How to Give a Dog a Bath In the Cold Months

by Mary Lougee
    Can my friend come in the tub too?

    Can my friend come in the tub too?

    Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    A dog still requires grooming and cleaning in the cold winter months. Some dogs have excessively oily coats that tend to smell after a few weeks. It is important to keep your pooch warm during his bath and afterwards if you are cleaning him with a traditional bath. Alternately, you may choose to deodorize and clean him with a waterless dog shampoo for a quick and easy cleaning with no water needed.

    Traditional Bath

    Step 1

    Place a rubber tub mat in the bottom of a bathtub to prevent your dog from slipping. Place dog shampoo, a washcloth, large cup and large towels within reach of the tub. Turn on a space heater in the bathroom if it is cool or drafty and shut the door. Allow the room to warm up before your dog’s bath.

    Step 2

    Brush your dog out thoroughly to remove any loose hair and debris. Comb out all tangles in his hair. When you add water to tangles, they become tighter and harder to remove.

    Step 3

    Place a cotton ball in each of your furry friend’s ears to protect them from shampoo and water. This action helps to prevent your pet from ear infections due to excess moisture.

    Step 4

    Instill a drop of mineral oil in each of your pooch’s eyes. Mineral oil protects eyes from shampoo and prevents burning during a bath.

    Step 5

    Add lukewarm water to the bathtub up to your dog's knees.

    Step 6

    Dip a large cup into the water and pour it over your dog to saturate his hair thoroughly. Add dog shampoo to the neck area and lather it backwards, working toward his tail. Massage the shampoo deep into his fur and down to his skin. This may be your pup's favorite part, especially if you find his “itchy spot.”

    Step 7

    Dip a sponge into the bath water and clean his face and ears. Rinse your pooch thoroughly with ample amounts of clean water. Open the drain in the tub and rinse your pet a second time to remove all traces of shampoo and protect him from itchy skin.

    Step 8

    Remove your dog from the tub and dry him vigorously with a towel. Remove the cotton balls from his ears. Stand back and wait for him to shake water on you.

    Step 9

    Turn a hair dryer on the lowest heat and airflow settings and dry your dog thoroughly. Give your pet a tasty dog treat for being patient and good during his bath.

    Waterless Dog Bath

    Step 1

    Brush all tangles and debris out of your dog’s fur.

    Step 2

    Put a rubber tub mat in the bottom of the tub for stability. Place your dog in the bathtub near the center.

    Step 3

    Spray waterless dog shampoo into your hand and apply it to your pet. Massage it into his fur and down to the skin level.

    Step 4

    Brush the excess dry shampoo out of his fur and then remove him from the bathtub. Rinse any excess dry shampoo down the bathtub drain with water. Vacuum or sweep up any dry shampoo that your buddy shook onto the floor.

    Items You Will Need

    • Dog shampoo
    • Rubber tub mat
    • Large cup
    • Sponge
    • Large towels
    • Space heater (optional)
    • Cotton balls
    • Mineral oil
    • Dog treats
    • Hair dryer
    • Waterless dog shampoo


    • Waterless dog shampoo cleans and deodorizes dogs, although not quite as well as a traditional bath.
    • If you don't have any waterless dog shampoo, sprinkle your dog's fur with baking soda, rub it in, then brush it out to remove odor.


    • If you have a shower sprayer, wet and rinse your dog by holding the sprayer head very close to his fur. Holding it farther away can make more noise and scare him, making baths a trying time for both of you. Never spray water directly on your pooch’s face or in his ears or eyes. Use a sponge to clean his delicate areas to avoid an excess of water.
    • Do not let your pet outside in the cold months after a bath until he is entirely dry.

    Photo Credits

    • Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Mary Lougee has been writing since 2004 and specializes in pets with publications in "Modern Dog" and "Pet Planet." Lougee gained extensive pet knowledge and expertise in care and rehabilitation, built a farm, and cares for rescue animals from small to large. She holds a bachelor's degree in management.

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