How to Bathe an Older Dog

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How to Bathe an Older Dog
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Things You'll Need

  • Several towels, depending on the size of the dog

  • Shampoo for dog's with dry skin

  • Conditioner for dog's with dry skin

  • Dog comb or brush

  • Spray de-tangler for dogs

  • Cup for rinsing

  • Washcloth

  • Hairdryer (optional)


If you take your older dog to a dog groomer, be sure the groomer is considerate of the age and health concerns of your dog.


If your dog has lots of joint pain, give your dog a vet approved pain reliever or anti-inflammatory about 30 minutes before bathing. If your dog is very large, try to find a location to bathe the dog that requires very little jumping or lifting on the dog's part. A tub on the ground that the dog can just step into would work well for this type of dog.

How to Bathe an Older Dog. It's quite the adventure to bathe a dog. It takes a little more planning and care to bathe an older dog. For many of us, our dogs are a part of the family and special attention helps make bathing your older dog an enjoyable event for both you and your prized pooch. Use the following to learn how you can easily bathe your older dog.

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Step 1

Plan the time that you're going to bathe your older or "senior" dog. This needs to be a time that fits into your dog's normal routine. If your dog is usually most active in the mornings, then that's a good time to do the bath. Also, consider your best time. Make sure the bath is at a time that you're not in a hurry and not under a great deal of stress. You need to bathe your dog when you are able to give the attention and care your dog needs for the bath to be a good experience for both of you.

Step 2

Set out all your doggie bath supplies. You'll need several towels, depending on the size of your dog, a comb or brush and your dog's shampoo and conditioner. Older dogs start to have dry skin and their hair or fur is becoming more coarse, so use shampoos and conditioners that ease dry skin and add needed conditioning to their fur. Ask your vet for the best recommendations for your breed of dog. In addition, have a large cup and a soft wash cloth handy to use in the bath.


Step 3

Run the water to make sure the temperature is just right. The water needs to be lukewarm rather than very hot, so not to burn your dog's skin. Put about an inch of water in the tub or sink where you're going to bath your dog. Bring your dog in the area and talk to him, brush him out and give him lots of loving attention. Let him know what's about to take place rather than shocking the dog by plunking him directly in a tub of water.

Step 4

Ease your dog into the water. Talk and stroke your dog while you do this. This is easier, of course, if you have a small dog. Larger older dogs may have arthritis or pain in their joints, so consider this. You might consider wrapping your dog in a towel and lifting them down into the water. If your dog is losing their eyesight, approach the bath by letting them hear the water running and splash a little water so they can hear it. Talk to your visually impaired dog as you place them in some shallow water. The shallow water helps to keep your dog from panicking.


Step 5

Add more lukewarm water slowly. Use the cup and a washcloth to very gently cover the dog with water.

Step 6

Lather your dog with shampoo and gently massage your dog with lots of cleansing suds. Make this a pleasure for your dog. The lukewarm water may ease some of their joint discomfort, so keep talking and a calm soothing voice and your dog will feel like they're in a doggie spa. Use your washcloth to clean around their eyes, inside their ears, under the chin and down the throat.

Step 7

Rinse your dog thoroughly still with lukewarm water. Massage the conditioner down into your dog's coat or fur. This should be pleasurable for both of you. Rinse out the conditioner making sure to remove all the conditioner from underneath your dog's tummy and chest.


Step 8

Towel dry your dog and let them shake out the water. Keep talking to them while you towel dry them off. Use your dog comb or brush to gently brush out their coat. If they still have tangles, use a de-tangling spray. If using a hair dryer, keep it on a low setting so not to burn your dog's sensitive skin.

Step 9

Give your dog lots of praise and maybe even a little treat. With love and care, bathing your older dog doesn't have to be a chore.