How to Wash Your Dog for First Time Pet Owners

Have you just brought your first dog home, or do you want to make sure you’re caring for your furry friend in the best way possible?

Few loyal companions are quite as amazing as our 4-legged friends. But just like with humans, washing a dog every time they get muddy or mucky is not the best idea!

You want to make sure you’re not causing any abrasions or break-outs on their delicate skin by constantly stripping them of their coat.

Of course, you also want to know how to wash a dog in the right way since washing the dog is always a great bonding experience for dog owners.

Here’s how to wash your dog like a seasoned pro!

Determine Your Puppy’s Coat Type

First-time pet owners must determine their puppy’s coat type before beginning the process of washing their pup. These coat types are smooth, broken/long, curly, and double/long/woolly. 

Short-haired breeds require the least maintenance and brushing, while long-haired breeds need regular grooming to prevent matting and tangles. Wirehaired breeds need regular brushing with a pin brush, slicker brush, and undercoat rake. Double-coated breeds need regular grooming to keep their coat healthy and free of mats and tangles.

Get The Water To The Right Temperature

It is important to get the water to the right temperature. Begin by filling a large tub or sink with warm water that is no more than 3°C warmer than the dog’s normal body temperature. This can be ensured by checking the temperature of the water against your inner wrist before adding your pet.

The water should feel warm but not too hot to touch in order to protect your dog’s skin. You may want to hold the dog or even have someone help you. As you continue to bathe your pet, you may need to adjust the water temperature as the activity progresses.

Place Your Puppy In The Bath

For first-time pet owners, the thought of washing their pets can feel overwhelming. Ensuring a successful washing experience begins with finding the right location. Place your puppy in the bath the same way you would a small child, and let your pet feel safe and secure.

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Enlist the help of a friend if necessary. Before using shampoo, consider a tearless pet or a gentle baby shampoo. Washing from the neck down and avoiding the eyes and ears as these can be overly sensitive and easily become irritated.

Once you have finished, make sure to thoroughly rinse off the soap and dry them off. Offer plenty of praise and rewards to help make this an enjoyable experience.

Distract The Puppy With A Tasty Treat

Distracting the puppy with a tasty treat is a great way to make washing your dog easier, especially as a first-time pet owner. Give your puppy a few treats and keep one ready, which will serve as a distraction. Place the pup in the water and gently rub the shampoo into its coat, being sure to avoid its eyes, ears, and mouth.

Once the shampoo is thoroughly lathered, give them treats and rinse it off with a cup or sprayer. Once their coat is cleaned, rinse out the conditioner and give them another treat. Towel or air dry their fur, give them one last treat, and they’re all done!

Slowly Soak Your Puppy’s Coat In Warm Water

Start by slowly soaking their coat in warm water. Have a designated bucket or bathtub filled with warm but not hot water that covers your dog up to the chest. Use a cup to scoop water over your dog’s back, ensuring they avoid their eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Allow your pup to get used to the water before continuing.

Prepare The Shampoo

Pet owners preparing to wash their dogs should start by gathering all the necessary supplies they will need to complete the task. Here, shampoos seem to be the centerpiece, so it is very important to consider what type of shampoo to choose.

Ideally, opt for a mild, pH-balanced shampoo specifically made to be gentle on dogs. It is possible that the dog may have sensitive skin, so a medicated shampoo may be needed to address any skin issues. Additionally, it is a good idea to gather a pair of rubber gloves, a pitcher, warm water, a washcloth or sponge, and a couple of large bath towels.

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Don’t Forget The Conditioner

If you are unsure how to wash your dog, keeping some key points in mind is important. First, use a shampoo specifically designed for dogs. This will help protect their sensitive skin and keep their coat looking its best. When rinsing the shampoo, make sure you get all of it out. Next is the conditioner.

This will help keep your pup’s coat smooth, shiny, and tangy-free. Remember to use a conditioner specifically designed for dogs, as well. After completely rinsing out the conditioner, you can finish with a warm water rinse. However, remember that the best way to keep your pup clean is regular brushing and a rinse of water in between baths to wash the dirt away. 

Massage Time

First-time pet owners should approach washing their dog with a careful and gentle massage. After brushing their dog to remove any tangled fur, fill a basin with lukewarm water and place a non-slip mat in the bottom. Place the dog into the water, and gently massage its fur, being careful only to submerge them to its abdomens. 

Avoid getting water in or near their ears or eyes. Gently massage their head and body with a soft, absorbent towel to dry. If a blow dryer is used, ensure the air is low and not too hot. Giving your dog a massage while you are washing them can help to soothe and relax the animal and make the process go smoothly.


Rinsing your dog is the essential last step in washing your dog.  Rinse your dog’s fur in small sections, starting from the head and going down the body and legs, to ensure all shampoo is dialed off.

Do this until you start to feel the fur getting thicker and smoother again. Your sudsy dog should then be completely rinsed, leaving a refreshed dog. Avoid becoming lazy, and make sure to rinse your pup thoroughly. Not thoroughly rinsing the shampoo can cause skin irritation and dryness due to the residue. Make sure water does not get into your pup’s ears!


For first-time pet owners, dry bathing is a great way to keep their pup’s fur clean and free from dirt and debris. Start with a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any excess fur. This will help reduce shedding, improve air circulation, and make it easier for the shampoo and conditioner to work. 

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Be sure to get down to the skin. Leave it to absorb for 5-10 minutes before wiping it off with a damp cloth. Finally, use a towel to dry off your pup and brush out any knots and tangles. Make sure to eliminate any mats or tangles before the bath since they can make the bathing process more difficult. Dry bathing is a great way to keep your pup clean without having to get them wet or deal with an easy-to-handle grooming salon.


When washing your dog, brushing is an essential part of the process. Start by selecting the right brush that works best for your dog’s coat. Depending on the coat and the shedding of the fur, different types of brushes, such as soft and firm bristle, slicker, or pin brushes, can help to detangle, remove dead fur and dirt, and spread shampoo throughout the coat.

Brushing should take place before the bath since dirt and residue on the fur can lead to skin irritation when scrubbing. During the brushing process, be sure to gently massage the skin in circular motions to promote blood circulation and increase relaxation for your pet. Take your time and be gentle and patient to give a stress-free experience for your dog.

Maintaining a Bathing Routine

For first-time pet owners, bath time can be a daunting process. An important part of keeping your pup healthy and happy is to make sure you support a routine bathing schedule. Start by summoning your furry companion to the bath area by offering them treats or toys, and make sure that the area is safe and comfortable. 

Make sure to pay special attention to the areas between their paw pads, tail, and especially their ears to prevent any irritation or bacterial build-up. Now that you know how to use the self service dog wash, give it a try and pamper your pup.

Wash Your Dog Properly

Overall, washing your dog can seem like a daunting task at first, but with the proper supplies and care instructions, it can be a manageable process. Remember to always check with your vet first on which product should be used for your pup. So, pet owners, get out those pet shampoos and start pampering your furry friend!

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