How to Wash a Dog – Ultimate Dog Washing Guide

There comes a point in time where your dog just flat out stinks and needs a bath. Just like people, this may occur more frequently in some dogs compared to others. For some dogs, they might not take a bath for a month and still smell perfectly fine. For others, it may just take a few days for them to smell bad again. This page will hopefully help you find out what is best for your dog by covering the following topics:

How to Wash a Dog

Obviously the first step in washing a dog is learning how to wash a dog properly. This guide will work for the majority of dogs. If your dog has a medical issue or physical disability, you should check with your vet before giving your dog a bath.

  1. Pick out a spot that is going to provide your dog with enough space. If you have a large dog, you can use your own bathtub or an outdoor location where you could use something like the Booster Bath Elevated Bath Tub. If you have a smaller dog, a sink is fine. Just be sure that the drain is covered so your dog’s paw doesn’t slip in there or get stuck.
  2. Secure your dog’s footing. This can be done using a bath towel or mat. Most stand alone dog bath tubs have a no slip mat at the bottom.
  3. Thoroughly wet your dog across their entire body. Be sure to use lukewarm to warm water.
  4. Cover their ears when wetting the head. You don’t want to get water into your dog’s ears because that may lead to an infection.
  5. Use dog shampoo to clean your dog everywhere. There are many different types of shampoos and you should ask your veterinarian which is best for your dog’s needs. Wash thoroughly using a gentle motion.
  6. Rinse off your dog using lukewarm to warm water. Once you have completely scrubbed your dog be sure to rinse all the shampoo out of your dog’s fur. This may take some time if you have a dog with long hair.
  7. Dry off your dog using a towel or a lukewarm dryer.

Congrats! You have learned how to wash a dog and can hopefully successfully duplicate it every time in practice. Check out this video below for a more in-depth view:

How Often to Wash Your Dog

For most dogs, once a month is the ideal amount of time for a dog to get a bath. If you give a dog a bath too frequently, it can cause skin irritation and lead to lots of scratching. Once a month should be enough to keep your dog clean and not smelling too much. If your dog has a skin condition be sure to consult with your vet to see how to wash your dog and how often to wash your dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions that come in regard to giving a dog a bath. Feel free to ask your question(s) in the comments if you are curious about anything else!

Can You Wash a Dog with Human Shampoo?

No! Human skin and dog skin is very different. The acid in human shampoo is designed to clean your skin based on the pH level. Dogs’ skin generally has a higher pH level and using human shampoo can hurt their skin and lead to unwanted bacteria and viruses.

Can You Wash a Dog with Dish Soap?

You can, but does that really make sense? Using the product that is designed to clean dishes on your dog? There are plenty of shampoos made specifically for dogs. Click here to find our highest recommended dog shampoo.

Can You Use Dawn to Wash a Dog?

If you really want to use dish soap for whatever reason, Dawn is your best option. It is able to take care of the fleas that most other brands are unable to. However, we suggest that you look at dog shampoo to give your dog the best treatment you can.

Dog Wash Tubs and Related Products

If you don’t want to use your bathtub or don’t have access to a bathtub you might want to consider a dog wash tub. These are usually elevated tubs that are portable and able to keep your dog in one place while giving him or her a bath. Here are our top three picks for a dog wash tub:

​Booster Bath Elevated Dog Wash Tub – Large


Our top recommended dog wash tub is the Booster Bath Elevated Pet Bathing Tub – Large. It is a lightweight, two-piece tub that quickly assembles anywhere you need it. The Booster Bath Elevated Pet Bathing Tub features an easy to reach shampoo holder, a no slip rubber mat, a hook for your hose, and many other features. It is for large dogs and supports up to 125 lbs.

Click here to read our full review of the Booster Bath Elevated Pet Bathing Tub

​Flying Pig Dog Washing Portable Bath Tub


The Dog Washing Portable Bath Tub by Flying Pig is another highly recommended dog wash tub. It is designed for small to medium sized dogs and has a maximum weight capacity of 150 lbs. The tub is made out of heavy duty plastic and the legs are stainless steel. It is light weight and portable and fits well in most standard bathtubs.

​Booster Bath Elevated Dog Wash Tub – X-Large


Booster Bath also offers the same product in a larger version – the Booster Bath Elevated Pet Bathing Tub – XLarge. This has the same great features as the original, but it is designed to fit bigger or heavier dogs. The max weight capacity on this version is 175 lbs. You also have the option to purchase attachable stairs into the bath.

Portable Foldable Dog Wash Tub


Although not as popular as the above options, another choice for a dog wash tub is the Portable Foldable Pet Bath Tub. As you can see in the picture, the dog is still on the ground and can walk into and out of the bath. The bath folds up and fits into the including carrying bag so you can take it with you anywhere.

Other Related Dog Wash Tub Products

Bissell BarkBath Portable Dog Bath System

The Bissell BarkBath Portable Dog Bath System is a revolutionary new product designed to allow you to bathe your dog anywhere with virtually no mess. The specially designed nozzles couple water and shampoo under the fur with a soft suction to pull the dirt and water away.

Click here to read our full review of the Bissell BarkBath Portable Dog Bath System

RapidBath Pet Bathing System

The RapidBath Pet Bathing System is a hose attachment that combines shampoo and water. With a press of the handle you are able to get both shampoo and water or each individually. It saves you the hassle and headache of dealing with shampoo bottles. The RapidBath also conserves the amount of water used and cuts down on bathing times.

Martha Stewart Pets Quick Bath


Martha Stewart also offers a similar product to the RapidBath Pet Bathing System. It is called the Martha Stewart Pets Quick Bath. The features are exactly the same allowing for less mess and quick bath times.

Rinse Ace 3 Way Pet Shower Sprayer


Rinse Ace provides an easy to use shower head attachment called the 3 Way Pet Shower Sprayer. It has an eight foot hose that can connect to most shower heads. There is a gentle full spray that is used to rinse the underbelly. A pulsating massage spray that your dog will love. And a concentrated spray that is perfect for targeting specific sensitive areas.

Four Paws Magic Coat Love Glove


Last on the list is the Four Paws Magic Coat Love Glove Dog Bath Massager. This rubber glove slips right and your hand and will feel great for your dog when you rub him or her down during bath time!

About the author



Hello! My name is Mike and I am the owner of I am a pet lover and tech enthusiast who decided to create this site to help out fellow pet owners! If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to use the Contact Page.