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Bathing Your Dog – The Ultimate Guide

If you are a dog owner, then it’s important to know how to properly bathe your dog. Bathing your dogs keeps them clean, and, more importantly, healthy.

Dogs accumulate dirt on their coat, which can produce an unpleasant smell and even some health complications. Bathing your dogs keeps their skin and coat clean, removes loose hair, and protects that gorgeous coat shine.

Continue reading, and learn everything there is to know about bathing your best friend.

How to Prepare Your Dog

The first thing you need to know is that comfort is very important. Be a good friend to your dog, pet him, comfort him, and show him that he is not alone.

If your doggy is energetic, try to exercise him before the bath. Take him out for a run or play fetch with him, basically, tire your dog out.

Another thing you should do is to create a calming ambiance. If you know which smells are your dog’s favorites, then use those smells in the bathroom. You can try to find a CD with soothing sounds for dogs – they do wonders on making your friend feel safe.

Your best friend is very intuitive to your emotions, so be sure not to act stressed, even if you are. Talk with a calm voice, and give your doggy simple, yet specific commands like “sit” or “stay.”

If your dog is particularly against being bathed, then use positive reinforcement. Use treats to encourage good behavior, but always make sure that your best friend knows that bathing is not a game.

Try to turn bath time into a ritual. Dogs are creatures that love routine. Try to find the best bathing routine for your pal, and then be consistent!

How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?

You have to be aware of the fact that bathing dogs too frequently does more harm than good. Their skin can get dry, and so can their coat. Dog skin produces natural oils needed to keep their skin and coat healthy, so be sure to wash your friend only when it is necessary.

How do you know that the time is right for a bath? Simple, if your dog has an unpleasant smell, then it’s time for a bath.

If your dog has a skin problem, then it is best to consult your vet for advice. If your dogs enjoy swimming, then they might require bathing less often.

Basically, if you notice accumulated dirt on your dog’s coat, or if you notice an unpleasant smell, then the time is right to bathe your friend.

Can I Use My Shampoo?

The answer is a resounding no! The skin pH of a human is different from the pH of a dog’s skin. Humans have an acidic pH, while dogs have an alkaline one.

Basically, a dog shouldn’t be bathed with a shampoo created for humans, and humans shouldn’t use a shampoo created for dogs.

Types of Dog Shampoos

There are plenty of different shampoos for dogs out there, and not all of them are created equal. Some of them serve a special purpose, and we will give our best to provide you with all of the necessary details. If you are having troubles with figuring out which shampoo to buy, don’t worry, we know that it is not an easy task. Luckily, our best dog shampoo guide will help you make the correct choice.

Medicated Shampoos

Medicated shampoos serve the purpose of treating problems such as dandruff, greasiness, bacteria, irritations, itchiness, and more. Going through all of the medicated shampoos can be a daunting task, so we created a list that will help you with making the correct choice.

  • Anti-fungal shampoos: Fungus thrives in warm and moist areas of a dog’s body. If your buddy is suffering from a fungal infection, then an anti-fungal shampoo is the best choice!
  • Anti-parasitic shampoos: Everyone hates fleas, but your dog hates them the most. If your dog is suffering from parasites, then an anti-parasitic shampoo will not only kill the parasites but also prevent new ones from coming.
  • Anti-itching shampoos: There are many reasons for a dog having itchy skin. Allergies, parasites, irritation, and more, can cause your best friend to scratch and bite the irritated skin. Luckily, anti-itching shampoos prevent your dog from giving in to the urge to scratch.
  • Anti-seborrheic shampoos: These shampoos combat dry skin, as well as greasy skin. If you notice dandruff or a different skin problem on your dog, then consider using an anti-seborrhea shampoo.
  • Anti-microbial shampoos: As the name suggests, these types of shampoos get rid of bacteria on your dog’s skin and coat.
  • Hypoallergenic shampoos: Different dogs react differently to certain products, and some of them might cause an allergic reaction. If you want to minimize the problems, use a hypoallergenic shampoo that contains aloe, oatmeal, and vitamins.

Non-Medicated Shampoos

Non-medicated shampoos serve a different purpose than medicated ones. The goal of a non-medicated shampoo is to provide cleaning and protection. But, some of the non-medicated shampoos are used to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your best friend.

