How to Bathe Your Pet

How to Bathe Your Pet -


Pets do not usually need frequent bathing – the natural oils in their skin, shedding, a good diet, and their instinctual grooming habits keep them clean and their skin and hair healthy. However, our furry family members sometimes need a bit of extra help. There are times when an excess of hair and unpleasant smells can be a bit overwhelming and a good scrub is the only thing that will make snuggling on the couch tolerable again! Follow these tips when giving your dogs, cats, and other furry friends a good bath.


1. Try to make a bath a calm experience, if not a pleasant one.

Some pets love the water. Some pets don’t. For those who don’t appreciate the  whole soggy business, take extra steps to make bath time a bit more soothing. Make sure all of your bathing supplies and a dry towel are within reach. Water temperatures should be comfortably warm or perhaps cooler on a hot day. Consider having a few treats ready to give your pet throughout the bath. Talk quietly and use your pet’s name frequently for reassurance. Consider placing a rubber mat in your tub to keep your pet from slipping. Ask for help from a friend if you think you might have a hard time keeping your pet safely in the tub.


2. Follow a routine like the one you have when you bathe yourself.

Do what you already know how to do. Use warm water to get your pet wet down to the skin so that they are ready for shampooing. If they can tolerate a “sprayer” like a detachable shower head or garden hose, this may be the easiest way to go. Put the sprayer on a gentle setting. Alternatively, you may use a bucket to dip fresh water and gently dump it over your pet’s back. Use an appropriate amount of shampoo based on your pet’s size and length of hair, then softly scrub it into the hair and skin. Avoid sensitive areas around the face (nose, ears, eyes, and mouth) and be gentle when scrubbing other sensitive body parts. If needed, use a damp rag (no soap) to clean your pet’s face. Rinse thoroughly using warm water so that leftover soap doesn’t irritate the skin.


3. Keep your pet in a warm environment until they can dry fully.

Once she has been rinsed, wrap your pet up in a towel and begin drying. Remember that it is natural for many pets to shake when wet, and unless you plan on preventing this, you may want to keep them in a warm, open area that can stand a bit of a shower! Some pets can tolerate a blow dryer. If you do use one, keep it on a warm (not hot) setting and hold the dryer about ten inches away from your pet. This may also be a good time for gentle brushing, especially for long-haired pets. Never let a wet pet out in cold temperatures, as wet skin and hair make it hard to keep warm.


More tips for how, when, and where to wash your pets:

  • Always allow your pet to remain upright in the bath – don’t force an animal, particularly a rabbit, onto its back, as this is a very vulnerable position and can trigger defensive stress.
  • Healthy pets can be washed as frequently as once a month. Bathing your pet more often than this tends to dry out their hair and skin. If your pet needs special skin care, consult a veterinarian or professional groomer.
  • A very smelly pet may require more than one shampooing. You may also try a vinegar rinse: use one cup of vinegar in one gallon of water and pour it over your pet from the neck down. Rub it into your pet’s hair and skin and dry your pet as you normally would without rinsing the vinegar mixture out of his hair.
  • Pet shampoos of all kinds can be found at your local pet store or found online, such as this organic shampoo on Amazon. Avoid using human shampoos, as these tend to dry out pet skin too much and often have added scents and chemicals that are not good for animals. The exception among human shampoos is unscented baby shampoo, which can be used on many dogs and cats. Dawn dish soap (original variety) has often been suggested as a flea-killing shampoo option for pets.
  • Always be aware of your pet’s individual needs. Some pets have allergies to ingredients in popular pet shampoos (oatmeal can be a challenge for many dogs). If at any time you feel your pet’s safety is compromised, rinse your pet thoroughly, stop the bath, and consult a veterinarian.


Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.

Tips for Housetraining Your Puppy

Tips for Housetraining Your Puppy | #pets #training #dogs


When to start housetraining

Start housetraining your puppy the minute you get home. When you bring your new family member home, put your pup (on a leash) down where you’d like him to go and give him about 10 minutes to go to the bathroom. If your puppy goes, be sure to say something like “go potty” as soon as he starts so that you can use that command in the future. When he’s done don’t forget to praise the heck out of him or her!

Must have: dog crate

Housetraining will be ten times easier if you have a dog crate for your pup! When you’re not watching your puppy put him in the crate and because it’s a small confined area this will become what they consider their home and will likely not have an accident in there unless it’s a real emergency.

The general rule for a dog crate is that they can stand up, turn around and lie down in it easily. However, it shouldn’t be so big that they can go potty in the corner and lie down across the crate. The Midwest Life Stages Crate is great because it comes with a divider so you can use it over the course of the dogs life and just adjust the size and you won’t have to keep buying bigger crates as he grows. Just make sure you get the appropriate size for how big you estimate your dog will be.

Puppies have small bladders

Since puppies are small, their bladders are as well. You also have to keep in mind that not only are you training your dog to do their business outside, you’re also training them how to hold it. If you’ve ever potty trained a child, you understand that the idea of “holding it” isn’t something you’re born with, it’s a learned behavior.

Because puppies (and smaller dogs, too!) have small bladders and aren’t used to holding it, you will have to let them out more frequently at first. My rule of thumb is every two hours is best, at least for the first few days. As your puppy gets good at holding it you can bump it up slowly. Maybe up to 3 hours for a few days, then 4 hours for a few days, etc.

Once your dog is trained he or she should be able to hold it for up 8 hours, depending on the dog. But you can’t expect them to hold it all day. Remember to let your dog out before you leave the house and when you get back to prevent accidents!

Extra tips

  • Always let your dog out 30 minutes after a meal, after a nap, after a bath and first thing in the morning. These are times when they’ll almost always immediately want to relieve themselves.
  • Praise is good when they go where you want, when you want. A small (pea sized) treat the second they finish and some petting is great positive reinforcement.
  • It’s better to prevent than punish. Punishment doesn’t work well with dogs. If you can’t watch your puppy closely, put him or her in their crate to prevent it from happening in the first place.
  • Get used to the signs your dog gives before they go to the bathroom. Most dogs sniff/circle around right before they squat or lift their leg. If you can catch them before the act you can take them outside before they have an accident.
  • If your catch your dog having an accident make a loud noise or clap to startle them and get them to stop. Then silently scoop them up and put them outside to go. They may or may not continue, but if they do, praise as usual.

It takes a while to train a puppy, but the more consistent you are, the better the results! Also check out these great tips for basic obedience training!

About the Author: Aileen is a wife, entrepreneur and animal lover. She lives in a small California town, with her husband and a handful of pets, where she spends her days doing freelance blog design. You can find more at Life by Aileen where she talks about chasing dreams and her attempts at a simpler life or follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.

Featured image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.