How to Bathe Your Dog and Not Die in the Attempt

It's necessary make sure your dog is comfortable in order to bathe him, especially if you have a nervous dog. You need to reassure him and be patient to prevent him from feeling anxious. 
How to Bathe Your Dog and Not Die in the Attempt

Last update: 20 September, 2018

Although many dogs like water, they still run away as soon as they see you grab the towel and shampoo. So follow the tips below to learn how to bathe your dog and not die in the attempt.

How to bathe your dog without frightening him

If your dog is afraid of water, you’ll have to take precautions so he doesn’t become traumatized by the bath. Here are some:

Trick him

This may sound strange, but it actually means that you shouldn’t make it so obvious when it’s time to bathe your dog. You should change your approach if you always have to run after him because he knows you’re going to bathe him.

Don’t go inside the bathroom and prepare anything in advance in front of him.  Act as if it were a normal day. A good way to do do this is by sitting on the couch and waiting for him to come and cuddle with you. 

After petting him for a while you can then your dog. Of course, you’re going to have to close the door so he doesn’t escape.

how to bathe your dog

Calm him down

Now the time has come to get him into the shower, and he’ll be nervous. So, in order to prevent him from feeling nervous, you should talk to him softly while petting him. 

Slightly open the faucet and let the water run onto your hand while you assure the dog that nothing’s wrong. Pass your wet hand over his head to see how he reacts. If still very upset, then give him some time to calm down. Don’t make sudden movements or force him to bathe. With some affection and patience, you can get him to allow you to bathe him.

Drying your dog

Most dogs are frightened and go into hiding upon hearing the sound of the dryer. Therefore, you should get him used to the dryer before immediately pointing it directly at him.

For example, you can start by pointing the dryer at yourself as if you were drying your hair or drying the towel you’ll be using to dry your dog.  Set the dryer on low and approach him little by little. Likewise, use a warm setting, because the heat will reassure him and give him confidence.

A puppy taking a bath

How to bathe your dog

Many people don’t know where to start when bathing a dog. We know that’s not the case with you, but we want to remind you how to do it.

  • Water temperature. Make sure the water temperature isn’t too hot or too cold. The water should be set at a comfortable temperature so the animals won’t have a negative experience.
  • Start by wetting his back. Your dog will want to run away if you start by pouring water into his face. Therefore, you should begin with his legs or back, which are less sensitive areas. You can gradually work your way up to his neck and head.
  • Do the same with the soap. Begin with his legs and back and work your way up to his head.
  • Remember to clean the area behind his ears well, and be careful not to get soap into his eyes. Clean your dog’s private parts and the area around them.
  • Don’t let water get into his ears because the moisture attracts parasites and bacteria that cause infections.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Cal. R. (2019) Habla con Ellos: Educación canina.
  • Rugaas, T., & Ramos, B. P. (2005). El lenguaje de los perros: las señales de calma. Kns ediciones.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.