Giving a Dog Bath

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Learning how to give a dog bath is an absolute necessity if you own a Golden Retriever!

Goldens love to play, and at times it seems that the dirtier they get, the happier they are!

dog bath; Golden Retriever covered in mud and playing in mud puddle

©Photo Courtesy of Feskie Rodriguez


If you introduce your Golden to a dog bath at a young age, she will enjoy it more as she gets older, or at least won’t fight you as much over it!

Never use people shampoo on dogs, as it is too harsh on their skin, and can cause dryness and possible allergies. Make sure that you do not use any type of flea shampoo on puppies younger than 12 weeks.

If you use Frontline or similar topical flea products, you can not bathe your dog 48 hours before or after applying the flea product.

It does continue working when you bathe your Golden at a later time, but for it to initially go into effect, your dog’s natural oils need to be present, which is why bathing dogs is not recommended for that time frame only.

dog bath; face picture of Golden Retriever laying down

©Photo Courtesy of JoAnne Bacon

Only bathe your Golden as often as necessary. While my pups are small, I bathe them in the kitchen sink. When they outgrow the sink, then we move to the bathtub.

You can give a puppy a bath as young as 5 weeks of age, as long as the pup does not get chilled afterward. Make sure the house is very warm and dry your puppy thoroughly.

How to bathe a dog is actually pretty simple, once you get her into the tub!

I always have warm water already run in the bathtub, and have either a thick, folded towel or a mat in the bottom of the tub, so she doesn’t slip.

Bring your Golden into the room. If she has been taking her dog bath since puppyhood, then she should step into the tub. If not, then you’ll have to lift her into the tub.

I do not directly dump water onto my Golden’s face. I use a damp washcloth for her face without any type of shampoo on it. I start at her head and move backwards.

Make sure you do not get water into her ears. You can put cotton balls in her ears, but try not to get those wet, either, and make sure you do not push them into her ear canal. Because Goldens’ have long ears, air does not circulate well and they can get ear infections if their ears are not kept dry.

dog bath; Golden Retriever in tub getting a dog bath

©Photo Courtesy of Ray Wishart

Goldens have thick coats, plus an undercoat, so you have to thoroughly soak them down, in order to penetrate all of their fur. I use a large plastic cup for slowly dumping the water over them.

Lather her up with dog shampoo, and wash her working from her front to her back. When you have finished shampooing her, completely rinse all shampoo out of her fur.

When you have finished bathing her, dry her off as well as you can, while she is still in the tub. I then put a towel on the edge of the tub, so she doesn’t slip while jumping out of the tub.

Dry her off some more, then get out of the way! She is going to shake water everywhere!! I find it best to close all doors in the house and only allow them one room to shake themselves off in!

dog bath; Golden Retriever pup shaking water off

©Photo Courtesy of

Melinda Southall Rhodes

Double check inside her ears, making sure they are dry. To be on the safe side, it doesn’t hurt to use some dog ear powder. One of my Goldens had a water caused ear infection once, and believe me, it wasn’t pretty!

Clipping nails can be done after a bath, as the nails are softer then. Although I don’t do so at this point, as that’s enough of a workout at one time for me, and for my Golden! :)

dog bath; 2 Golden Retrievers taking a nap

©Photo Courtesy of Cindy Ouellette

After her dog bath is over, she will probably race around the house like a wild woman that has just been given her freedom, and then settle down for a nice long nap!

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