Top Tips: Washing Your Dog

How to wash a dog

Generally speaking, dogs only need to be bathed when necessary. If they have accumulated dirt on their coat or they have an unpleasant odour that won’t go away, then it might be time for a good scrub and clean.

Bathing helps to remove excess hair, scale and debris and improve the shine to your dog’s coat.

RSPCA Pet Insurance has put together a comprehensive Ultimate Guide to Grooming and Bathing Your Dog for a step by step guide and below are few tips to help you get started.


Establish a positive connection with washing time for your dog. Figure out the washing area that best suits your dog. It could be a bath or dog tub, in the backyard or the laundry. Never force your pet-pal and calmly move them to the washing area.


Before you begin to bathe your dog, brush their coat to remove excess hair and any knots that are present. Matted hair holds more water, so brushing allows your dog to have a smooth coat for washing. It will also help them dry quicker!

Water Temperature

Use lukewarm water to wash your dog and always test it on your hand first. If you’re washing your dog in the bathtub, then regulating the water will be much easier than using the outside hose. For larger dogs, where outside washing is the only option, fill buckets with water of a suitable temperature to ensure your canine friend has the best washing experience.

Wet Your Dog Well

Once the water temperature is right, wet your dog all over but avoid getting water into their eyes and ears. It’s best to use a damp face washer to clean around your dog’s eyes, ears and mouth.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Only use a shampoo that is suitable for your dog. Some dogs have more sensitive coats than others, so be sure to speak with your vet about the best shampoo and conditioner. When massaging shampoo into the coat, begin at the neck/chest area and work your way down to other areas of the body such as the legs and tail area. Gently use your fingers to work the water through the coat to rinse out the shampoo completely. Repeat this step with dog suitable conditioner, if using.


Towel dry your dog to remove most of the water and then allow them to air dry.

Reinforce Positive a Washing Experience

Throughout the washing process, speak calmly and in a normal tone to your dog. Reassure them. After the bath, give your pet a treat as a reward for their cooperation.

Engage a pet sitter to ensure your dog gets the personalised care and attention they need while you’re away.