Happy dog taking a bath in the bathtub

Dog Bathing 101

When it comes to dog bathing 101 there are a lot of things that most new dog owners don't know. That is ok because here at Liquid Health Pets we have compiled some of the basics that you need to know about bathing your pet.

How often should I Bathe My Dog?

It can sometimes be difficult to determine how often you should be giving your pup a bath. There are many factors that come into play when deciding on how often you should bathe your dog. The two biggest factors are the type of coat your dog has and their lifestyle.

Coat Type:

The type of coat that your dog has is arguably the biggest factor in how often they need a bath. For dogs with a shorter coat or even hairless dogs bathing might be as frequent as weekly. The American Kennel Club states that "Dogs with a medium to large coat bathing should be around 4-6 weeks."


Your dog's lifestyle also plays a huge part in determining how often to bathe them. If your pet spends its days relaxing inside then baths may not be needed as frequently. On the other hand, if your pup spends its days outside on a farm or hunting in muddy areas then bathing should definitely be more frequent. One good way to tell if your dog is in need of a bath is simply the sniff test.

Where Should I Bathe Them?

Imagine this, you're outside in the cold, totally exposed, and someone is spraying you down with a hose. Chances are it doesn't sound like something you'd willingly sign up for and i'm guessing your dog wouldn't either. If your pup is really dirty, an outside hose down may be the best option but you could also utilize a large storage tub or kiddie pool to get the job done rather than traumatizing them with the hose. Bathing outside also makes it harder to contain your dog and keep them clean after they've been washed.

If you have a smaller dog, the sink will work fine. For larger dogs, we recommend that you take care of their bath in the tub. Sometimes if you've got a really difficult or scared pup, it may be best to jump into an enclosed shower with them. Keep in contact with them, petting them and speaking calmly so they know they're not alone or in danger.

Prep Work

One of the most important things in bathing your dog is getting prepared to do so. There are many things that you are going to need so that you and your pet can get through the bath. Some items that are beneficial are:

  • Dog Shampoo: Shampoo for humans can actually cause harm to the coat and skin of your pet. Ask your vet so they can recommend a product that will work best for your pup.
  • Block the Drain: If you are bathing your pet in the sink or bathtub it is important to block the drain with steel wool so that hair does not clog the drain.
  • Get Supplies Together: Towels, treats, Not only is getting everything together important, but it is also crucial that you are placing things within reach. You don't want to have to wrestle a soaking wet dog after you left to grab a towel.
  • Non-Slip Surface: Placing a towel at the bottom of the tub, or a rubber mat can help keep your pet calm as they have one less thing to worry about.

Bathing Them

Now that you have everything prepped, the next thing to do is brush your dog. Brushing before bathing is important because it removes loose hair and will significantly improve the effectiveness of the shampoo in cleaning not only the hair, but skin as well. Matted hair and tangles are also harder to remove once they are wet.

The next step is to put a cotton ball in each ear so that water does not get in them and cause infections. You then can get their entire body from the neck down wet. Now it is time to add the shampoo and work it into the coat.

While you let the shampoo sit for a minute, you can clean your dog's face. Using a damp washcloth is the best way to go about this, but remember to not get inside the ears because your dog could get an infection.

Now it's time to rinse out your dog's coat. It is important to rinse it until the water runs clean so no excess shampoo stays in the coat. You can then remove the cotton balls from their ears. After it is cleaned out you can then dry them off with a towel. If you opt into using a hairdryer, use one specifically designed for pets or keep the heat on low/cool to avoid burning your pup. After that, you need to comb out the coat to avoid tangling.

We also recommend using an ear cleaner to help make sure that your pup's ears stay clean and healthy and no water is left behind. Here at Liquid Health Pets, we have our K9 Ear Solution that can help with this problem. Check out this article to learn more about why you should use one.

The final step, and arguably the most important one is to give your pup a treat. Also letting them know that they are a good boy or girl can help them feel more comfortable about getting into a bath.


Proper dog care and bathing is not as hard as it might seem. Although it is important to realize that there is more to bathing your dog than just dog bathing 101. If you feel like you can't take on the task of bathing your dog, or just have a family of dogs and don't have the time there is always the option of taking them to a groomer. Dog groomers will do all the work for a small fee.

For more information on the Ear Solutions product please visit our website here to learn more.