How to Wash a Dog Outside

Concrete or paved surfaces are best for outdoor baths.

Concrete or paved surfaces are best for outdoor baths.

Washing your dog outdoors means less mess inside. Also, some dogs find baths less stressful when they're not restrained inside a bathtub. Although summer is the only safe time to wash your dog outside, a little planning can make giving your dog a bath a fun activity for the whole family.

Clip your dog's leash or harness to a tree near the hose. This will help keep your dog in place during his bath. Place cotton balls inside his ears to keep out water, which can cause ear infections. Have the shampoo, sponge and towels nearby before you start the bath so that you won't have to run in and out of the house soaking wet.

Turn the hose on half way to keep the water pressure low, and increase the pressure slowly as you begin wetting your dog. The water will likely be cold, and gradually increasing the water pressure reduces the shock your dog experiences.

Ruffle his hair with your hand as you spray the hose to help saturate his entire coat. Don't forget to spray his underbelly and legs, as these areas tend to be the dirtiest.

Turn off the hose, and squeeze a squiggly line of shampoo between his head and his tail. Massage the coat with the sponge and apply more shampoo as necessary until he's completely sudsy. The thicker and deeper the lather, the more dirt and grime you'll rinse away.

Rinse your dog thoroughly by tussling his hair as you spray the water. Moving his hair around as you rinse will help rinse away any soap residue that could irritate his skin. When rinsing, work your way from top to bottom. Start at his head and back, and work your way down to his belly, thighs and finally, his feet.

Stand back from your dog and allow him to shake off the majority of the water. Walk him to a dry area so you're not kneeling in dirty water, and cover him with a clean, dry towel. Massage his coat vigorously. Dogs with especially long hair or thicker coats may require an additional blowdrying session inside after toweling off.

Items you will need

  • Collar or harness
  • Cotton balls
  • Dog shampoo
  • Sponge
  • Old towel

Tips

  • When you've finished his bath, unclip his leash and walk him immediately back inside. This will prevent him from shivering.
  • Walk your dog prior to his bath, instead of afterward when he's damp.

Warnings

  • Do not wash your dog outside in cool or windy weather. Hose water is ice-cold cold and adding wind or cool air will make the whole experience one that your dog resists repeating in the future.
  • Do not let your dog "air dry" by tethering him outside after his bath. In addition to being uncomfortably cold or hot, slick, wet fur makes it easier for him to slip out of his collar.
 

About the Author

Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.

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