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A pet owners guide to bathing your dog at home

A pet owners guide to bathing your dog at home

Introduction to washing your dog

It’s that time of year when the ground gets soggy and the parks - which were once green - are now a shade of brown thanks to the mud. Us dog owners and walkers can don our wet-weather gear and pull on our wellies, but when it comes to taking the dog out in the winter months we are guaranteed to come back with wet, muddy, soggy doggies.

I don’t know about you but our dogs actively search out the muddiest puddles, and roll in them. What is about mud that has its own gravitational pull? Especially the smelly variety? After a walk in November, December or January you can be pretty certain that when you get home you’re going to have to give them a bath - a towel down and a brush just ain’t going to cut it. As much as they hate it (or some anyway) it’s time for a bath. We’ve written a handy guide to help you with bathing your dog at home.

Where should I wash my dog?

Ideally you want to wash your dog where you have access to warm water. They’re not going to appreciate a cold bath at all, especially in the winter months. Either a bath with a shower head or a shower area will do just fine.

What you’ll need to wash your dog

  • A mucky pup
  • Dog shampoo
  • Container to dilute shampoo e.g. empty drinks bottle
  • Bath scrunchie
  • Several clean towels
  • Lead
  • Hair dryer (optional)
  • Some dog treats for when you’ve finished

You may need to pre-dilute your shampoo before you start. If you’re interested in seeing how we recommend doing this, you can check out this video:


A thought on what dog shampoo to use

An important thing to remember before you start is to research what kind of shampoo is going to be best for your dog. If your dog is white or light in colour then you might want to think about a whitening shampoo such as our Blueberry Supreme, or if your dog has skin problems then you will definitely want to use an a hypoallergenic shampoo, such as out Oatmeal Natural shampoo which is excellent for allergies and dandruff. If your dog is not only muddy but has also gone and rolled themselves in some incredibly stinky fox poo (it does happen - and don’t we know it!) then an everyday dog shampoo isn’t going to cut it. You need something stronger. We can’t recommend our Pure Filth Deep Clean shampoo enough for this job.

Step by step guide to giving your dog a bath at home

It’s a good idea to brush off any dry mud before you get them into the bath, not only will this avoid having flecks of the stuff scattered all over your carpet when you bring them in the house, but will also prevent your plug from becoming blocked.

You want to get the water to the right temperature before the dog gets in, or at least make sure you’ve tested it before you let the water make contact with your dog. It should be comfortably warm to your touch.

After you’ve established the right temperature, you want to rinse off the mud until the water runs clean. Using the shower head start off at the dog’s shoulders and then work your way towards the back and tail, making sure the leg and paws are cleaned too. Sometimes mud gets trapped under their claws and in between the pads, so you will need to gently double check in these sensitive regions.

When wetting the head, reduce the shower pressure, then lower the head and protect the ears from getting water in as you wet it.

Now it’s time to get soapy. Get your bottle of premixed shampoo out and squirt it along the sections of your dog’s body. We use a bath scrunchie to work the lather, but you can just use your hands. Make sure you massage deep into the coat. Leave the head until last.

Washing your dog’s face and head

Remember no soap or water should go into the ear canal or the eyes. So it’s always good to try and keep them protected. Using your hands carefully massage the shampoo into all the areas of the head - the ears, around the muzzle - making sure you loosen and remove all the gunk that collects there from their eyes.

Rinsing the soap off your dog

Then it’s time to rinse off all the soap. Start washing from the top of the head downwards. You must make sure all the shampoo is thoroughly washed off - use your hands to feel that this is the case. Hold your hands under the ear when you wash them, making sure that all the soap comes out.

When it’s squeaky clean it’s a sign that all the shampoo is off. Squeeze all of the excess water out of his coat before you dry them.

How to dry your dog after a bath

There are number of ways to dry your dog, which we will go into in greater detail in another post, but essentially you can:

  • Towel dry
  • Use a hairdryer on a low temperature and intensity setting
  • You can buy towelling drying coats that your dog can wear when they’re wet but you will need to give them a rub down before you put it on them

If you are planning on using a hairdryer to help the drying process, and you haven’t used one before, make sure your dog isn’t scared of it. Check how the temperature feels on your skin before blow drying your dog, and keep it moving - don’t let it linger for a prolonged period of time - otherwise this could burn their skin.

In the winter months we recommend keeping your dog’s hair at a shorter length, especially around the legs otherwise it’s impossible to keep them in good condition and matt free. Plus it means they dry off much quicker.

When they’re all clean and dry make sure you reward them for being a patient boy or girl with a tasty treat.

If you’ve got any questions or tips of your own about how to wash your dog at home you can chat with us on Facebook or Instagram.


Image cc Jesse Wagstaff

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