Tips for How to Bathe a Dog at Home: A Guide to Proper Techniques and Equipment

Learn How to Bathe a Dog at Home Like a Pro with These Expert Tips and Techniques

Are you tired of constantly taking your furry friend to the groomer? Do you want to save money by bathing your dog at home? As a professional groomer, I understand the desire to keep your dog clean and well-groomed in between appointments. The good news is that with the right equipment and technique, you can easily bathe your dog at home.

However, before you dive into giving your pup a bath, it’s important to understand that there is a proper way to do it. Neglecting any of the essential tips and techniques can result in skin and coat issues that may not be easy to fix. As a result, your dog may suffer, and your groomer may have a more challenging time fixing the problem.

To get started, you’ll need a few basic items: a tub, high-pressure water nozzle, hot/cold water faucet, brush, comb, shampoo, a bottle to dilute shampoo in, and towels. And don’t forget the vodka (for you, after the bath!). With the right equipment and a little guidance, you’ll be well on your way to successfully bathing your furry friend at home.

In conclusion, by following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can confidently and successfully bathe your dog at home. Not only will you save time and money, but your dog will also benefit from the proper care and attention given during the bath. So, don’t be afraid to give it a try – your pup will thank you for it!

Tips and Techniques for a Successful Bathing Experience

If you’re planning to bathe your dog at home, having the right equipment is crucial. The most essential item is a nozzle with good water pressure, which ensures that you can thoroughly clean your dog’s coat. While some showers have take-down shower heads, they don’t always provide sufficient water pressure. To overcome this, you can purchase attachments that connect to your tub faucet or hose attachments. However, if you’re using hose attachments, ensure that you hook them up to a faucet that has both hot and cold water. Avoid using water from an outdoor spigot, which is typically too cold for your dog’s comfort. Always use cooler water, as dogs have a higher body temperature than humans, and cooler water feels more comfortable to them.

One of the most common mistakes people make when bathing their dogs at home is filling up a tub with water and dropping the dog in it. This approach merely mixes dirt, dander, soap, and hair around, leaving most of it on your dog when you remove them from the tub. The old “tub o’ water and a cup” method is outdated and unhygienic. To ensure your dog is clean, water should be running off them and down the drain as you bathe and rinse. Therefore, never bathe your dog in standing water, regardless of what anyone says.

In conclusion, with the right equipment and technique, you can give your furry friend a comfortable and successful bath at home. Follow these tips and techniques to avoid common mistakes and ensure that your dog is clean and happy. Remember to use cooler water, never bathe your dog in standing water, and avoid mixing dirt, dander, soap, and hair around by filling up the tub with water. With these tips, your dog will be looking and feeling their best after their at-home bath!



To keep your dog’s coat healthy and prevent mats and tangles, brushing is an essential step before bathing. Just like human hair, wetting your dog’s coat without brushing it first will only make it more difficult and painful to remove tangles later. Certain breeds with long hair, such as Lhasas, Shih Tzus, and Maltese, require extra attention when it comes to brushing and combing. Neglecting this step can lead to mats, which can be extremely uncomfortable for your dog and difficult to remove later. As a groomer, I highly recommend brushing and combing your dog’s entire coat before and after bathing.

It’s crucial to note that bathing your dog at home frequently without proper brushing can lead to matted hair. As a result, your dog may need a shorter groom that is not what you had in mind. Therefore, it’s essential to brush and comb your dog’s coat entirely before washing it to avoid such issues. I can’t stress this enough: water and tangles create instant mats, which can be incredibly uncomfortable for your dog. Therefore, always ensure that you have brushed and combed out all tangles before bathing.

While brushing, don’t forget to check your dog’s ears for any debris or wax buildup. To prevent water from entering the ear canal, gently place a few cotton balls in your dog’s ears before bath time. It’s also important to remove them after bathing. You can use unscented baby wipes to clean the outer areas of your dog’s ears gently. However, never use Q-tips, as they can push debris and wax further into the ear canal. If your dog’s ears are excessively dirty, take them to a veterinarian for cleaning.

If you brush your dog’s teeth, bath time is an excellent opportunity to get this done as well. It’s best to get all the not-so-fun stuff done in one go, so your dog can get over it and get back to enjoying their day. Remember that proper brushing, combing, and ear cleaning can make bath time more comfortable and enjoyable for your dog, and it can also make my job as a groomer easier when it’s time for their professional grooming appointment.

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Diluting The Shampoo Before Use

When it comes to bathing your furry friend at home, using the right shampoo is crucial. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one for your pup. It’s important to note that human shampoo should never be used on dogs. Canine hair and skin are different than humans and require specialized shampoo to maintain their health and cleanliness.

Chain store brands may be less expensive, but they’re often lower in quality than higher-end salon shampoos. To get the best results for your dog, it’s recommended to invest in a higher-end shampoo. Diluting the shampoo before use is also important. Salon brands will usually have the dilution ratio listed on the bottle, but if not, a ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part shampoo is a good place to start. Diluted shampoo will cut through the coat easier and be easier to rinse out, leading to a more effective bath for your pup.

For dogs that have been skunked, specialty shampoos designed to help with the smell are available. Using tomato juice is not recommended, as it is not effective and can be messy. Instead, consider using a homemade skunk solution made from common household ingredients.

