How to Bathe a Dog in a Shower
Not everyone has a bath or even a backyard for washing the dog in. Or, maybe your dog doesn't like the bath or risks getting too cold if washed outdoors. Whatever the reason behind wanting to wash your dog in the shower, it is possible to do provided you know the tricks of doing so effectively. You may just find that this turns out to be the easiest and most thorough way of cleaning your dog ever, in which case it'll become your new washing routine.
Checking the Shower
Check the shower first.Is it a safe place for your dog? There should be plenty of space for your dog to move around in and your access to the dog in the shower should be easy. This is one of the great things about using the shower; it's easy to get in and move around your dog in the space, unlike a tub. You just need to be prepared to get as wet as your dog if you do get into the shower.
- The showerhead should one that is handheld (removable from the shower pole), with a flexible cord (hose). This enables you to get the dog to stand and the showerhead can be maneuvered around the dog to wash every part of it.
- If the shower is not a walk-in but is situated in a tub, are you able to lift your dog into it?
- Do you need to add a non-slip surface on the base of the shower?
Remove anything from the shower that might harm your dog.If there is anything at the dog's level, such as a hanging loofah, a shower caddy or the like, remove or cover it to ensure the dog's safety.
Remove anything from the area around the shower that might get wet.Unless it's meant to get wet, it shouldn't be in the bathroom––dogs shake water off, so expect water to go everywhere. You may also accidentally aim the showerhead out of the shower and wet beyond the shower while maneuvering it around, so be prepared.
Consider adding a waterproof seat to the shower, for you.This can make the whole washing process easier if you have something to sit on while washing your dog in the shower. Plastic stools or seating used for older adults showering can be useful.
Preparing for Washing Your Dog
Decide how you will wash your dog in the shower.Will you get in with your dog and wash it or will you wash your dog from the doorway to the shower? This will depend on the size of your dog, its willingness to remain in the shower and your own preferences on getting wet. If your dog is likely to leave the shower (for example, it isn't happy to just sit there or there is no door), you will probably find it easiest to get into the shower with the dog, so you can hold it with ease.
Dress appropriately.You are going to get quite wet, so wear something old that you can remove for washing and drying after the who dog wash is done (for example, shorts and a t-shirt). You may even find it more comfortable to don a bathing suit in order to get into the shower with your dog and hold it, or just be in the shower with a shut door.
Get everything ready before the shower.Have the pet shampoo (and/or conditioning treatment), sponge and anything else needed ready in the shower before your dog even gets in. Set an old bathmat down on the floor and have your dog's towel ready for drying with. With everything in place, you will be able to finish the job and there won't be any need to leave your dog.
Getting Your Dog into the Shower
Call your dog to the shower.If your dog appears hesitant, encourage it with calm talk and pats. You could even put a treat or a food that will make the dog go into the shower they will focus on the food not where it is. However, don't have the water on when the treat is in the shower.
Shut the door or hold your dog.Do whichever works best for you and the dog. Some dogs will stay still, others will want to bolt, so you'll need to work this out for yourself with your own dog's needs (see above).
Show your dog the showerhead and allow the dog to sniff it.Let your dog sniff the shower too. Then slowly turn on the water aside your dog at first. Test the temperature to be sure it is safe for the dog, then start wetting your dog slowly, on the back are first. As you do this, keep talking to your dog, reassuring it that everything is okay. Do everything slowly until your dog is familiar with what is happening and seems comfortable. You aren't washing your dog yet, just getting it used to the showering process.
- Use a gentle sprinkle setting on the showerhead; do not blast your dog with water.
Be prepared for refusal.Not all dogs will appreciate being showered. In this case, you may have to decide to find a different approach to getting your dog washed, or to get your dog familiar with it more slowly. Do not force a scared dog to keep putting up with being showered if this does nothing but frighten it.
Showering Your Dog
Rinse your dog with warm water.Completely wet your dog by moving the showerhead around it, each side, on top and underneath. Be gentle around the face area and anywhere you know your dog to be sensitive. Once your dog is completely wet, it's time for the shampooing.
- Keep checking that the temperature is safe for your dog.
Add shampoo to your dog's fur.Massage the shampoo in thoroughly, following the shampooing instructions. You can use this opportunity to give your dog an extra massage as a reward for good behavior in the shower. This way, your dog will associate the shower with good outcomes!
- Be careful to keep shampoo away from the eyes and nose at all times.
Wash the shampoo off your dog.If you are doing a second shampoo or adding a conditioning treatment, do so but be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Drying Your Dog
Turn off the water.Let your dog shake in the shower to remove some of the water. Many dogs will do this automatically, and it's helpful for removal of some of the water. Then open the door or let go of your dog and lead it to the bathmat for drying.
Towel dry your dog.Wrap the towel around your dog and gently wipe off as much water as possible. Move the towel around your dog to reach all areas as best as possible. Your dog won't be dry but provided as much water as possible has been removed, it won't take long to dry after.
Let your dog dry somewhere warm and clean.If you let your dog outside, be sure it can only access a grassed area and no soil, or your dog will get muddy. If possible, it is best to dry indoors, especially during cold weather.
QuestionHow can I get my dog to calm down when she's in the shower?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMake shower time into a positive experience with treats and praise. Also try sitting her in the shower without using it, stroking her and calming her down, just for her to associate it positively. There are also some products out there like a rubber paw that sticks to the wall which you cover with peanut butter or something similar to take their mind off the fact they are actually in the shower.Thanks!
QuestionCould I use a floor mat if I don't have a towel?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou could, but it may not work as well.Thanks!
QuestionMy dog sheds a lot, what should I do? My mom won't let me give her a bath.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBrushing your dog daily will help with the shedding. For short-haired dogs, I recommend a Kong ZoomGroom. Unlike other shedding removal brushes, it won't damage the skin or coat. For long-haired dogs, using shedding rakes and other grooming tools will help deal with unwanted hair. In the tub, you can use a hair catcher over the drain.Thanks!
- Wash with care. Dogs can stress out and howl.
- If your dog is especially feisty, it may be useful to use a harness for small dogs, attached with suction caps.
Video: How To Bathe Your Dog At Home
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