Bath Guide For Dogs

We’ve bathed our dogs enough times to know what we’re doing right and wrong. Also, we learned from some really silly mistakes we made along the way. Don’t let these mistakes happen to you. On this page, you’ll find answers to everything about how to give a dog a bath.

Whether your dog hates taking baths or you aren’t sure where to give your dog a bath, this article will cover it all. Let us know if there is anything we missed!

How to give a bath to a dog

Most dogs aren’t used to the idea of a bath. It might feel like you’re at war every time you need to give your dog a bath. Bathing a dog that hates baths is about taking it slow and giving lots of treats. During this time, you need to remember your dog is on high alert.

Slowly introduce your dog to the bathtub (or area you will be giving his bath). Then, introduce the idea of running water. After that, give him lots of treats to get inside the bath. Once he’s comfortable, show him the running water again. Let him sniff it or even drink it. Give lots of calm praise.

Once he’s happy to be in the bath near running water, gently splash his toes and legs, moving up slowly. Now that he’s nice and wet, grab your shampoo and best brush (we recommend using a grooming glove, seriously).

As gently as you can, start to rinse the shampoo from your dog’s fur. This part freaks out a lot of dogs so try to do it calmly. You won’t be able to get all the shampoo out. If you’re using a shampoo for dogs, it will act as a leave-in conditioner at the same time.

give a dog a bath after

Before you wrap a towel around your dog, give him a chance to shake all the water out of his fur. Dogs will shake a lot after a bath. Their fur is soaked and shaking gets most of the water off. Wrap a towel around your dog and start patting him dry.

Keep dog ears dry during bath

One method for keeping a dog’s ears dry during a bath is to use cotton balls inside their ears. Because dogs have large ear canals, it makes it easy to put big cotton balls inside their ears. After the bath, remove the cotton balls. This prevents water from getting into their ear canal during bath time, something that can cause a lot of discomforts.

Before putting anything in your dog’s ear, you should be confident you can remove it easily. Though you would be saving your dog the discomfort of having water in his ear, you may worsen discomfort by putting things in his ear.

How to dry dog ears

Some dogs are sensitive about their ears. Whether their ears are hurting or they just don’t like to be touched ears, it’s good to know how to dry a dog’s ears after a bath.

Grab a soft cloth or towel and place it on your dog’s head, covering his ears. Gently place your open hands on your dog’s head. Slowly massage without adding extra pressure. When he’s calmed and relaxed, try to lift one ear flap to start drying it with the cloth. Take your time and eventually, your dog will allow you to dry his ears.

dry your dog after a bath

Drying your dog after a bath is about keeping his coat and skin healthy. You won’t need anything more than a towel, maybe two. It’s important not to a blow dryer to speed up the process. You can damage your dog’s coat and dry out their skin.

Alternatively, you can let your dog air dry. This option is a mixed bag of pros and cons. If you let your dog air dry, he will walk around the house with that wet dog smell. On the other hand, it lets the hair dry a little thicker, which is good for keeping in moisture. This option is great if you have a yard your dog can sit out on.

If you’re bathing a dog during winter, you should wait until your dog is fully dry before taking him out. Winter is known to be harsh on a dog’s skin and coat. By exposing them while they’re wet, they will very likely develop skin issues.

Bathing a pregnant dog

Bathing a pregnant dog is not much different than any other dog. You may find yourself working around your pregnant dog’s positioning. You won’t be able to ask much of your dog as if she was able to hop around from one side of the bath to the other. This can be even harder if your dog hates taking baths.

if you are without water

If you don’t have water, you can find a local pet grooming store or pet store that offers pet grooming. Most of these stores have do-it-yourself stations that are much less expensive. Alternatively, search in your area for any natural water sources such as a lake, ocean, or river. Dogs are incredible swimmers and will enjoy a splash in nature.

If those options don’t work, you can wet a towel and brush your dog’s hair. This is an easy way to tidy up a dog.

How often to give baths

Giving dogs frequent baths is actually bad for them. Over time, dogs will naturally produce oils that protect their coat and their skin. By giving your dog a bath, you are stripping those oils from them. Ideally, you should try limited baths to once a week.

If you have to bathe your dog more often, you can try giving them a bath that doesn’t remove their oils. You can also use dog shampoo made to reduce how much oil is removed from each bath.

When can a puppy have its first bath

A newborn puppy (8 weeks or younger) can have its first bath at around four weeks. This is the youngest anybody recommends but it’s said to try waiting until at least six weeks. Ideally, you should wait until your puppy has reached eight weeks.

The reason you don’t want to give a puppy a bath too early is that it might get sick or become rejected from its litter (a huge factor in puppy survival).

Where to give a bath

Where you give your dog a bath is up to you. You’ve got a few options to choose from depending on your home and access to water. Below is a list of the most common places people will give their dog a bath.

