Bathing Dogs And Cats

  • by Nick de Wit
Bathing Dogs And Cats

The number one rule for bathing a dog or a cat is to be prepared…be prepared to get soaking wet, be prepared to clean your entire bathroom or outside area afterwards and be prepared to get “attacked”. Just know that they will shake water all over you no matter how you try and prevent it from happening.

Also be prepared to have a happy, clean and healthy pet! A loving and caring owner spends a lot of time with their pets in their homes and even in their beds. By keeping your pets clean and healthy you can help stop the spread of germs in your home, especially if you have babies or toddlers. 


Bathing your dog

Pets, much like people, have different skin and hair types which will influence the decisions of the shampoo to purchase. 

It is recommended that dogs, who don’t have any underlying skin conditions, should be bathed once or twice a month at the most with either dog or baby shampoo.

If your dog suffers from certain skin conditions, your vet may prescribe a medicated shampoo to wash more frequently.

Please ask your veterinarian for advice and recommendations.

There are many types of shampoos available, choose one that will suit your dog whether it be for a puppy, an adult dog or a dog with a skin condition.




Dogs suffer from dry skin should not be bathing too often as it strips their skin of its natural oils. You can help the conditioning of their skin by adding supplements to their diet, such as efazol.

Coconut oil is also a good alternative to help with dry skin. Using it topically has been known to help skin conditions like hot spots, bites, stings, itchiness or dry skin. Shampoos made with organic oils such as coconut oil can improve damaged skin and reduce allergens. You can even make a paw balm with coconut oil. If you apply coconut oil topically, rub a small amount onto your hands and then gently pat your pet’s coat, run your fingers through their fur and massage it into their skin. Coconut oil can also be used orally. Start slowly and increase the amount you give your dog gradually. You should consult with your vet for more advice on how often to give your dog coconut. 




Dry shampoo is a great alternative especially during colder weather. But nothing beats a good bath with shampoo and water! 

Bathing your cat

Cats wash and clean themselves all the time, but they do need a bath every so often. This will differ from cat to cat, but generally they should have a bath a couple of times a year.

Similar to dogs bathing a cat too often can strip them of their natural oils, leading to skin irritation and even certain skin diseases. 




If your cat is a lazy groomer and you need to bath them, there are specific shampoos for cats. An excellent option is dry shampoo which is easy to use, especially for those cats who really hate water. It leaves them feeling fresh and smelling great!

Cats on a good high quality diet tend to have good skin and a nice soft shiny coat without much effort or bathing from you.

Ready, steady go: If you have children get them involved as bathing a dog and especially a cat is not the easiest task and a little help makes it easier and a lot more pleasant.

When bathing your pets, preparation is key!

Get everything ready before you even attempt to get them into the bath, you really don’t need to dash off to get a towel or anything else while the bath is in progress, you will regret it! 

Run the bath with warm, not hot water. Much like bathing a baby the temperature of the water should be around 37 degrees Celsius for most medium to large pets. Temperatures can be reduced for older and smaller pets, as they are less tolerant to heat.

Get the shampoo bottle ready, even open the lid. 

Have towels ready, remove anything from around the bath that could get broken.

Do not wear your best clothes!

During summer it is easy to wash your dog in the garden as cold water is a perfect and fun way to get your dog’s use to water, make it a game!




Involve the whole family, you may as well bath the kids at the same time.

Before washing your dog brush their hair thoroughly. This will make the post bath brush a lot easier.


Gently wet your dog and apply a suitable amount of your selected shampoo on to your dog’s back, then with a massaging action gently wash their legs, tummy etc.


Massage the skin against the direction of the hair growth.


Leave their faces until last, wiping their face with a soft cloth, gently cleaning around their eyes and ears. 

Once you have a very soapy and washed dog, start rinsing from top to bottom, gently lifting and rinsing all their fur.


It is exceptionally important that you rinse your dog thoroughly as shampoo residue can cause certain skin irritations.

Now you have a sparkling clean very soggy and wet dog.


In summer most people let them run around and dry in the sun but in winter it is recommended to towel dry and even use a hair dryer.

Some dogs don’t like the noise of a hair dryer, if you think your dog is too stressed then it’s good old fashioned towel drying for you!


You are not quite finished yet, once your dog is dry a really good brush is needed.

Gently brush your entire dog getting rid of all the loose hair and knots.


You did it! Well done!

You now have a happy and clean pooch, until they roll in the nearest mud puddle in your garden!

Bathing a cat is a little trickier, basically use the same technique as you do with your dog, except you need six arms to get this task right.




Have treats ready to spoil your cat with after their “traumatic” bath, they usually sulk for a while but before you know it they are back to normal again.

Be gentle, be kind and be reassuring. Talk to them to help them stay as calm as possible.

Any activity you do with your pets, even bathing them, builds your unbreakable bond and although some pets are a challenge to bath the rewards are worth it! 

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