How To Wash A Dog Without A Bathtub? [Steps]

Ahhh….bath time! Any dog parent knows that bath time for a dog most likely means bath time for themselves too. It is darn near impossible to wash your dog without becoming completely soaked yourself! 

If you’re lucky enough to have a bathtub at home, good for you. It is easy enough to carry or coax your pooch into your tub with the showerhead and shampoo in hand. 

how to wash a dog without a bathtub
How to wash a dog without a bathtub? [Steps]

However, if you don’t have a bathtub, what now? Surely using your shower isn’t the only way forward?

How To Wash Your Dog Without A Bathtub? 

Fret not! There are a few things you can do if you don’t have a bathtub. 

1. Invest In An External Doggy Tub 

If you don’t have a tub and don’t want to bathe your dog indoors, you can always invest in a doggy tub just for your pooch.

First, make sure the tub is the right size for your dog. You don’t want your dog to be too small or too big for the tub. Second, fill the tub with warm water. You don’t want the water to be too hot or too cold. 

Third, put your dog in the tub and start washing them. Be sure to use a mild soap that won’t irritate their skin. Fourth, rinse your dog off thoroughly, then dry off your dog with a towel. Voila! 

External dog tubs are fast to set up and is ideal for this process. When you’re done, rinse your pet tub and put it away for the next time. Simplicity attracts dog owners when looking for an outdoor solution.

Havanese in external bathtub
Havanese will take a bath in an external bathtub.

2. Use A Hose Outdoors

Traditional hoses work well and provide enough versatility to wash your door outdoors in the yard. All you have to do is take the traditional hose already installed in your house and use it to wash your dog. You don’t have to go out and bring another extension or attachment.  

Washing your dog with a hose is a great way to get them clean. The water pressure from the hose will remove all the dirt, mud, and grime from their fur, at the same time, cooling them off, especially on hot days. 

Just make sure you don’t point the hose directly at their face, and start with their feet and work your way up and you’ll have a clean dog in no time. 

When washing a dog, it is important to note that the hose needs to be accessible from all sides. If the hose is not long enough, it needs to be adjusted. 

spraying water
Spraying water outdoors.

3. Washing Your Dog In Your Shower 

If all else fails, you can always wash your dog in your own shower, the same way you have a bath. While this might not be feasible with larger dogs because of space constraints, this would be fine for the smaller dogs, especially if your showerhead has decent pressure.

Just remember to make sure that the doors to the shower are closed to minimize water getting out. Bathing your dog can be a messy affair! 

Pitbull puppy bath
Pitbull puppy having a shower in the bathtub.

Steps On How To Wash Your Dog Without A Bathtub 

Regardless of where you wash your dog, your bath preparation is likely to be relatively similar.

1. Give Your Dog A Thorough Brush 

Use a slicker brush and remove all the loose, dead hair that will clog your drain pipes. For thick, double-coated dogs, think about using an undercoat rake to be even more effective. 

hand brushing chihuahua
Hand brushing a Chihuahua’s white coat.

2. Prepare The Supplies 

Have all your bath supplies on hand and in easy reach. Nothing is funnier (but also annoying!) than you having a dripping wet, soapy dog waiting while you run for the conditioner or towel. Place anything you’ll need like the shampoo, towel, brush, and treats all within easy reach.

dog grooming products
A dog wrapped in a towel.

3. Test The Water

You don’t want a cold shower on a cold day outdoors, would you? Neither would your dog! Be nice and prepare lukewarm water on cooler days, and of course, hot days are perfect for some water play. 

bathing dog in a basin
The owner slowly wet the coat of his dog so as not to be surprised.

4. Wet Their Coat Thoroughly

Start with the tail end and work your way up. Avoid their eyes, head, and face. Most dogs dislike getting water sprayed directly into their face and doing so might have them dislike baths.

washing a dog close up
Washing a dog up close

5. Shampoo and Lather 

Work it in well and don’t forget the undersides of the chest, belly, armpits, and tail. 

Black shampoo for poodle
All black shampoos for Poodles can revitalise a coat and make it vibrant

6. Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse several times until the water runs clear and there are no more suds. 

