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How to Bathe a Dog Outside

How to Bathe a Dog Outside

As the weather gets warmer, you might consider giving your dog a bath outside. If you're used to washing your dog inside, then you may need a few tips on how to bathe your dog outdoors without a bathtub. It's actually a lot easier than you might think, as long as you've prepped in advance and keep the water at a nice, warm temperature.

Outdoor baths can be a bonding time for you and your dog.

What Temperature Is Best for Outdoor Bathing?

Avoid washing your dog outside if the temperature is cold. Your dog can get chilled when he's wet, even if he has a thick coat. So try to wash your dog outside only in warmer weather.

Remember, how often you need to wash your dog depends on your dog's breed and activity level. Many dogs need a bath once a month, while hairless dogs may need as much as once a week.

Can I Bathe My Dog in Cold Water?

It's best not to use cold water when bathing your dog.1 You'll have a more compliant and happier pet if you use warm water, even when washing big dogs. In addition, cold water simply doesn't work as well for cleaning. (Don't use hot water! You don't want to burn your pup.)

Sometimes your only choice might be water from a hose that runs a bit cooler. In those cases, you want to make sure it's hot outside so your dog doesn't get chilled. She'll find the cooler water refreshing on a warmer day. But ideally, use lukewarm water and avoid cold water altogether. If using a hose, test the temperature frequently.

Keep the Water Pressure Low

When bathing outside, keep the water pressure coming from your hose very low.2 Don't hit your pup with a strong, uncomfortable stream of water. For some hoses, you need an attachment to ensure the water doesn't come out too fast. Or you can fill up buckets with warm water first and scoop those onto your dog if the hose is too intimidating to him.

Preparing for the Bath

Set up everything you need near your outside "dog washing station," so you don't have to leave your dog to get anything. Be sure to include absorbent towels, dog-safe shampoo, combs and brushes, and buckets of water or your hose set to a low pressure. Clip your dog's leash or harness to a tree or something nearby, so she can't escape during the bath.3 Some pet owners prefer using a basin, outdoor tub, or even pet pool a for bathing, while others bathe their dog on the grass. It's really a matter of personal preference.

Be sure and brush your dog first to get rid of mats or tangles. A pre-bath brush will help the bath go more smoothly for both of you.

How to Bathe Your Dog Outside

Thoroughly wet your dog, including his underbelly and legs. Some dogs are okay with a low-pressure hose, but others prefer you scoop water carefully on their fur. If your dog has a thick undercoat, it will take a little longer to get him fully saturated with water.

Slowly work in the shampoo, massaging it into your dog's fur and adding more water as needed. Take extra care near his head, so you don't get any shampoo in his eyes. Next, rinse all the shampoo out thoroughly and gently, starting from the top down. Even though you're outside, you still want to towel dry your dog once the bath is over.

Help Your Dog Get Comfy After His Bath

Your dog needs a comfy place to dry off after his bath. The K&H Original Pet Cot is elevated off the ground, and the cover's waterproof. It's the perfect place for your dog to hang out while drying.

Another great option is the K&H Self-Warming Pet Cot which can be used indoors or outdoors. Its self-warming center traps your pet's heat and reflects it to your pet.

Your dog might also enjoy the Comfy n' Dry Indoor/Outdoor Pet Bed. The bed is designed to let water run through it and stay dry, making it a great choice for your towel-dried pup.

Washing your dog outside can be a lot of fun during the warmer months. Just give him time to get used to his new bath time location, and be sure to towel dry him thoroughly when you're done.

1. Stregowski, Jenna. "How to Bathe Your Dog." The Spruce Pets, 1 May 2020,

2. Dubin, Alesandra. "How to Bathe a Dog the Right Way, According to a Veterinarian." Good Housekeeping, 17 April 2020,

3. Schnell, Christina. "How to Wash a Dog Outside." The Nest,

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