It’s also important to note that flea and tick shampoos should not be used as a preventative measure. They can be harsh on your dog’s skin and should only be used if your dog already has fleas or ticks. For preventative measures, make an appointment with your vet to find the best solution for your dog.

By using high-quality shampoo and following proper dilution techniques, you can ensure that your furry friend has a pleasant and effective bath time experience. Remember to always read the label before using any new product on your pet and seek veterinary advice if you have any concerns.

Rinse and repeat, if necessary


When it comes to bathing a dog at home, rinsing is an important part of the process. It can also be the most time-consuming, especially when trying to convince your furry friend to stay in the tub. To make things easier, you can invest in suction cup tethers or try feeding your dog in the tub. Smearing peanut butter on the tub wall can also be an effective distraction. If you have a toddler, you might even try this trick on them too!

Before applying shampoo, it’s important to wet your dog’s entire body first. If your dog is particularly dirty, do a quick shampoo and rinse first, then repeat with a more thorough shampoo to ensure all the dirt is removed. Shampooing the face and ears should be done last, and you should rinse these areas first to avoid getting soap in your dog’s eyes. Remember to always rinse from the top down, starting at the head and working your way down to the legs. Don’t forget to pay special attention to areas between the eyes and privates, using a cloth if necessary to wipe off any excess dirt.

If you’re using rubber curry brushes, they’re great for lathering up short-coated breeds like Labs as they help to loosen dead hair. For longer coated breeds, it’s better to lather the shampoo by hand to prevent tangles. Be sure to use your fingers to work the shampoo into the coat all the way down to the skin. When rinsing, be thorough and rinse until no more soap or lather is seen and the water runs clean. It’s important to work the water into the coat with your hands to help rinse below the surface. Leftover soap and dander can cause itchy skin and a dull coat, so it’s best to rinse thoroughly. If your water pressure is low, you may need to rinse for an extra-long time to ensure your dog’s coat is clean and shiny.


Tips for Drying Your Dog After Bathing at Home


Before towel drying your dog, be sure to squeeze all the excess water out of their coat, paying special attention to the ears, feet, and tail. Then, encourage your dog to shake it off, as it’s their natural instinct to do so, and it will actually make the drying process much easier for you. Towel drying can cause matting in long-coated breeds, so be sure to gently squeeze the water out of the dog with the towel, starting with their back and pat drying all over their body, legs, ears, and tail. It’s important to keep your dog contained until they are dry to discourage rubbing their wet coat on furniture, as this can lead to matting.

When it comes to drying your dog’s coat, human hair dryers are not meant to be used on dogs. Instead, it’s best to use a dryer specifically designed for dogs, as human hair dryers can cause damage to your dog’s coat and burn their skin. If you don’t have a suitable hair dryer, it’s best to let your dog air dry. Once the coat is dry, be sure to brush and comb it out again if it’s a hair dog, and you’re done! If you do have a suitable hair dryer, you can brush and comb as you dry to make a longer coat lay flat or a curly coat fluff up.

Bathing a dog at home can be time-consuming, but with the right approach and a little patience, it can be a rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend. Don’t forget to rinse thoroughly, towel dry gently, and use a suitable dryer to avoid damaging your dog’s coat or skin. With these tips, you’ll have a clean, happy dog in no time!


Rewarding Your Furry Friend and Handling Tantrums

Congratulations, you’ve successfully bathed your furry friend at home! Show them some love by giving them a treat and a kiss. However, resist the urge to indulge in that vodka bottle. Instead, commend your dog for being a good sport, even if you’re feeling a bit frustrated from the mess left behind. If you found the process too overwhelming, consider leaving the job to a professional groomer. Remember, grooming is their expertise, and tipping them is always appreciated.

While grooming your dog at home, it’s important to keep your cool and not give in to tantrums. If you stop the process when your dog is misbehaving, you’re teaching them that throwing a fit is an effective way to get what they want. Instead, it’s best to continue the process and teach your furry friend to tolerate it. This makes future grooming appointments with professionals less stressful and possibly more affordable. Although it may be tough seeing your dog upset, rest assured that you’re not hurting them, and they will eventually get over it.

Keep in mind that puppies tend to put up a bigger fuss when it comes to grooming, but don’t worry, you’re not harming them. They’ll learn to tolerate it over time. However, groomers may charge extra for dogs that won’t behave during grooming sessions as it takes up more time and energy. Hence, it’s crucial to train your furry friend to stand still for procedures they’ll have to undergo throughout their life.

Homemade Skunk Solution

Mix the following ingredients in a plastic bucket

1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (open a fresh bottle)

¼ cup of Baking Soda

1-2 teaspoons of Liquid Soap (Softsoap and Ivory are recommended)

Note: for large dogs, the recipe can be doubled or you can add one quart of lukewarm water to ensure complete body coverage.


  1. Apply the solution to the entire coat and work it deeply into the fur.
  2. Leave on for at least 5 minutes or until the odor is gone.
  3.  Rinse your pet thoroughly with lukewarm water.
  4.  Smell your pet! If he still reeks of skunk, repeat steps 1-3!
  5.  Pour any remaining solution down the drain with running water.

NEVER store the solution in a closed bottle as pressure can build up and cause the container to explode.

Note: The solution will sting if it gets into your dog’s eyes. If your dog’s face is heavily soiled, use a toothbrush soaked in solution to clean the hair around the eyes.

Laura Norwood
Laura Norwood
The ultimate founder and enthusiast who investigates every piece of pet news.


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