  • Natural shampoos: Natural ingredients are the best! If you want to provide your dog with a gentle and enjoyable bath, then a natural shampoo is an excellent choice.
  • Anti-flea/tick shampoos: This type of shampoo does what the name implies – it combats fleas and ticks. Bear in mind that some of them are very strong, and they might cause skin irritation. If you want to avoid skin irritation, then go for a natural anti-flea/tick shampoo.
  • Conditioners: If your dog’s fur is prone to tangling, then a conditioner is a must-have! Conditioners soften the coat, making it easier to brush, and they also add a lovely shine to the coat.
  • Whitening/Brightening shampoos: If you want to enhance the look of your dog’s coat, then a whitening or a brightening shampoo is a definite choice.
  • Deodorizers: If your dog gets particularly smelly, and no amount of washing can make him clean, then think about opting in for a deodorizer.
  • Puppy shampoos: These shampoos are created specifically for puppies. They are gentle on the skin and don’t cause eye irritation. If you want to bathe your puppy, then there is no better choice.

Ingredients to Avoid

You should always be careful when selecting a dog shampoo. Since dogs absorb allergens through their skin, it is important to avoid shampoos with these ingredients:

  • Artificial colors
  • Perfumes
  • Parabens
  • Sodium laureth sulfate
  • Isopropyl alcohol

Make sure to purchase shampoos with natural ingredients, but if you can’t, then try to avoid the ones with the ingredients mentioned above.

Ingredients to Look For

Now that we have covered the ingredients that should be avoided in dog shampoos, we have to mention the ones that are worth looking for:

  • Aloe vera
  • Oatmeal
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil

While most of the best dog shampoos contain the above-mentioned ingredients, it is wise to keep them in your mind when purchasing a new dog shampoo.

How to Wash Your Dog

You already know that you should start the entire process by making your dog feel comfortable. Gently pat your buddy, stroke his coat, simply put, be gentle.

Try to pat your best bud’s chest area, and then slowly move down each of the legs. If you notice that your dog is comfortable, try to lift his paw and touch the foot pads. Make sure to praise your dog during the entire process. This way, your friend will become more comfortable about being touched in certain areas, which will make the bathing process easier.


We can’t stress enough the fact that you have to use a calm voice, and that you should never show any signs of anger or annoyance.

Take things slow. Introduce your dog to the bath mat by making him stand on it in the tub. Make sure to reward your dog with a treat, because he will start to associate bath time with treats. If you own a large dog, you should wash him with a dog-collar on.

Turn on the tap when the dog is nearby – show your friend that running water is nothing to be scared of.  Remember to do everything gradually with lots of patience.

After you have shown your dog where the baths will be taking place, and he is reacting positively, the time has come to bathe him.

Brush your dog gently to remove dirt, dust, and tangles. Wet your dog’s hair starting from the chest and neck area down the back and sides, finishing with the area near the tail. Dogs’ heads are very sensitive, so avoid getting it very wet – use a damp cloth. If your dog has cropped ears, use a shower cap, or don’t wash his head at all.

Once the dog is completely wet, massage the shampoo into the dog’s body. After you have shampooed your dog, gently rinse out the shampoo. Make sure to rinse your dog completely, and then apply a conditioner. Leave the conditioner to sit for a while, and then gently rinse it out the same way you did with shampoo.

You are almost finished, but there is one important thing left to do.

How to Dry Your Dog

You have probably seen your dog shake off water after getting wet many times, but you will need to help your dog dry after bathing him.


Find a large towel with great absorbing properties and use it to dry your dog. Take care not to scrub your dog with a towel too much, you only want to get rid of the excess water. After you have finished removing the excess water, simply leave your dog to air dry.

Most of the dogs hate hair dryers, so try to avoid using them.

When you finish removing the excess water, reward your pal with a treat. Remember, positive reinforcement goes a long way!

Bonus Shampoo Tips

  • Always shake the shampoo before use. Plenty of shampoos come with natural oils and conditioners that can get separated, so make sure to shake before use.
  • Never store the shampoo in direct sunlight because that is an invitation for bacteria. Excessive exposure to heat and humidity will degrade the shampoo, so make sure to store it in a cool and dry place.
  • Close the lid immediately after use, because you must make sure that no foreign elements contain the bottle.


You can consider yourself knowledgeable on the topic of dog shampoos. Pat yourself on the back – you deserve it. You have shown that you love your friend enough to go through a lengthy article to learn more about taking care of him.

We are sure that your best friend will feel your love, and you will be sure that you are doing everything right the next time you wash him. Go ahead and spend some time with your buddy now, both of you have deserved it!