Dog Washing

If your dog is in need of a wash, it’s important you know how to groom them in a safe, healthy way...

If you have a dog, it’s important that you know about grooming and bathing care. Bathing and grooming your dog helps keep them clean and healthy but also helps you and your home!

How often you should bathe your dog?

Although the frequency of dog baths varies based on individual dogs, dogs should only be bathed when it’s absolutely necessary. For example, if your dog has an unpleasant odour or has accumulated dirt / mud on their coat, you should give them a bath. If your dog smells normal though, a bath probably isn’t needed.

Washing your dog too much can dry out their skin and coat so make sure you aren’t bathing them excessively!

What type of shampoo should you use?

Your vet can give you specific advice about the best dog shampoo for your breed but you should avoid using shampoo made humans! Dogs can have skin sensitivities at a different pH level to humans. You can also choose to use a dog conditioner after shampooing to combat dryness.

Make sure you test patch a small amount to ensure there’s no reaction or irritation.

Where to bathe your dog.

  • Outdoors - for some dogs (especially big dogs), it can be easier to bath them in the backyard to avoid lifting. You can choose between using a garden hose on low pressure (but check the temperature!) or use buckets filled with warm water.
  • Bath Tub - always supervise your dog and let the water run down the drain so it doesn’t fill up the tub. Flexible shower heads are best - either ones attached to your shower unit or those that have rubber hoses that attach temporarily to bath taps. Always test the water temperature and consider using a non-slip mat to prevent injury.
  • Professional Services – if you can’t bathe your dog yourself, there are lots of dog groomers in NZ that can groom your dog for you. Or you can make use of a local Dog Wash centre that might be in your area.

Tips on how to bathe

Make sure you take things slow and easy to ensure your dog feels relaxed and comfortable.

If your dog has any mats or tangles, give them a nice brush and trim off any knots before bath time. Wet your dog’s hair all the way to the skin. Avoid wetting the head area as dogs are sensitive there. It's often a good idea to use a damp wash cloth for the head. Once the body is wet, apply some shampoo starting from the chest and working your way out. Gently massage the shampoo in and then rinse it out making sure you get through the undercoat. After this, you can choose to condition their coat using the same process, before toweling them off.

Drying your dog

Although your dog will probably try to shake off all the water it’s helpful for you to assist them. Avoid using hair dryers as these can get too hot. It’s better to use an absorbent towel to help them dry off before they air dry naturally as they go through their 'post bath zoomie' routine!

Grooming your dog

The exact process you use is dependent on coat type and length but in general you should brush dogs as required. If there are any tangles, mats, or dullness, your dog might need a brush.

Not grooming your dog can negatively influence their health, as mats and knots can trap moisture and lead to skin irritations and infections. A number of our customers with 'shedding' dogs recommend something like the 'Furminator' style of brush - it can be amazing how much loose hair is removed with one of those!

Trimming hair

Occasionally, your dog may need their hair trimmed. Your vet can show you how to trim your dog’s hair safely or it may be worthwhile to get your dog’s hair trimmed professionally. If you want to try to trim your dog’s hair on you own make sure you use blunt nosed safety scissors and take care when trimming around the eyes.


If nails are getting too long, they can be trimmed. It is best to get some professional advice on this as trimming back to the quick can be a painful experience. Trimming small amounts regularly is always best!

Sometimes, it’s important to see a professional dog groomer for a good clean but most times it’s fine for owners to groom their dogs on their own! If you follow these tips, you can ensure that’s done in a safe way.