Building a dog bath requires compromise. First, it must be low enough that your dog can climb into it -- unless he’s small enough to be picked up -- but high enough that you can bathe him without stooping. Location is a consideration, too. A bath fashioned from an industrial container or trashcan provides convenience and flexibility. One with wheels will make it easier to move to and from a water source.
Modified Portable Container
Measure your dog's forelimb, from floor to elbow, while he is in the sitting position. The sides of the bath must be high enough that it can contain sufficient water to cover your dog up to his his elbow while sitting. Then measure the length of his body while in the down position, from tail to nose. The bath must be large enough for him to be able to lay down.
Purchase or otherwise acquire a suitably large container, based on your dog’s measurements. It must be a four-wheeler, as two-wheelers generally have irregular floors. If you are using a second-hand container, clean it thoroughly before use. A large trash can, such as a 64-gallon wheeled toter, is suitable for medium breeds. For small breeds, a small garden waste container plus container dolly may be suitable. For large breeds, a wheeled industrial bin will be suitable. The container must be waterproof and watertight.
Remove the lid. If your container has a fixed lid, unscrew this and remove the fittings. The bath must open at all times, and a lid creates an unnecessary obstruction.
Draw a line around the side of the container at the approximate height of your dog’s elbow while he is sitting. In order for the container to function as a tub, it must be able to contain a sufficient volume of water while enabling you to reach into it and your dog to step into it. Most containers are designed for maximum volume. Your objective is to have a container capable of holding a dog and a moderate amount of water while permitting easy access and limited spillage. For a large breed, you’ll need sides approximately 20 inches high, for a medium breed sides that are approximately 14 inches high, and for a small breed sides approximately 10 inches high.
Fit a plastic-cutting bit into an electrical router. Cut around the line to remove the top portion of the container. This lowers the sides of the container, reducing the volume without reducing the area.
Measure the newly modified perimeter of the container's modified rim. Some containers are tapered, so cutting them in half may reduce their circumference. Cut the vulcanized rubber strip into two sections, each equivalent to half the circumference of the container.
Buff the newly cut edges with sandpaper. Then apply a thin layer of glue around the top edges of the container. Lay the first strip of rubber on top of the container and fix it in place with four heavy-duty binder clips. Attach the other strip in a similar manner. Then let the glue set for at least four hours. The rubber edging will protect your dog from injury when he is climbing in and out of the bath as well as provide you with a soft surface on which to rest your arms when bathing your dog.
Static Elevated Bath Station
Measure your dog to determine what size of washing tub will suit your dog. He must be able to lie down or sit in the tub. Elevation bath stations are not suitable for extremely heavy dogs.
Place the tub top down on the plywood and draw around the circumference. Cut out the shape of the tub using the Dremel tool or jigsaw.
Cut two 1-inch-diameter holes in the side of the tub using the router. These are where you'll slide the hose attached to the hot and cold faucets when filling the tub.
Cut four 2-by-4s to approximately the length of your leg. These will be the legs that support the tub frame. Cutting them to your inseam makes for a comfortable height when washing the dog.
Cut four 2-by-4s to the equivalent width of the plywood board and four to the equivalent length minus 3 inches. This gives you four long and four short timbers, enough to create two rectangular frames. Sandwich two of the shorter 2-by-4s perpendicularly on the ends of two longer 2-by-4s to create a rectangle; repeat with the four remaining 2-by-4 pieces to create a second, matching rectangular frame. Screw the 2-by-4s together with at least two screws per corner.
Attach the four legs to the corners of one frame with screws. The simplest method is to seat the legs in the corners, and drive two screws through the 3 1/2 inch plane of each 2-by-4 leg and at least one screw through each 2-by-4 leg's 1 1/2 inch plane. Flip the partially completed frame and seat the 4 legs in the remaining frame, then screw the frame and legs together in like fashion.
Place the plywood board on top of the frame and screw it on. Slot the tub into the cut-out. If necessary, devise a safe ramp ramp to help your dog to get in the tub.