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The Basics of Bathing Your Dog     

Bathing your dog at home can be an adventure, especially if you are ill-prepared. This article can offer a few useful tips to help you along the path to a cleaner companion.

Water Temperature

Water temperature plays an integral part in the safety and enjoyment of bathing your dog. Unlike humans, dogs cannot tolerate hot water, nor do they enjoy cold water, despite the enthusiasm they may show for a dip in the river. The best temperature for your dog’s bath is lukewarm, substantially colder than your bath water, but not cold.

Before You Begin

Before you begin, lay out all your tools, as your dog may become impatient while you search for some forgotten item. A non-skid rubber mat at the bottom of the tub can prevent your dog from losing their footing and make cleaning up easier for you. It is also essential to remove any mats present in your dog’s fur as they can tighten when wet. Be very careful to ensure your dog is completely tangle-free.

Getting Started

Wet your dog thoroughly with lukewarm water to start and work up a lather with your shampoo. Your dog may prefer to be showered, if possible, rather than bathed as they may be unable to determine the exact depth of the water in the tub, and that can make them uneasy. Using a movable shower cord can make the job easier and the clean-up much quicker.


Human shampoos are definitely not recommended for pets. A dog’s skin has its own unique pH balance and can react unfavorably to shampoo or soap designed for humans. Pet Planet sells many different types of pet shampoos. If unsure of what might work best for your pet, ask your Pet Planet Ambassador. It is best to dilute shampoo with water before you begin to ensure a more even coverage; an old sports bottle will work great for this purpose. When using a flea shampoo, be sure to start your lather at the neck, working towards the back to cut off the flea’s escape route into the ears and eyes. With any shampoo routine, don’t forget the feet and the “privates” as those areas are often overlooked during bath time.


Rinsing is the most crucial step of bathing; any shampoo left in the coat will make it dull and gritty. If static is a problem for your dog, or if the hair is relatively long, you will want to condition the coat as well. Again, rinse thoroughly, as canine conditioners are formulated to be effective without leaving residue. Greasy spots in the hair coat, dry, itchy skin, or dandruff can be caused by residue from improper rinsing so – Rinse, Rinse, Rinse! To dry, blot (don’t rub) your dog with a towel to prevent knots and tangles.


Dogs are not able to tolerate the high heat of a human blow dryer. A dog’s skin can burn easier than ours, and as such, the only truly safe option, if you must use a blow dryer, it is best to use one specifically designed for pets. Be sure to look for a pet drier with a “cool” or “cold” setting, which circulates air but does not engage the hot setting.


Additional Resources

Dogs 101: Everything You Should Know About Bathing Your Dog

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