How to Wash a Dog

It’s simple. Really.

First, start with a willing dog.

My dog Bart, is a good dog, 15 lbs. of curly black hair, dark Yoda eyes, and a bark that is like fingernails screeching on a black board.  Luckily he is not much of a yipper.. or a yapper for that matter.  And he is NOT a willing bather.

When this good dog hears the sound of the water running in the tub, he slinks away and looks for a place to hide.   I’m chasing around the house, looking under tables, beds, in closets…’til I finally see those dark eyes staring back at me from his secret hiding place. Then I cheerfully ask, “Ready for your bath?”  I don’t know why I ask, because ONE, he is totally deaf, and TWO, if he could hear me and answer the question, he’d say “Not no, but HELL NO!”

But do not despair, dear reader, because even with an unwilling dog, you can wash him.  It just takes longer and many things – including yourself – will get much wetter. And not wetter with nice clean water, but dog-smell water. Nothing worse than dog-smell water.

Second, you need a tub that can have a permanent ring around it.  If you wash your dog and your kids in the same tub, your kids will either A.) Foment a rebellion if they are the neat and tidy kind, or B.) come out of their bath with a ring of dirt around their waist.  This ring doesn’t come off with normal cleaners.  Check your local pet store. I’m sure for $12.99 they will sell you a special bathtub cleaner for dog dirt.

Third, you have to have DOG SHAMPOO.  Don’t ask me why dogs need to be washed with species-specific shampoo. The pet stores have rows of dog shampoos, at prices we wouldn’t pay for washing our own hair. DON’T use cat shampoo unless you want your dog to do something that dogs rarely do:  hang their head and blush in embarrassment.

You must choose between gentle, avocado-based, moisturizing, heavy dirt, formulated for tiny dogs, formulated for giant dogs, lavender scented, crème or clear… the list goes on.  My recommendation is to pick the cheapest.  But don’t tell your dog that. Even dogs have feelings and are aware of status. If your dog is particularly snooty to what you put on him, get a shampoo created by J-Lo.

The last must-have is towels.  Plenty and plenty of towels.  Preferably ones you don’t ever want to use for anything else except maybe mopping up spilled water or that occasional “accident”. 

By the way (I’m getting off the subject here…), never let your dog tell you he’s had an “accident”.  Accident?  Unless he was driving your car and crashed into a tree, dogs don’t have accidents.  Those ‘accidents’ are all on purpose.  I’m convinced of it.  Watch out for them right after you bathe your dog. It’s the only way a dog can say “F-You after a miserable bath.

Finally, it all comes together.  Tub, water, shampoo, wriggling dog, sudsy dog, dog that looks like it’s been to a car wash but not yet blown off.  Towels, wet towels, wet human, wet bath mat.  Shaking dog, dog droplets all over the bathroom wall, and the final dog race out of that torture chamber still dripping. Soaking human with achy knees and back gets to her feet, knowing she has done her “perfect dog owner” duty.

Meanwhile, the dog tears around the house at warp speed, skidding on the hardwood floor, rolling on the rugs to dry off, or maybe to get that horrible shampoo smell (Yes, even the J-Lo odor) rubbed off. It’s their version of a canine hair-blower. Look out for the crazy-eyed blur when you step out of the bathroom, with an armload of towels.

The question I haven’t asked yet is, “Why Do We Wash Our Dogs Anyway”? Because there is nothing better than a (dry), clean sweet-smelling dog lying next to you on the couch. Enjoy it now; It will last a full 24 hours. 

5 thoughts on “How to Wash a Dog

  1. fun to read. we don’t have a dog but are visiting family in Cape May and the dog Skippy had a big day: he ate 2/3 of the chicken that Joe had shredded from a lot of chicken thighs. Then someone left the gate open and he was loose in the neighborhood…I’m not smiling at him….So i filled out my matzoh ball soup with
    (faux matzoh balls since I could not find the mix i’d brought from KY – for those who’d like to know: Progresso Bread Crumbs work just fine as a substitute…)extra chicken
    from leftover chicken marsala and some salsa from KY )…yum….

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  2. My system is to take the two Labradors (who are ALWAYS SUPER excited to go) to the pond with leashes and a short fat stick. Hold on to one, throw the stick, let the first one fetch the stick from the pond/lake. When first comes back, take the stick, change leash and repeat with second dog.
    After a few repeats with each the job is done and the walk back to house does the air drying. No shampoo, no towels and relatively little wetness on me. The additional drying process utilizes the lush grass to roll in and space to run around and act foolish and happy 😜🤔. We all get great exercise in the process.

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