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December 19, 2018

How to Bathe a Dog in 10 Easy Steps

Regular grooming and bathing keep your dog looking dapper, but are also beneficial for their health. Unfortunately, if you’re new to dog bathing, you might end up drenched and stressed out beyond belief. Here’s how to bathe a dog without soaking your bathroom!


  • Three towels. Yep, you’ll want three. The first you’ll keep on the floor, the second one on your dog’s back and the third on their face, ears and feet.
  • Dog shampoo. You need actual dog shampoo and not human shampoo or baby shampoo. Those simply aren’t the right pH for your dog’s skin and could harm them. Ask your vet for a shampoo recommendation. They might also have a specific formula recommendation based on your dog’s skin type.
  • Grooming brush. Get yourself a grooming brush to work in the shampoo and loosen knots. This also helps reduce fur clogged in your drain.
  • Drain blocker. The fact of the matter is that dogs shed so you’ll want a drain blocker to keep your drain from clogging. Even a simple piece of steel wool will do the trick.
  • Leash and treats. Some dogs need a little persuasion when it comes to entering the bathing area.
  • Blowdryer. A blowdryer is optional, but keeps your home from getting soaked.


  1. Determine where you’re going to bathe your dog. Doing so in your driveway keeps the mess outside, but it might also mean your pup rolls around in the dirt immediately after getting clean. Sinks are perfect for puppies and small dogs, whereas we recommend tubs for larger breeds.
  2. If you’re using a sink or tub, fill it with water before your dog gets in. Some pets don’t like the sound of rushing water so this step helps lower their stress level. Test the water with your hand. It should be warm, but not hot.
  3. Clip the leash onto your dog’s collar and use a soothing voice. Scolding your dog or yelling will just further aggravate the situation.
  4. Lead your dog over to the bathing area. Bribe them with treats if necessary!
  5. Soak your dog completely down to the skin.
  6. Squeeze out some shampoo and apply at your dog’s neck. Then work your way downward to their feet and tail. Be sure to leave a barrier of soapy suds around the base of their head to discourage migrating parasites.
  7. Take this opportunity to empty your dog’s anal glands. The majority of dogs need this done regularly to prevent discomfort and possible infection.
  8. Rinse your dog.
  9. Place one of the towels on the floor like a bathmat. Then drape one over their back like a horse blanket. Use the last one to dry off their face, ears and paws.
  10. Blowdry your dog if you like. This step is optional, but it minimizes the chance of your dog shaking water all over your home.

Does all of this sound a little overwhelming? That’s okay! Let one of our trained groomers do the work for you. We offer select grooming services in Lakewood and full grooming in Culver City. Sign up for a grooming package or get an a la carte service like a nail clipping. And remember: Every dollar you spend goes back to us rescuing more homeless pets. Click here to learn more about our grooming offerings!