How to Shampoo a Dog

Expect a good shake afterward.
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If you make doggie bath time a fun, enjoyable experience, your little lady is bound to give you less grief and it’ll go much smoother. So, just brush her out, wet her down, lather her up, rinse the stuff and dry off. Offer some treats and send her on her merry way.

Step 1

Provide a handful of tasty treats to offer your dog for good behavior during her bath. Keep these close and offer them throughout this sudsy experience. Have all of your other supplies at hand, as well.

Step 2

Brush your doggie thorougly before her bath. This will loosen tangles and mats, as well as remove loose hair and dirt. It also cuts down on the amount of wet dog hair that she’ll shed during the bath or shake all over your bathroom walls afterward.

Step 3

Put a rubber mat in your tub or whatever wash bin you’re using for the bath. Fill the tub or bin with warm water. Test the water temperature with your elbow to make sure it's neither too hot or too cold.

Step 4

Lift your dog gently into the tub or bin. If she’s a big dog, encourage her to get in and offer treats when she complies.

Step 5

Dampen a washcloth and wash the face, eyes, nose and ear area.

Step 6

Pour some water carefully all over her body with a bucket or plastic cup, except her head and ears. Alternatively, you can use a sprayer that attaches to the faucet or showerhead, which you can find at pet supply stores. Make sure to wet her thoroughly down to the skin. Squeeze a strip of doggie shampoo along her back and work it into her coat with your fingers. If she’s got a heavy coat, you’ll have to work it in deeply. Start behind the ears and work back to the tail and down the legs.

Step 7

Rinse thoroughly with water. Make sure to get all the shampoo residue out of her coat down to the skin. Keep rinsing until the water comes out clear.

Step 8

Lift her out or coax her out with treats. Dry her off with some nice, dry towels. Use a hair dryer on a low setting, if you prefer.

Step 9

Offer her a nice treat at the end of this bathing session. Be prepared for her to shake, run about and roll on the ground. This is normal.


  • You usually only have to bathe her only once every few months. Over-bathing can dry out the skin and remove the helpful, natural oils from her coat.

  • Use only a puppy or dog shampoo from a pet store or your vet. Avoid human shampoo, as it is not formulated for a dog’s skin, will be too harsh and can cause dry, itchy skin.

  • Don’t force her into the tub, frighten her or punish her. This will only make bath time a scary experience for her and an unpleasant situation for both of you.

  • Placing some cotton balls loosely in her ears will prevent water and soap from entering her ear canal.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog treats
  • Brush
  • Rubber mat
  • Tub or bin
  • Water
  • Washcloth
  • Bucket or plastic cup
  • Dog or puppy shampoo
  • Towels
  • Hair dryer, if needed