How To Bathe Your Dog

Let us educate you on the finer points of dog-bathing for the next time Spot comes home smelling of sewage and rotten birdseed.


Up next in Dog Care & Grooming 101 (51 videos)

Become an expert in the care and feeding of Fido with the advice in this Howcast video series. You'll learn how to give your dog a haircut with clippers; get rid of fleas; get skunk smell off a dog; clean your dog's ears, help an aging dog; put your dog on a diet; make your own dog food and treats; massage your dog; trim your dog's nails; clean his teeth; give him a pill; and much more.


You Will Need

  • A tub, sink, or basin
  • A spray hose or a large plastic pitcher
  • Dog shampoo
  • A washcloth or sponge
  • Cotton balls
  • Towels
  • And a dog brush
  • A collar
  • And a human helper


  1. Step 1

    Prepare a bath

    Prepare a bath by adding three to four inches of warm water to the tub, sink, or basin.

  2. Line the tub with a towel to keep the dog's feet from skidding.

  3. Step 2

    Put dog into bath

    Put the dog into his bath. He will likely resist, so stay firm.

  4. Step 3

    Wet your pet

    Use a spray hose or a large plastic pitcher to thoroughly wet your pet. Be sure not to get water directly in the dog's eyes, ears, or nose.

  5. Leave your dog's collar on to help you hang on to him if he tries to flee. Another pair of hands will also help if your dog is especially large or wriggly.

  6. Step 4

    Massage in shampoo

    Working from head to tail, gently massage the shampoo throughout the dog's coat.

  7. Speak soothingly to your dog while you're working, to help calm him down.

  8. Step 5

    Use sponge or washcloth

    Use the sponge or washcloth on the dog's grimiest areas—his underbelly, the insides of his legs, and of course, that ever-wagging tail.

  9. Step 6

    Rinse him off

    Using the hose or pitcher again, rinse him off. Take care to do so completely—dried shampoo can seriously irritate a dog's skin.

  10. Step 7

    Check inside ears

    Check the insides of his ears. If necessary, clean them gently with dampened cotton balls.

  11. Step 8

    Dry him

    Dry him as much as possible with a clean towel.

  12. No matter how dry you think you've gotten your dog, be prepared: he'll shake himself like mad the minute he gets a chance!

  13. Step 9

    Brush dog

    Give your dog a quick brush to release any small tangles, and then set him free. He'll probably go roll around in the dirt to celebrate.

  14. Portuguese water dogs were originally bred to herd schools of fish and retrieve broken nets from the sea.