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Bathe the family dog like a professional groomer with these 7 easy steps

This at-home guide can help any pet owner learn how to give a dog an expert-level bath.

Michelle Martin
for Premier Pet Supply
Make your next dog bath a breeze with these easy steps.

Baths can cause a lot of stress for dogs and their owners. But, as any dog owner knows, baths are important for keeping a dog’s coat clean and healthy — and for getting rid of that doggy odor that can creep up from time to time.

Washing your dog regularly helps to remove loose fur, dead skin and potential parasites. And even though not everyone has the time or resources to take their dog to the groomer, they can bathe their dog the same way professionals do.

Premier Pet Supply offers a Do-It-Yourself Dog Wash at its stores so that people have access to everything they need to bathe their dogs — including shampoo, toothpaste and ear cleaner — without having to worry about cleanup.

Here’s a seven-step process that groomers use to keep a dog’s coat healthy and clean.

1. Remove loose fur

Always brush your dog before a bath to remove loose fur, and if your dog has any matting, cut it off. This not only helps with detangling and deshedding, but it also prevents the matted fur from holding water, which can lead to skin irritation. Plus, brushing gets rid of any extra fur that you don’t want going down the drain.

There are different brushes for different coats. Use a bristle brush and grooming mitt for dogs that have a smooth coat, such as beagles, boxers and Great Danes. During the bath, you can use a rubber brush, which removes excess fur and massages your dog’s skin.

Dogs with double coats — Labrador retrievers, Siberian huskies, Bernese mountain dogs — do well with a slicker brush or grooming mitt. Using an undercoat rake can also help remove loose undercoat fur. And dogs that don’t shed a lot — poodles, Shih Tzus, bichon frises — benefit from a metal comb or slicker brush.

2. Rinse

You should always rinse your dog before applying shampoo — but before you do, consider inserting cotton balls into your dog’s ears. This is especially important for dogs that are prone to getting ear infections.

Use lukewarm water for the bath. Like most humans, dogs do not like cold water from a garden hose, and hot water can burn their skin.

If you’re bathing your dog in a tub, fill a large cup with water and pour it on the dog, repeating the process as needed until its coat is completely wet. If you’re using a hose or hand-held sprayer, keep the flow at a moderate pressure that won’t stress out your dog.

3. Shampoo and condition

Select a shampoo based on your dog’s needs.

Just like humans, dogs can benefit from both shampoo and conditioner. The type of shampoo can vary depending on your dog’s needs — and your scent preference. Choose an oatmeal-based shampoo for dogs that have dry, itchy skin. Deodorizing shampoos are great for dogs that find their way into smelly situations. Flea and tick shampoos are good at keeping parasites away.

And, similar to products for babies, there are even special shampoos for puppies — including those that won’t irritate a puppy’s sensitive eyes.

After you’ve rinsed out the shampoo, follow up with a conditioner that will replenish the natural oils in your dog’s skin.

4. Rinse — and repeat

After you’ve rubbed the conditioner throughout your dog’s coat, rinse it out completely. Leaving any conditioner behind can cause a dog’s fur to feel oily and matted.

For dogs prone to matting, consider applying a detangler. Some can be rinsed out, and some stay on the coat. Be sure to check the label.

5. Blow-dry

After letting your dog shake off some of the water, rub a clean towel over your dog, then use a blow-dryer on the lowest setting.

Keep the blow-dryer at least 6 inches away from your pet, and move it around frequently so you don’t burn your dog. You don’t want to completely dry your dog’s coat: Blow-dry it just enough so it feels damp. When you’re finished, remember to remove the cotton balls from your dog’s ears.

6. Towel-dry

Drying your pet can be fun for both dog and owner.

Once your dog’s coat is damp, use a clean, dry towel to dry the fur. When the towel becomes wet, use another one to soak up any remaining water.

You can also consider wrapping your dog in a towel, which helps to absorb the remaining moisture.

7. Brush

The last step in providing a professional-quality dog bath is the finishing brush, a way to remove any remaining loose fur and bring shine to your dog’s coat.

Use a flat, slicker brush, and start at the back of the head, moving toward the base of the tail. Repeat the process several times while praising your dog. This last step not only feels good, but it also signals to your dog that the bath is over.

If you’d like, use a pet cologne to help ensure that your dog smells nice. Depending on your dog’s temperament, you could also use this time to brush its teeth and clean its ears.

To learn more about how to make your dog’s bath a stress-free experience, or to learn more about the Do-It-Yourself Dog Wash, visit

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