How to Give a Long-Haired Dog a Perfect Bath

Giving a long-haired dog a bath can be a wet and wild experience.
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Giving your dog a bath can be a bit of a challenge, but it gets easier as she gets used to the process. Bathing is a little more difficult with a long-haired breed, since their coats are prone to matting, tangles and extra dirt accumulation that complicate the process. Once you learn what you're doing, though, you can give your long-haired dog a perfect bath, meaning one that addresses these particular problems with minimal hassle. Begin by talking to your vet about how often you should bathe your dog, and what shampoo and conditioner are appropriate for her.

Step 1

Brush your long-haired dog's coat out thoroughly before the bath. Remove tangles, mats, loose hairs and debris as well as you can. You may need to cut out severe matting. This also is a good time for a trim. Stay alert for ticks, splinters or other embedded items hiding under all that hair, and remove any you find with tweezers.

Step 2

Rub some petroleum jelly over any sticky substances stuck to your dog's coat before the bath. Wipe it away gently. Particularly stubborn spots may benefit from being soaked in mineral oil or vegetable oil for up to 24 hours beforehand.

Step 3

Lay a rubber bath mat down in the tub to protect it from getting scratched up and to provide secure footing for your pet.

Step 4

Gather everything you need for the bath so it's readily accessible once your dog is in the water. Put your dog's brush, shampoo, conditioner, towels and other items next to the tub. You'll probably want a smock for yourself, as well; you will get wet.

Step 5

Stop the tub and fill it with about 4 inches of lukewarm water. Close the bathroom door to prevent escapes and put your long-haired dog into the bath tub. Make sure you've removed her collar. If you need one to restrain your dog, use one made of nylon or another water-safe material.

Step 6

Wet your dog's skin and coat thoroughly using a detachable shower head, a spray attachment or a pitcher, Be careful not to spray her face directly.

Step 7

Lather your pet's coat with her shampoo as per the bottle instructions. Begin on her head and work your way down and back. Don't get shampoo in her eyes, nose, mouth or ears. Comb out her long hair with your fingers as you wash her. Be sure you cover her hair all the way down to the skin.

Step 8

Rinse your dog's skin and coat thoroughly with clean lukewarm water using the shower head, spray attachment or pitcher. Comb through her hairs with your fingers as you rinse to ensure the water gets all the way down.

Step 9

Apply your dog's conditioner according to the label instructions. Rinse her thoroughly again, unless the product is a no-rinse formulation.

Step 10

Dry your dog gently with towels or a blow drier. If you use towels, wrap them around her and use blotting motions to soak up extra water; don't rub her with the towels, as this will tangle her long hairs. If you use a blow drier, keep the heat setting low. Just get your dog mostly dry; she can air-dry some, too.


  • Brush your dog's coat daily. This is an important part of grooming and care for a long-haired breed, and it makes things much easier on you and your pet when bath day comes around.

  • If you have large cotton balls, put them in your dog's ears to protect them from shampoo and conditioner. Make sure they're big enough that they won't get into the ear canals.

Items You Will Need

  • Brush
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers and file
  • Rubber bath mat
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Towels
  • Smock
  • Detachable shower head, spray attachment or pitcher