How To Wash A Dog

Although washing your dog may sound like a simple task, it is not quite as simplistic as it seems. Here are our top tips to help you get professional results and avoid some common mistakes which can do more harm than good.

Top Tips

Tip #1 – Select a suitable place to wash your dog. A bathtub, laundry sink or shower can work well, especially if your dog is small and well behaved. However for larger dogs a hydrobath usually works far better. A hydro bath is a deep tub with high walls to keep your pet in and a high pressure shower head which facilitates deep cleaning and thorough rinsing of your pets coat.

Tip #2 – Select the right shampoo and conditioner to suit your dog’s coat and skin. Dogs have very sensitive skin and using the wrong product or human shampoo can cause more harm than good. With so many products on the market it can be difficult to choose which one is best suited to your dog. Your best bet is to drop in and talk to one of our friendly staff and get some free professional advice.

Tip #3 – Always use a conditioner. Shampoo is designed to remove oil and dirt from your pets coat which often results in the natural oils being stripped too. Using a conditioner after shapooing helps to restore the skin and coats natural balance. Without it the skin and coat can become dry, scaly and irritated.

Tip #4 – Don’t wash within 24 hours of applying a flea spot on. Most good flea spot on treatments are reasonably water fast (check the product label), however they need time to be absorbed or bond to your pets skin so washing too soon after administration will affect how well the product works. As a general rule the best time to apply flea spot on products is 48 hours AFTER washing.

Tip #5 – Wash your dog as infrequently as possible. A dog’s skin and coat are designed to be self-cleaning and really only need to be washed when they become smelly or dirty. The frequency will vary for each individual but dogs with healthy skin should not need to be washed more than once a fortnight and may never require washing. Let your nose be the guide. If your dog is developing a doggy smell despite fortnightly washing then it is likely that they have a skin problem and you should schedule a consultation with your vet.

Tip #6 – You can wash your dog during winter. Many people are worried about washing their dog during winter. As long as you keep them inside and in a warm, draught free environment until they are completely dry then washing your dog during winter is fine.

Step by step guide

  • Get all items required for bathing and keep close by (towels, comb/brush, shampoo & conditioner etc.)
  • Set the water temperature to lukewarm.
  • Start with slowly wetting your dog’s coat, from the neck working your way down the dogs back, tail and legs.
  • Once the coat is thoroughly wet, apply a generous amount of shampoo onto a sponge and work into your dog’s coat to create a rich lather. Follow directions on bottle, most medicated shampoos require 5-10 mins contact time to work. During this process massage your dog’s skin and coat and use this time to thoroughly inspect your dog’s body for any abnormal lumps or bumps.
  • Once you are satisfied that your dog is clean, rinse with lukewarm water. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of the shampoo.
  • Always follow up with a conditioner as this helps to moisturise the skin and coat, as well as detangle and restore coat lustre.
  • Always dry the coat with a clean towel and soak up as much moisture as you can. Use a hair dryer to dry off the rest of the coat if needed, and run a comb or brush to suit your dog’s hair type through the coat as you go.
  • Once dry, give the coat a final brush to remove any leftover shed hairs and knots.

If all else fails, there are plenty of groomers and mobile dog washers that can get the job done for you.