Hartz Tips for Bathing Dogs (Even the Ones That Hate Water)

While some dogs take to the water like ducks - leaping off docks, paddling their way after tennis balls or even swimming alongside you - others won't let it near them.

Human hands bathing dog with shampoo suds

When bathing your dog, gently lather your dog’s face and snout, and avoid getting water in the eyes or nose.

Whether you believe in canine hydrophobia or not, there's nothing more frustrating and exhausting than giving an unwilling dog a bath. So if you're attempting to get your pet under the tap or hose, consider some of this advice along the way. Of all the varieties of dog grooming, bathing dogs might be the most uphill of battles, but with a little help it can be a cinch.

  1. Know how often to bathe your dog. Just like in humans, over-bathing a dog can lead to dry skin. A good rule of thumb is to stick to a one to three month plan, or - as some pet owners term it - once for every major holiday. Frequency will also depend on breed and age, however, as well as the obvious factor of how much time your canine companion likes to spend outside.
  2. Start by brushing. Give your dog a once-over with a brush to remove excess fur and hair. Then grab a great dog shampoo and get ready to wash. Use your bathroom tub for big and mid-sized dogs, while smaller ones might best fit the kitchen sink.
  3. Use comfortably warm water. Not hot, not cold, just right. Test it out on yourself beforehand, once the water temperature regulates. If getting your dog into the tub seems impossible, try coaxing with a few treats. Never force your dog into the tub otherwise you'll reinforce the fear of water.
  4. Start with the tail. Begin washing your dog by shampooing and rinsing his or her tail. Work along the body, being sure to gently scrub and never overwhelm your dog with water. If your dog is acting nervous, use a soothing voice and gentle restraint to calm him or her down. Also remember that positive reinforcement helps.
  5. Be slow and careful washing your dog's head. Gently lather your dog’s face and snout, but be very careful when rinsing. Avoid getting water in your pet's eyes or nose by covering these with your hand as you slowly rinse with water. If you get soap or suds in your dog's eyes, gently wash them out with water.
  6. Dry them quickly. It's a rare dog bath that goes by without at least one shake and spray, but as a tip, have towels ready when you turn off the water. The sooner you start drying your dog, the more likely you are to avoid a curtain of water launched in your direction.

Head over to our Bath Time Pets Pinterest Board for a cuteness overload of furry friends who both love and hate bath time.

This content is provided by the pet grooming experts at Hartz. Our professional staff is here to keep you educated on the proper grooming techniques while offering tips to keep your pet happy and healthy.

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