5 Steps to Give Your Dog a Bath

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Bathing will make mats or knots even worse, so make sure they’re gone before you start the bath. (By: dafe)

You may need to bathe your dog on occasion. The main thing to remember is that dogs’ skin is more delicate than that of humans. It is much more prone to drying out when you wash it.

Human-based shampoos are formulated to remove all the oils. You need to get one formulated for dogs that will remove dirt but not the essential oils for the coat. Dogs who are frequently bathed may require some supplements (such as Linatone or vegetable oil) to keep their skin and coat healthy.

A condition called impetigo may result from not rinsing all the soap out. Other general problems, such as fleas that prefer dried-out skin, may occur.

Instructions for Bathing Your Dog

  1. First, groom your pet to rid the coat of any mats or knots. Bathing will not remove these and in fact will worsen them.
  2. Plug your dog’s ears with cotton to prevent water in the ears. To prevent soap-burn in the eye, smear the eye area with a little vaseline, or administer a drop of mineral oil in each eye.
  3. Wet your dog thoroughly. Using a nozzle and spray is much easier. Using a shampoo formulated for dogs (the pH balance of human shampoos is wrong), lather and rinse the dog’s head carefully, keeping soap and water out of the eyes and ears. Lather and rinse the rest of the dog’s body. Re-lather and rinse any other areas that had stubborn stains.
  4. Rinse your dog thoroughly, and then rinse again, even beyond when you think you’ve got all the soap out. Try adding Alpha Keri bath oil (one teaspoonful per quart of water) to the final rinse for coat luster. Do not use vinegar, lemon, or bleach rinses — they are acidic and will damage the dog’s coat and skin.
  5. Dry the dog gently with towels, and keep your pet indoors until completely dry to avoid chilling.

Dry shampoos

Dogs with very oily coats may benefit from “dry cleaning” in between baths.

Calcium carbonate, talcum/baby powder, Fuller’s earth, and cornstarch are all effective. You can use them frequently without fear of removing essential oils or damaging the coat and skin.

Apply the powder, then brush out against the lay of the hair, from the bottom up (toes to head), with a soft bristle brush. Then brush the whole dog normally to get all the powder out.


Do not use petroleum solvents, which are extremely harmful, to remove the tar from your pet’s skin. Instead, trim away excess coat containing tar where possible.

Soak remaining tarry parts in vegetable oil overnight and then give your dog a complete bath.


Sap (especially pine tree sap) often must simply be trimmed off. However, some people have had success with Murphy’s Oil Soap.

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