How to Bathe a Short-Haired Dog

Short-haired dogs shouldn't be bathed too often.
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It's easier to bathe and groom a short-haired dog than a long-haired one, but you still have to do it. Even a short-haired pooch should get a good scrub once every three months or so, but with that short coat, the bathing process shouldn't take long.

Step 1

Brush out your dog's coat before the bath. Just because she has a short coat doesn't mean that she doesn't shed, and you don't want a massive clump of dog hair clogging up your bathtub drain. Use a brush appropriate for her fur type: short and smooth coats require a rubber brush and then a bristle brush, while short and dense coats should get a slick brush before a bristle brush.

Step 2

Fill your tub up to about doggie knee-level with warm water. Using warm, not hot or cold water, makes the bath much more pleasant for both of you, and gets her cleaner without irritating her skin.

Step 3

Rinse your dog off from head to tail by filling a cup with bath water and pouring it over her coat. Don't get any in her face -- eyes, ears and nose are off-limits.

Step 4

Squirt some shampoo into your hands and work it into a lather, then lather it into your dog's coat. Don't forget places like the legs, underside and tail. If you're using medicated shampoo, let it soak in according to the instructions, usually for five to 10 minutes. When massaging the shampoo in, be gentle, as many dogs with shorter hair -- like bulldogs and pugs -- also have sensitive skin.

Step 5

Pour warm water over your dog, working from top to bottom, to rinse her off. Because even a short-haired coat can be thick and trap the suds, pour water with one hand and massage out the shampoo with the other hand. Repeat until her coat rinses clean.

Step 6

Bring your dog out of the tub and towel dry her. Unlike with long-haired dogs that may need blow-drying, your short-haired buddy will be just fine with a towel dry. If she has thick, dense hair, you may need to brush it as you towel dry to prevent it from matting or tangling.

Step 7

Clean your dog's face, which you should do at least three times a week already. This process varies a bit from breed to breed. For example, with a pug or another short-hair with a wrinkly face, use a moist cotton swab to clean out the areas between her facial folds. Other short-haired breeds may be prone to tear staining around the corners of the eyes, which you can erase with special solutions from the pet store.

Step 8

Clean out her ears, which you should also be doing three times a week. If the ear appears relatively clean, simply wipe it out with a damp cotton ball. If there is a visible buildup of debris, however, squirt a bit of store-bought ear-cleaning solution into the ear and gently massage the ear from the outside to loosen the debris, then wipe it out with a cotton ball.


  • Never stick a cotton swab directly into the ear canal.


  • Unless she gets noticeably dirty, don't bathe your dog more than once every couple of months. Short-haired dogs in particular rely on the production and buildup of natural oils to protect their relatively exposed skin from parasites, and over-bathing can strip those healthy oils and leave her vulnerable.

Items You Will Need

  • Coat-specific brushes
  • Dog shampoo
  • Cup
  • Towel
  • Cotton swabs
  • Cotton balls
  • Ear-cleaning solution
  • Tear stain remover