allow the dog to shake itself dry. Dogs have a natural way of drying themselves, and should be allowed to shake before you towel dry. Keep the dog in the tub and stand clear or you will get wet. Hold up the towel to keep the room from getting wet.
  11. Take the dog out of the tub and rub its hair thoroughly with towels to get it dry as possible. The dog is susceptible to getting a cold, so be sure to rub it thoroughly dry.
  12. Keep the dog in a warm area for a few hours until it is completely dry. You may want to use a hair dryer set on warm.
  13. Once the dog is dry, brush it thoroughly to untangle hairs and groom the coat.
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User Comments
  1. Judy Sheldon-Walker

    On January 12, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Very good tips, Ruby. My little fur bundle hates baths, so it takes two of us to wash him, and he only weighs 10 lbs. I have a large garbage can that I use & surprisily, he can jump out. lol
    I like that you give us such good common sense articles. Thank you.

  2. Dee Huff

    On January 12, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Why the Vaselene in the eyes, does it divert sudsey liquids away, or is it just to pamper the sensitive skin around the eyes? Very clear and helpful article. Do you have any good tips for rabbits?

  3. Jared Stenzel

    On January 12, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Great tips, but I am with Dee, why vaselene in their eyes?

  4. Alexa Gates

    On January 12, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    I’m confused.. why would you put vasiline on the dog’s eyes? wouldn’t that just irritate them? great tips though ;) if i ever convince my dad to get a dog again, i’ll remember these ;)

  5. Ruby Hawk

    On January 12, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    You put vaseline on their eye area, not in their eyes. It keeps the shampoo out of their eyes, and also cleans the eyes when you wipe if off with a soft clean cloth. I wasn’t clear enough on that, sorry. Thanks for pointing it out. I will correct that.

    Dee, I published an article today on the car of rabbits. Hope it is helpful. Best wishes to everyone. Ruby

  6. Lucy Lockett

    On January 12, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Spoiled pooches!

  7. Ruby Hawk

    On January 13, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    You are right, Lucy, We spoil them to death.

  8. Mavis

    On January 14, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    It takes two to hold our dog and one to bathe him. thats why he doesn’t get bathed too much.

  9. Lacy

    On January 15, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    My old Mutsy loves to get a bath. He would set in the tub all day if I let him. I always put vaseline around his eyes and it does a good job of keeping out the shampoo and cleaning his eyes.

  10. Mavis

    On January 17, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    The kids bathe our dog in a tub in the yard in the summer. In the winter they brush him down good in soda and meal. That keeps him smelling and looking clean.

  11. Paul Ames

    On January 19, 2008 at 11:05 am

    It’s not easy bathing a fiesty dog, but you have some good tips that can help a lot.

  12. Ruby Hawk

    On January 19, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Lacy, you are lucky to have such a dog. He must be a sweetie. I have had dogs that loved the water, and some who would fight like a tiger.

    Mavis, You have a good idea to keep the dog clean in cold weather. The soda absorbes odor, and the meal attaches onto any dirt and brushes it out.

    Paul you must have a dog like some I have had, that just hates the water.

    Thanks to everyone of you friends who leave comments. You are appreciated.

  13. Roberta Koppermen

    On January 26, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    great article!…i have had my dog lilly(of the valley), for a year and a half now and have never bathed her because i never knew how, and frankly i was afraid i would do something wrong. thank you so much!

  14. Ruby Hawk

    On January 28, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Roberta, you wont hurt her even if you do it wrong. It’s just easier if you know what you are doing. I love the name “Lily”. that is just beautiful.

  15. Liz

    On March 10, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Hey y’all, I’m new here. I’ve had my dog for six years now, and bathed her all that time, every month. Not once have I gotten soap in her eyes…except yesterday. She had gotten reallllly muddy playing with a neighbor’s dog in the wet and muddy garden, so I had to put some shampoo on her face…and her left eye is a little swollen, a little runny, and she is keeping it mostly closed…How would I clean it out now???

  16. Maxie

    On May 25, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Now that its spring my dogs will all get good baths. I do hate to bathe them in winter. It is such a mess.

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