Shih Tzu bath time
Shih Tzu having a bath.

7. Towel Dry

Towel them as dry as you can, and get out of the way! Dogs frequently have the “zoomies” just after their baths. It is hilarious to watch as they expel their energy and express their relief at being let loose from a stressful situation. 

labradoodle in a towel
Labradoodle Max enjoys a cuddle in a towel after a shower and bath

Disadvantages Of Washing Your Dog In A Bathtub 

While giving your dog a bath in the tub is a neat, efficient way of getting a clean dog, nothing is perfect, and using a tub has its share of risks and pitfalls. 

Carrying Your Dog In

Most bathtubs are elevated, and most dogs aside from the most athletic pooches are unable to jump in and out. And even if they are, they should be prevented from doing so. Bathrooms have slippery surfaces, especially when wet, and your dog could seriously injure themselves. 

That means you’ll have to carry your dog in and out. While popping a Bichon or Spaniel into your tub is easy peasy, the same cannot be said for a 100lb Rottweiler or even a 75lb Golden Retriever

owner holding a golden labradoodle
A happy woman holding her lovely golden Labradoodle in her arms.

Slips and Falls

Tubs typically have slippery surfaces, especially when wet and soapy. Slipping in this environment is very dangerous, and when your dog enters this slippery, closed space, they often panic

You may be knocked off your feet when they are struggling to get traction on their feet. Alternatively, the dog can hit the hard surface with its paw and put a strain on the muscles if the paw slips out of place. 

Make sure you use loads of non-slip mats so that your dog can comfortably stand in the bathtub. 

If it’s too cold to wash your dog outside, it may be better to take him to a garage or a local pet groomer to keep you and your dog safe.

Border Collie getting a bubble bath
Looking funny Border Collie getting a bubbles in a bathtub.

Fur Slips Past Your Drain Catch

When you take a shower, your hair collects in the sewers. Your pet’s hair does the same, and it’s much shorter than yours, so it’s much more likely to be able to slip past your drain filter and make its way down to clog your pipes. 

These clogs can cause your plumbing system loads of chaos, so be sure to use a small filter to catch the maximum amount of fur, and always brush your dog before a bath to remove all the loose dead fur. 

Chemical cleaners can clear some clogging but may require professional cleaning of the drain that requires specialized tools. 

a cute dog having a shampoo
A cute dog having a bath. Keep that smell under control!

Stressful Confinement For Your Dog

While some dogs like baths, many others tend to feel uneasy when it comes to bath time. The enclosed space, bright lighting, and slippery surface of the bathroom can make it a stressful environment, and trying to keep your dog in that space is stressful for both you and your puppy.

Depending on your dog, bathing your dog outdoors might be a much better bet. With a large outdoor area, natural light, and great fraction on the ground, your dog might be more at ease with having an outdoor shower. 

bathing Goldendoodle
Chocolate Goldendoodle taking a bath.

More Hygienic for Everyone

Fur is not the only thing that dogs shed. Dogs might have mites, fungi, dander, and other allergens that can sneak their way into your personal space and thrive on the moist and warm. Bathrooms are breeding grounds for bacteria that love humid environments. 

In addition, because bathing your dog in the bathroom is a wet, messy affair, the moisture can get to places that it normally wouldn’t, and this moisture can cause mold and mildew to form. 

Mold is a type of fungi that thrives in damp environments, and it can cause health problems for people with allergies or asthma. Mildew, on the other hand, is a type of mold that tends to form on surfaces that are constantly moist, such as shower curtains. 

Although mold and mildew can both be unsightly, they can also be cleaned relatively easily. Regular cleaning with a mild detergent can help to prevent the growth of mold and mildew, and opening a window or running a fan during showers can help to reduce moisture levels. 

Final Thoughts 

Bathtubs are great for people, but they’re not so great for dogs. First of all, dogs are a lot bigger than people, so they take up a lot more space in a tub. This can make it difficult to move around, and it can also be dangerous if your dog slips and falls. 

Additionally, the smooth surfaces of a tub can make it difficult for your dog to get a good grip, which can lead to them slipping and injuring themselves. Try these other ways to wash your dog instead, and have fun while doing so!