How to give your pet a safe bath

While most pets do not enjoy a bath or cleaning, it is necessary for the ongoing health of your pet. It can minimize shedding, reduce allergies, keep your pet healthier, and decreases the chance of infection in your home and your pet. Keeping bath time positive is key, and learning a safe way to make it go as fast as possible is best for everyone. Here are some ways to avoid common bath time mistakes.


It’s important for your pet’s health to brush them a couple of times a week if they have mid to long fur. Brushing can get painful if your pet’s hair becomes matted or tangled. For some breeds that have double coats, it can be helpful to brush them when their coat is wet and shampooed. Talk to your vet about what tools are best for keeping your pets coat healthy.

Water Temperature

If you’ve ever been in the shower when your hot water ran out, you know how awful this feels. Your pet feels the same way. Try to keep the water at a lukewarm temperature, neither too hot or too cold. If the water is too far one way, it could cause your pet stress. Test the water first, if it’s too hot or cold for you, chances are your pet feels the same way.


Ever noticed that some shower heads, or settings actually hurt your skin? Well your pet feels the same way. Don’t use the power nozzle on your backyard hose. Would you like that? Try using a handheld shower head or more gentle nozzle if you have one. The sound of the water, and the feel of the harsh pressure is enough to freak your pet out, so try to reduce those fears by eliminating them.

Another way to lessen the effects of sharp spray, is to let the water hit your hand before it hits your pets back. Let the water run off your hand onto their body.


Never use your own shampoo on a pet, even it if claims to be all natural or a mild form for children. Most human shampoo’s will dry an animal’s skin out. Find a shampoo brand that is specifically formulated for dogs or cats. Oatmeal shampoos are also a great option for pet’s skin. If your pet has a skin condition, it’s best to talk to your veterinarian about a medicated shampoo and what might work best for your pet’s needs.

Washing technique

Don’t rub soap in and then leave your pet to soak, this won’t get dirt out. The best way to give a pet a bath is to spend at least four minutes massaging the soap into your pet’s fur. Don’t forget to wash legs, tails, in between their toes and the pads of their feet. Be careful around your pet’s face, perhaps use a washcloth to avoid getting soap in their eyes. Be watchful for getting water into your pet’s ear to prevent ear infections.

Rinse your pet from the top down, until the water is clear of suds. Leaving traces of soap on a pet can create even more skin problems.


Be sure to have a drying plan, before you start bath time. No one wants a wet dog or cat racing through the house. Be sure to thoroughly dry your pet with a towel.

Even though professional groomers use blow-dryers, you should never use yours on your pet. The temperature differs too much, and you run the risk of burning your pet’s skin. Most animals are also very scared of the noise.