dirty dog grooming

Dirty Dog Grooming: Bathing Done Right

In this dirty dog grooming article we will review all the appropriate bathing techniques you need to follow to turn the process into an enjoyable and stress free experience.


Gather all your materials as you don’t want to run all over the place to find the products while your dog is wet in the bathtub. So put everything you need in one place before you start. You should also make sure you put on clothes that you can get dirty and wet. As a bare minimum you will need, shampoo and several towels, including one on the edge of the tub to prevent water from splashing out of the tub. The other towels will be used to dry your dog.

Put a non-slip surface at the bottom of the tub. You know from experience that a bathtub can be slippery when full of soap. To prevent your dog from slipping, put a non-slip towel or mat on it.

Fill the tub with lukewarm water. Hot water can damage your dog’s skin, especially if he has a short coat. Avoid running the water while it is in the bathtub, as this may unnecessarily stress it. You could desensitize him to the sound of flowing water with the help of his favorite treats. Always take it easy to avoid confusing it and making it more difficult for both of you. If you have a bathtub, but no shower, go outside and use a garden hose, as putting it in the bathtub or pouring water on its fur will not properly remove the shampoo, which can cause infection and dry his skin. This also applies to short-haired dogs such as pit bulls, you should not use a strong jet of water to avoid hurting or scaring it.

dirty dog washing

Properly secure your dog

Secure your dog in the bathtub. Some dogs like to run away from the bath. If this is the case with yours, buy a dog leash that you attach to the shower wall with a suction cup. You can buy it at a pet store.

Replace his usual leash with a leash that will not stain his coat or that the water will not damage. A choke collar can help keep it in place, but your dog can choke, so it’s best to hold it in place yourself with your hands.

It’s shampoo time!

Read the instructions for use of the shampoo, as some have very specific recommendations. If there is none, do not dilute it or else cleaning will not be effective. Some shampoos are only intended for the treatment of fleas and ticks, they do not serve as prevention, therefore do not use them when your dog does not have fleas or ticks.

Wet your dog completely. Make sure his coat is completely wet before applying shampoo. If he is not afraid, you can buy and use a hose and a shower head attached to the tap. This is very useful if you have a large dog or a dog that has a thick coat. On the other hand, if he is afraid of flowing water, use a glass or bucket to pour the water over him.

Wash it off. Start at the neck and go down to the back and back legs using your fingers to distribute the shampoo and get it into the skin. At first, avoid his head (you will deal with it at the end) and do not use soap around the ears and eyes. Instead, use a damp towel or washcloth to clean the head.

When you put the shampoo, rubbing a rubber brush on its coat will help distribute it and allow the shampoo to penetrate better, but do not do it for too long.

keep a dog calm while bathing

Rinsing and drying

Rinse it off completely. As long as you see dirt or soap bubbles in the water, continue rinsing. Remember not to run the water if he is afraid of noise. Simply pour water over him with a glass to remove the shampoo from his coat.

Use a dry towel to dry it as much as possible while it is in the tub so that it does not get dirty. Put the towel on his back and let him shake to remove the water from his body. Many dogs will learn the “rules of the bath” and wait until you have wrapped them in a towel to shake themselves. If yours is short-haired or you prefer to let its coat dry naturally, you’re done.

If you have a thick or long-haired dog, you may need to use a hair dryer. If the towel is not enough, using a hair dryer will do the trick without overheating or drying your dog. If he has particularly long hair, you should probably dry his coat while brushing it.

Make sure the hair dryer is at minimum intensity! It may take longer than usual but it is worth it, as his hair and skin will be less likely to dry out. If he is afraid of the noise or the sensation of the hair dryer, do not force him.

wash a dog in a bath

Final recommendations

Before we wrap up this dirty dog grooming article on bathing, here are a five important recommendations to take away.

If you need to dry your dog with a hair dryer, consider getting a professional quality model. Dogs with double coats like the Bernese Mountain Dog can take so long to dry with a human hair dryer that they may end up being burned. For smaller dogs, consider purchasing a hand dryer for dogs to eliminate or minimize the risk of burns.

If you don’t have time to bathe your dog, you still need to groom it to keep it clean and healthy. Consider paying a professional groomer to clean your dog when you can’t do it.

A grooming table and a raised bathtub will make the task less painful for your back. An old table or a well-fixed board will do the trick, but put on a non-slip cover to ensure good balance for your dog. This means that the table must not have wheels. Generally, DIY stores sell this kind of material by the meter.

Use a small amount of dog conditioner. If you don’t need to then avoid using it as it can give a greasy appearance to its hair.

Finally, if you don’t want to buy expensive grooming equipment, you can also go to a self-service grooming salon. All the equipment is made available to you, it costs less than a professional groomer and you will not have to clean anything afterwards!

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