DIY Dog Bath

Dogs deserve to be clean too.
Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Cleaning your dog’s coat with a good old fashioned bath helps remove dead skin, prevent bacteria build-up and keep him smelling fresh. However, bathing him more than once a month may backfire and cause dry skin and itching. While some grooming requires help from a professional, giving your four-legged friend a bath is a do-it-yourself job that may even help bring the two of you closer.

Step 1

Determine the best location for the bath. If your dog is small, the sink will work; however, a bathtub with a rubber mat to prevent slipping may be necessary for larger dogs. If the weather permits, washing him outside is an option.

Step 2

Gather a clean towel and washcloth, dog shampoo, dog conditioner and a large cup. Place the items within reach so you do not have to leave your dog after starting the bath.

Step 3

Wet your dog from the back of his neck down his back using a large cup or sprayer if you have one. Do not pour water directly on his face and ears. Put cotton balls in his ears before wetting him if you feel you may get water in them.

Step 4

Pour a thin line of dog shampoo down your dog’s back. Make sure the shampoo has the correct pH balance for dogs. A dog’s pH is between 7 and 7.4. Rub the shampoo vigorously until foam forms. Add water if his coat dries out or the soap doesn’t foam.

Step 5

Cover his entire body, including his back, legs, chest, stomach and tail with the soapy water while scrubbing gently with the ends of your fingers to remove any dirt from your dog’s skin. Also, make sure you wash his “privates” with the diluted soapy water.

Step 6

Rinse his entire coat with water. Remove all of the soap. Leaving soap may cause irritation that leads to scratching and hair loss. Repeat until the water runs clean.

Step 7

Apply dog conditioner to your pup’s coat that matches his coat type. For instance, if he has long, coarse hair a thick conditioner may be best. Dogs with short hair may only need a light conditioner.

Step 8

Rinse his coat completely until the water runs clear. Wet the washcloth and ring out the excess. Wipe around your dog’s mouth, nose, eyes and ears with the damp cloth.

Step 9

Dry your clean pet with a clean towel. If he'll stand still, use a hairdryer on low setting to finish drying him.


  • Restrain your dog in the washing area or have someone help hold him if he does not stand for bathing. Tying him is an option if he stands calmly and does not pull on his leash.


  • Before bathing your dog, brush and comb him to remove any mats or tangles. If your dog tries to shake, gently hold his nose in your hand. A dog won’t shake if he can’t move his entire head and nose.

Items You Will Need

  • Towel
  • Washcloth
  • Dog shampoo
  • Dog conditioner
  • Large cup
  • Rubber mat for bathtub