How To Bathe Your Dog Without Getting Scratched

Does your dog resist and scratch you bath it? Are you tired of getting all wet and dirty after your pet takes a bath? Here are some tricks to help you avoid these unwanted behaviors during bath time.

Make Bath Times Quick And Efficient

Scratching is a way for your dog to tell you to stop. Not all dogs like baths and you must accept that, but all dogs need to take a bath. So make bath times fast but efficient. Plan your strategy before you start. 

Most dog owners prepare by starting with the back towards the head, the head, and the face being the last one that often irritates dogs. Use liquid shampoo so it would be easier to lather and apply to your pet’s hair and coat. After the body, start with the legs and feet. 

Use a handheld shower to force water on hard-to-reach areas like the underside, neck, and feet. To make bathing twice as efficient, have someone assist you.  

Use A Leash

A leash will keep your dog from moving. In most grooming stations, dogs are tied to a pole or supported by a brace and a muzzle. 

With a leash, your pet won’t make unnecessary movements and will also learn how to relax while bathing. But this does not mean you can take your time! As soon as your dog is in its leash and tied up safely and properly, start bathing from back to front using liquid soap or shampoo and by using a handheld shower. 

You can eventually loosen the leash or remove it once your dog is already used to bathing. It will soon relax, and this will allow you to make bathing long and more thorough. 

Prep Your Dog Before Washing

If your dog has long or curly hair, then bathing can take a long while, and this can be too much for an impatient dog. What you can do is to brush your dog’s hair before you even start wetting it. After a thorough brush, hair becomes softer and easier to wet and for shampoo to penetrate. 

yorkie sitting on a chair after bath

Also, it is easier to rinse soft hair and will also prevent the build-up of product in your dog’s skin. Use a large comb or a large–bristled brush to prepare your dog before washing. You may also use your fingers to run through its coat, but a brush is better and more relaxing for your pet. It will be more receptive to bathing because it’s relaxed before the procedure.

Prepare Everything You Need 

Another reason why bath times can take longer is that you tend to forget things your pet needs. So before you take your pet inside the bathroom, prepare a shower caddie with all the things he needs like his shampoo, soap, brushes, towels, hair cutting tools, toys, and treats. Place this caddie nearby so you can easily take and use what you need.

Use Warm Water

Warm water is very soothing even for dogs, and if you want your dog to relax during bath time, then bathe it in warm, relaxing water. Make sure that the water is in the correct temperature by dipping your hands in the water bucket or by splashing your hands with warm water from the showerhead.

Keep the water pressure steady. Don’t quickly increase the flow, do so gradually so you won’t startle your pet. And while bathing, talk to your pet, reassure it that he is a good boy/girl for being patient. 

Place A Non-slip Surface For Your Pet

A dog usually panics and is easily startled in the tub or shower area because the area is quite slippery. You can avoid this by placing a non-slip mat on the floor. The rubberized surface also feels great on your pet’s feet, which will also help it relax. 

Protect yourself if your dog is panicky in the shower. Wear an apron and rubber gloves to avoid being splashed on and to protect yourself from scratches.

Ask a family member or a friend that your pet knows and trusts to help you out. And after a successful, scratch-free bath, reward your pet with some of his favorite treats. It will likely associate bathing with his favorite food. 

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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