10 Dog Bath Hacks For a Stress-Free Bath Experience

. 4 min read

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. Still, that one day a month can be brutal if your dog’s bath time isn’t managed correctly. These dog bathing tips will transform a splashing, scratching nightmare into an easy wash.

One bad experience—accidental scalding hot water or suds in the eyes—can give your dog lasting jitters that are difficult to kick. That’s why.we polled fellow pet parents whose dogs love bath time to steal their smart, surprisingly simple tricks:

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 when he's air-drying post-bath.

2. Go jump in a lake. 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 fills 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 nuclear threat. Looking for a new friend for your dog? Try one of these Tinder-esque apps.

6. Use only lukewarm water. 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.

7. Don't forget the treats. Every unpleasant task is made better with treats. So reward his good behavior after every lather, rinse, and repeat. Pro tip: Wear a kitchen apron with pockets to store the treats (and protect your clothes).

8. Slow and steady wins the bath. If you tend to rush through the task with Olympic-level speed and focus, it could be working against you. If you rush, your dog may pick up on your stress and get stressed himself. Y Slow down, breathe deeply, and give your pup a sudsy massage while you get him clean and shiny!

9. Keep your dog’s ear dry. Do your best to keep soap and water from getting into your dog's ears. They clean themselves naturally and any excess soap and water is not only uncomfortable and distressing, but can sometimes lead to irritation or infection.

10. Keep the suds out of his face. You know how you hate getting soap in your eyes? Yeah, so does your dog. Wash him with shampoo from neck to tail, before giving him a thorough rinse. Then use a damp washcloth to gently wipe his head, face, and chin. Cup his chin in one hand while you wipe with the other to help him feel secure.

And finally, don't be too fussy with trying to towel or blow dry. That instinctual wet dog total body shake is thought to be something he really enjoys. Let him have that; he's earned it. The nearby furniture will dry.

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.