Making Bath Time Fun for You and Your Furry Friend

Publish Date April 11, 2023 3 Minute Read
Author Dr. Lisa Harrington DVM

For most dogs, summer time fun equals a good romp in the mud. Afterwards, it’s into the tub! Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Lisa Harrington, gives us some pointers that work well for pointers — plus labs, bulldogs and retrievers, too!


As tempting as it may be to lather up your pooch with your favorite shampoo, Dr. Harrington cautions against it. Shampoos for people (even baby shampoos) can strip away prescription flea products or agitate your dog’s skin. Dr. Harrington also discourages using shampoos with high concentrations of essential oils or flea shampoos because they can be ineffective and sometimes irritating.


Make sure you’re thoroughly cleaning your pup, and really get into those nooks and crannies. “I do recommend washing your dog’s feet and getting in-between their toes,” says Dr. Harrington. As for what to avoid? Steer clear of eyes and ears.


Very hot water may feel good to you, but pups are more than fine with lukewarm. As for drying, a towel is your best bet, although you can use a hair dryer at a no heat or cool setting.

“For most dogs, summer time fun equals a good romp in the mud. Afterwards, it’s into the tub!”


In general, short-haired dogs are easier to keep clean — you can even use a baby wipe to extend the time between baths. As for long-haired breeds, keep an eye out for matting and extra debris. “A thorough brushing before or after bathing when they are dry is really helpful,” says Dr. Harrington. “Matted fur can be uncomfortable for your pet, and can trap moisture, promoting infection.”


Dr. Harrington says she rarely meets a pup that doesn’t enjoy a bath. “Some breeds tend to love water, like retrievers, but all dogs can be acclimated to accept and even enjoy cleaning. Go slow and offer rewards such as praise and treats,” says Dr. Harrington. “Most dogs, no matter the breed, enjoy being rubbed, so make that the main focus if you can. In my experience, no dog breed in particular is as difficult to bathe as a cat.”