How to Get Your Dog to Love Bath Time & Grooming

Grooming your pup is so important! Whether it’s trimming nails, brushing their coat or teeth, or even bathing, your dog needs proper maintenance to look and feel his/her best. For some dogs, bath time can be a calm, relaxing experience. For others, it’s a nightmare. Try out my tips for getting your dog to enjoy taking a bath and step by step grooming instructions to keep them looking and feeling their best.

Making Bath Time Fun for Your Dog

Bath time should not be a stressful time. However, if your dog was not trained at a young age, they might hate or fear to take a bath. Follow these tips to begin training your dog good, bath time manners, which will make bathing more enjoyable for them and you:

1. Take it Slow…

boxer dog napping relax on towelsIt is going to take some time to get your dog used to taking a bath. No matter what, it is important to have patience with your pet. They will get it. It’s just going to take time.

This also goes for the bath in general. Bath time should be relaxing for you and your pet. Dedicate some time in the early-mid evening to give your dog a bath – right after the last, long walk of the day. You should take it slow and use a calming voice during bath time.

2. Take a Walk!

dog in the city walking with leash in mouth

Taking your pet on a long walk before a bath will calm them down and prepare them for relaxation. Plus, if it’s hot out, your pup will want to take a quick dip.

A good way to get your dog used to baths is making a routine for them. First, pick a route you don’t normally walk, then give your dog a bath right after. Only take that route right before a bath. Eventually, your dog will start to think, “Okay, this is my bath time walk.”

3. Food Helps.

dog treats on the floorKeep treats around for your dog. Give him/her one when they get in the tub. When they stay put when the water comes on. When they get out and dry off. Any time you can give your pet positive encouragement in the bath, give them a treat.

If you are using your shower/bath at home, you can use this neat little trick. Buy some dog-safe peanut butter and put some on a clean wall of the shower. Yea, it may sound a little nasty, but your dog will be so busy with their peanut butter treat, they won’t be worried about the bath.

4. Find the Right Water Temperature

golden retriever taking a bath grooming

Your dog’s skin and temperature are different from yours. Just because you love warm showers, doesn’t mean your dog will appreciate it.

The bath water should always be right around lukewarm – not too hot. not too cold. Check this temperature with your hand before wetting your dog’s fur. You should also periodically check the water temperature during the bath to ensure it’s not too hot or cold.

You may also take external circumstances into account. What I mean by that is, if it’s a hot day and your pup just came in from a long walk, he/she may like the water to be a little cooler. (You’d probably prefer the same, so just take that into account.)

5. Towel Dry

happy dog after a bath with his face wrapped in a towel

I know. It seems so much easier to grab a hair dryer after your dog has had a bath. But, the heat and noise from a hair dryer is just too much for your dog’s ears and skin.

Make sure you have some old towels set aside just for dog baths. They’ll always be dry and you don’t have to worry about wiping down your dog with your best towels if you forget laundry day.

How Often Should I Be Grooming My Dog?

You should not be giving your dog a bath every night. That’s not healthy for their skin or coat. In fact, you don’t need to perform most dog grooming tasks daily. Below is a good example of when you should be grooming on your pup:

Daily: Fur Maintenance

Dalmatian dog getting fur coat brushed groomingFor dogs with medium-long hair, start with a longhaired-dog brush. Brush through your dog’s fur to remove loose hair and prevent matting.

For short-haired dogs, you will want to use a grooming mat or a short-hair brush. This will massage the skin and remove any mites.

Take this time to check your dog for fleas, ticks, mites, and other bugs.

Weekly: Dental Health

golden retriever puppy with tooth brush in its mouthUsing a soft-bristled toothbrush (I use a child’s toothbrush for my dogs) and toothpaste made especially for dogs, brush your dog’s teeth to remove tartar and plaque.

Performing this task weekly will reduce the risk of dental diseases and tooth decay.

Some toys, bones, and treats have been designed to help clean your pet’s teeth too. Make sure to check out our Pet Dental Health Blog for a recipe for all-natural dog toothpaste.

Monthly: Bath Time!

dog after bath time with towel on his head tiled backgroundUnless your dog gets really dirty, you shouldn’t need to bath him/her more than once a month. Both of my dogs are inside, so they don’t really need much more than a monthly scrub in the tub.

Make sure you’re using shampoos that are made for dogs and match your pup’s skin and hair type (long, short, straight, curly).

Use our tips at the beginning of this post to promote good, bath time behavior in your pet!

Bi-Monthly: Nail Trimming

golden doodle nail trim groomingEvery other month, you should make sure your dog’s nails are trimmed. Failure to trim a dog’s nails can make it painful for them to get up and walk around. If your dog is always outside, you may not need to trim as frequently.

If your dog’s nails “click” on hard surfaces like concrete or tile floors, their nails need to be trimmed.

Normally, every two months is great for trimming up your dog’s nails. However, if the quick (the vein running through your pup’s nails) has extended from lack of trimming, you may want to trim every 2 weeks or each month. Make sure you only trim a little bit at a time. Eventually, the quick will recede and you can switch to bi-monthly trims.

Ask the Professionals for Help

veterinarian trimming a golden retriever dog a nail trim in vet office groomingTrimming and grooming your dog yourself can be scary. If you don’t feel comfortable performing any of these tasks, I would recommend finding a local groomer you can trust, like Country Critters.

It may seem like a great idea to grin and bear it, but when you feel nervous, your pet feels it too. It may make it more difficult for the both of you if you attempt to groom your own pet.

It’s always perfectly fine to ask for help when you need it! You and your pet’s health and comfort should be a top priority.

For more pet tips and tricks, visit our Pet Blog Category.