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Dog groomers can charge a small fortune to wash, dry, clip and style your fur baby — and with good reason. Washing a dog can be an exhausting and sometimes acrobatic experience. Luckily, there is some good news if you are looking to save some money washing your dog at home, but you don’t want to feel like you’ve survived an epic battle afterward. Whether your pup is large, small or somewhere in between, these tips will help you conquer his next bath like a pro.

1. Use the Right Equipment

The right equipment makes a huge difference in how well the bath experience goes. It is a good idea to gather everything you’ll need ahead of time so you don’t have to step away from the tub or sink mid-bath. Here are a few things that will make bathtime easier.

Start with a good non-slip mat. This will make accidents less likely for both you and your pup. You should also have lots of towels on hand. Dog washing is an excellent use for old bath towels. They can be used in the bottom of the tub as a mat as well as for drying your dog — hopefully before he shakes out all the excess water. Then, you can use them to mop up the floor when you are done.

A hand-held sprayer lets you reach every inch of your pet while also ensuring all shampoo is thoroughly rinsed. Dogs prone to rashes or itching may also benefit from a sensitive skin shampoo. Clippers, brushes and scrubber mitts are also excellent tools for bathtime.

2. Make Sure He Is Comfortable

Comfort is king when it comes to giving a dog a bath. Providing a safe and comfy environment means that there will be less wiggling and fewer escape attempts. Keep in mind that some dogs may feel nervous or uncomfortable getting in and out of a big bathtub. If you don’t have a suitable place for baths at home, some pet or farm stores have dog wash stations you can rent. This will allow your dog to easily walk in and out of the tub.

3. Keep a Favorite Toy or Lick Mat Nearby

There is no shame in diverting your dog’s attention away from the bath, especially if it is a stressful experience for him. Keeping a favorite toy or treat nearby can keep him happily occupied while you lather, scrub and rinse. It is also a good way to get nails clipped. Just avoid using anything that will get soggy in the water. Rubberized chew toys and antlers are good choices.

4. Use the Right Towel

The first thing most dogs want to do when they are done being bathed is to get all the water off as quickly as possible by shaking.  One way to quickly dry the dog before using a hair dryer is with a towel designed for dogs.  A bonus for having a towel for your pet is that no one else will accidently use it.

5. Start When He Is Young

the earlier you get your puppy used to a bath, the easier it will be as he gets older (and bigger). So, start as soon as your vet gives you the green light, usually around six weeks or so. Keep sessions short and fun so that he learns to enjoy the time.

6. Brush Out Loose Hair Ahead of Time

Brushing out your pups fur is a must before every bath especially if your dog is the type that requires a haircuts.

Take a few minutes before you turn on the water to remove loose hair. Not only will this make the bath easier, but it will also improve cleanup and potentially save your drains from a major clog. If you have a double-coated dog, you may want to invest in an undercoat brush to remove some of the inner layers too.

7. Enlist a Helper

Giving your dog a bath can be much easier with someone to help you. If you know your dog is usually nervous or fidgety in the tub, ask a friend to help. It will make the whole process go more smoothly for everyone involved, including your pup.

By taking steps to have the right equipment, ensuring your pet’s comfort and enlisting a helper, you can make giving your dog a bath easier and more fun for everyone.

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