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How to Bathe Your Dog

While they don't need to bathe as frequently as humans, dogs still require the occasional wash to smell fresh and help keep your house clean! This is especially true for pets that stay outdoors and enjoy rolling around in dirt. In addition to cleansing their skin and coat of debris, it is a great bonding experience for dog and owner. This guide will teach you how to bathe your dog along with some helpful tips that you may not have considered!

How to Bathe Your Dog Tip #1: Bathe Your Dog Regularly, but Not Too Often!

Some people may be too regimented and bath their dog more frequently than is required. The disadvantage to overwashing is that it can dry out their skin and trigger irritation or allergies. Your dog needs its natural oils to maintain a shiny and healthy coat.

We suggest that you only bathe your dog when necessary. By this we mean only doing so when the coat is muddy, or when it is emitting an unpleasant odour. Of course, dogs always smell a certain way naturally. You don't want your pet to be sterile, nor do you want them to attract flies! Somewhere inbetween is about right.

Special consideration should be given based on your dog's breed. Western Highland Terriers for example, are particularly prone to allergies and skin conditions. Therefore, they should be bathed less frequently than other breeds. Check with your breeder or an expert for additional advice.

How to Bathe Your Dog Tip #2: Use Shampoo Designed for Dogs

It can be tempting to grab regular shampoo to use on your pet. However, it is important to note that the natural pH for dogs and humans is different. Therefore, using specially designed shampoo will further help reduce the likelihood of allergies and skin conditions.

How to Bathe Your Dog Tip #3: Choose a Suitable Place for the Bath

For dogs that don't mind cold water, bathing your dog outside can be a convenient way to avoid mess. This is of course best during hot weather! In colder weather, you may consider using a tub of warm water instead of the garden hose.

For indoor baths, make sure that you test the water prior to bathing your dog. Shower attachments are ideal as they give you the most control. We generally don't recommend putting the plug in so that any dirt can drain away.

Finally, be mindful of your posture while bathing your dog. For smaller dogs, the laundry sink will allow you to stand comfortably, while the bathtub will mean you have to bend or kneel awkwardly. If you have back issues, this could cause unwanted pain and discomfort.

Professional grooming services will of course get the job done with the least amount of effort. That said, it does mean that you miss an opportunity to bond with your dog. Nevertheless, if this is the path you are looking for, we at Fiona's Pet Services do offer dog washing services. Bonding with the pets we care for is part of our job!

Dog Bathing Steps

As a general guide, here are some steps that will show you how to bathe your dog:

Step 1: Wash & Rinse. With warm water, thoroughly wet your dog from head to toe. Be careful not to spray water directly into your dog's eyes, ears, or nose! This step removes all excess dirt, allowing the shampoo to take care of finer dirt particles.

Step 2: Turn off your water supply and lather dog shampoo into their coat. This is where you'll need to get hands-on, literally! Give your dog a good massage while you're at it!

Step 3: Rinse off the shampoo. Using warm water, wash off all the shampoo and dirt. If you notice that the water is VERY dirty, you may want to repeat step 2 another time.

Step 4: Dry off with a towel and (optional) hairdryer. Your dog may not like the hairdryer blowing air at them, but it is particularly important for cold days when natural drying is more difficult. Because dog fur retains a lot of water, you may even consider using two towels to do a thorough job!


Make sure you bathe your dog regularly, but not too often. Use specialised dog shampoo to avoid skin problems. Finally, choose an apporpriate venue for the bath. If you want dog washing services, you can ask us at Fiona's Pet Services or a local professional. Happy bathing!

If you would like to learn more about our pet sitting services, feel free to contact us for a meet & greet!

Fiona's Pet Services gives you peace of mind with their pets. We provide pet sitting, dog sitting, house sitting, and dog walking in Glen Iris and surrounding suburbs.

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