A bathtub

Your bathtub is a perfect place to give your dog a bath. It’s a lot harder to convince a dog to get into a bathtub, but it does work. You should be aware of hair going in your drain. Dogs tend to shed a lot during baths, especially if they haven’t been bathed in a long time.

Some bathtubs have a finish that can be scratched off by your dog. Check to see if your bathtub has a finish on it, and if it does, then it may not be a good option (unless you don’t mind).

Portable dog bath

A portable dog bath is the best option for dog baths. They’re spacious and designed for a dog’s comfort. They’re usually outfitted with tall walls, a handle to attach your dog’s leash, and can drain the water effectively.


If you have a front or back yard, you can wash your dog there. If you have access to a garden hose, you can essentially shower your dog in the yard. You can also use your portable dog bath out here as well.

Why dogs become hyper after a bath

Most dogs will show signs of zoomies after taking a bath. The hyper activity makes your dog look like he’s going crazy by running around and jumping all over. There are a few reasons why your dog is behaving this way, and we’ve listed a few below.

Feeling refreshed

The first and greatest reason is that your dog feels amazing. Although it probably wasn’t a pleasant experience, he just got rid of dead skin, dead hair, and all the dirt that was weighing him down. He feels like a new dog.

Even though he feels great, there are a few things he misses about his dirtier self.

Scent thrown off

A dog’s primary sense is smelling. Seeing and hearing come after. He knows his home by how it smells. Right now, everything smells way wrong. He needs to go and re-inspect his entire surroundings. Dogs will also mark areas with their own scent. Because he’s got a new scent, he needs to get that new scent all over the house.

Why do dogs roll in dirt after a bath

Dogs like to be a little dirty. They build their own blend of scent by rolling around in things they want to smell like. Whether it’s their dog bed, your dirty laundry, or some dirt. They’re aiming to re-build their scent from scratch.

How to make a dog smell good without a bath

Most dogs carry their odor on their coat. If you need a quick way to make your dog smell good without a bath, you can use a pet grooming glove or de-shedding brush to remove old, smelly hair.

Making a dog smell good without a bath comes down to a healthy diet and frequent grooming. Keep your dog’s coat brushed, and make sure he’s getting enough nutrition in his meals.

Dog still stinks after bath

Your dog still stinks because his fur is wet. It is common for dogs to have an odor when they are wet. The term is called wet dog smell and there is nothing you can do about it. All you can do is wait until your dog’s fur has dried up.

If it bothers you, you can grab a towel and wipe him down as much as you like. He will enjoy it and his fur will dry faster. Don’t use a blow dryer as this can dry out your dog’s skin.

Does a bath get rid of fleas?

Baths are not known to completely get rid of fleas. Though you can wash fleas out of your dog’s fur, it doesn’t get rid of the problem entirely. You can use a shampoo that fights fleas, but your dog will continue to have fleas until you give them proper protection that is meant to keep fleas off your dog’s body.

flea and tick medicine after a bath

You can give your dog his flea and tick medicine right after a bath. If you’re applying the droppers, you can drop them on the top of his back and it will begin working immediately. You might want to give it some time to set in before letting your dog out into any forests or muddy puddles.

Oatmeal bath for dogs

An oatmeal bath is a great way to treat dry skin and rashes. Either create your own or buy pre-made packs that dissolve in water. After his bath, choose to leave it in or rinse most of it out. Either way, having your dog take an oatmeal bath will have benefits for his skin.

Epsom salts for dog bath

Epsom salts will make a bath much more relaxing. The effect of Epsom salts is to work as a relaxant to ease muscles while submerged in water. It also helps to repair skin and other great benefits. Epsom salts are fairly standard wherever you buy them. Avoid buying scented Epsom salts as they can bother your dog.

Dog got water up its nose during bath

If your dog got water up his nose during a bath, there isn’t much you can do. It may cause some discomfort for some time, but it will pass. It is normal for dogs to get water up their nose, but it isn’t meant to happen.

A dog’s airway is through his nose and is a direct passage to his lungs. Though nothing bad will happen if some water gets in there, it can be uncomfortable for some time.

Dog shaking and shivering after bath

If your dog is shaking or shivering after his bath, he’s either cold or nervous. It’s normal for your dog to be nervous as bath time can be stressful for most dogs. The best thing you can do is wrap a towel around them and give them a long and warm hug. They will warm up and calm down with each passing minute.

Itching and Shedding after bath

It’s totally normal for your dog to be shedding and itching after his bath. Dogs have a lot of loose hair that is no longer attached. When dogs shed, it means this hair is coming loose faster. After a bath, you’ve likely loosened a lot of this dead hair and now it’s coming out.

Similar to loose hair, your dog has lost a lot of dead skin. It’s a temporary feeling, but your dog is reproducing healthier skin after his bath. It may be itchy, but it will be away.

Photo of author

Peter Newman

Peter Newman is the owner and editor for Puppy Leader. He has two dogs and loves to train them daily. Every day, Peter takes his dogs to the park and lets them run around and play together. He also trains them each day with different commands and tricks.