If you’re not sure how to give your dog a bath without both of you dissolving into a stress-filled mess, we’re here to help. The good news is that your dog probably needs fewer baths than you think. About once a month is a good baseline for most pups as long as they stay out of the dirt or mud. Still, that one day a month can be brutal if your dog’s bath time isn’t managed correctly. These dog bathing products and our expert tips will transform a splashing, scratching nightmare into a more relaxed experience for you both.
Dog Bath in a Pack
Formulated for cleaning your pup on the go, store these unscented and alcohol-free individual wipes in your bag or car to clean up that lingering dog park dirt.
BarkLogic Calming Coat & Paw Cleansing Wipes
These eco-friendly, cruelty-free wipes are infused with soothing aloe and lavender essential oil that calm your pup while wiping away grime.
PL360 Grooming Wipes
These mandarin-scented grooming wipes are made with plant-based ingredients that are gentle enough for daily use but durable enough to tackle your pup’s muddy paws.
Fresh Dog Dry Shampoo Powder
If dry shampoo is good enough for your daily routine, why not add it to your pup’s? Sprinkle some of this pH-balanced powder on your dog’s coat to soak up smelly buildup.
Eco-Me Dry Shampoo for Dogs
The all-natural ingredients in this powder formula are food-grade and plant-based, gentle enough to freshen any breed’s fur without irritation.
DIY Doggie Dry Shampoo
Try this DIY doggie dry shampoo with ingredients you probably have on hand. Just combine baking soda, cornstarch, and your favorite non-toxic essential oil to freshen up your pup between baths.
Wahl No-Rinse Waterless Dog Shampoo
Made with oatmeal extract to soothe irritated skin, this no-rinse foam formula comes in two scents that leave your pup smelling fresh: coconut lime verbena and lavender chamomile.
Burt's Bees for Dogs Waterless Shampoo
This sprayable deodorizing shampoo is made with apple extract to nourish your pup’s coat and Burt’s famous honey to leave their fur looking shiny and clean.
Vet's Best Waterless Dog Bath
This aloe vera-infused foam shampoo will moisturize your pup's coat. And the formula won’t wash off topical flea control products.
Each scent from this line of natural, conditioning spritzes also treats a different skin concern, including vanilla for soothing itch, eucalyptus for deterring fleas, and green tea for relieving shedding.
Happytails Dry Dog Instant Clean
This kiwi-scented bath replacement spray doesn’t just mask bad doggie smells; it gets rid of them using an all-natural ingredient called ordenone that traps odor-causing proteins.
Pet Diesel Premium Pet Deodorizer
This deodorizing, water-based mist comes in four scents that each contain tea tree oil (which repels insects) and witch hazel (which fights itchy skin.)
If your pup does end up needing an actual bath, try these 7 tips
1. Take a long walk before you wash your dog.
Not only will a walk or workout session tire out your dog, but the water will be refreshing on his coat. A nice warm day is also more comfortable if your pup is air-drying post-bath.
2. Go jump in a lake (or a puddle).
If you've made a habit of steering your dog clear of puddles, ponds, lakes, and lawn sprinklers, it's time to loosen the leash. Bathtime splashes will seem exciting, not threatening when they're used to playing in the water. To make the experience even more fun, try one of these water toys.
3. Consider washing your dog in the sink.
The vast expanse of the bathtub is unsettling to some small dogs. Avoid giving your tiny dog an existential crisis by using a sink instead. He'll feel more contained and secure, and you'll be physically closer to him the entire time.
4. Cue the pre-bath playlist.
Play and cuddle with your dog as the water runs nearby. This allows him to get used to the sound of rushing water while associating it with positive emotions. Music is a helpful antidote to other stresses like separation anxiety too.
5. Invite a buddy.
It's totally counterintuitive, but bathing two dogs together is often easier than one, as long as the other pup likes to bathe. An apprehensive dog will take cues from a calm counterpart and view the experience more as playtime and less as a nuclear threat.
6. Use only lukewarm water.
Dog’s internal temperature runs warmer than ours. Your dog likely doesn't share your preference for a piping hot bath. Start with lukewarm water and only slowly increase the temperature if the dog is clearly cold or shivering. While a scalding hot shower might feel good to you, avoid using super hot water on your pup. They can’t tell you the water is too warm other than by moving away from it. This is not going to help keep your bath easy or low stress.
7. Don't forget the treats.
Every unpleasant task is made better with treats. Use treats as a reward to reinforce the behavior you want in the bath and make the bath more pleasant for your pup. One easy way to do this is to get a LickiMat and fill it with peanut butter, cream cheese or any soft favorite treat. If your pup eats Ollie, or another wet or fresh food you can spread some of their favorite flavor into the mat. If you don’t want to purchase a LickiMat, the next easiest thing to do is go into your kitchen and grab a spatula and spread the reward onto the spatula. Let your pup lick while you work for hands-free treating so you can focus on the bath while your pup enjoys their delicious snack!
So whether you can skip the bath and clean up sans soap and water or you need to do a full spa day, these products and our advice should make the entire experience significantly less stressful for both you and your pup!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.