How to Bathe a Great Dane

Three Methods:Bathing With WaterCleaning Your Dog with Dry ShampooMaking Bath Time Pleasant

Great Danes are low-odor, short-haired dogs that do not have to be bathed often--in fact, frequent baths may deprive their coats of necessary natural oils. However, bathing them can be difficult due to their size. To keep your dog clean, dry shampoo and brush regularly, and bathe with water on an as needed basis. Bath time will go much smoother if you have plenty of space and the right supplies.

Method 1
Bathing With Water

  1. Image titled Bathe a Great Dane Step 1
    Get all of your supplies together. Bathing a large dog can be quite a chore. Have everything you need before you start the process. Gather your towels, brush, shampoo, and a pitcher or cup. Having your supplies together will make bath time faster and keep you from leaving your dog unattended.[1]
    • You may need 3 or 4 large towels depending on the size of your dog.
  2. Image titled Bathe a Great Dane Step 2
    Bathe your dog in an area with plenty of space. Bathe your Great Dane in a walk-in shower, bathtub, or a portable bath tub. Both you and your dog should fit comfortably in the bath area. If your bathroom is small, a portable bath tub would be better.[2]
    • If it is warm outside, you can bathe your dog outside. However, if your dog tends to squirm a lot during bath time, it will be harder to keep him still if you are outside.
  3. Image titled Bathe a Great Dane Step 3
    Brush your dog. Use a soft bristle brush to remove any loose hair.[3] You can use a rubber grooming mitt instead of a brush of you prefer. Your Great Dane has a short coat so be very gentle when you brush. You do not want to hurt the skin.
    • Always brush in the direction the coat grows in. It is more comfortable for your dog.[4]
    • Great Danes are not prone to matting, but gently untangle any mats with your fingers or a comb. Do not try to brush matted hair.
  4. Image titled Bathe a Great Dane Step 4
    Coax your dog into the tub. If your dog is unwilling to get in the tub, take him out for some exercise first. Your dog is more likely to enjoy the water after exercise and will have less energy to fight you.[5] You can also put a treat or a toy in the tub to make it more attractive for your dog.
    • Never use anger or force to get your dog into the tub. This will make the experience unpleasant for both of you, and your dog will begin to think of bath time as something negative that needs to be avoided.[6]
  5. Image titled Bathe a Great Dane Step 5
    Protect the ears. Avoid getting water into your dog's ears. This is uncomfortable for your dog and can cause some health problems. Stuff the ears with cotton balls before the bath.[7] Be sure not to put the cotton balls in too deep. You need to remove them once the bath is over.[8]
    • Excess moisture in the ears can lead to ear infections.[9]
    • Clean the ears once a week with an ear cleaner formulated for dogs. Typically, you apply the cleaner and then wipe out the ear with a soft, damp cloth.[10]
  6. Image titled Bathe a Great Dane Step 6
    Wet your dog with lukewarm water. Once your dog is in the tub, use the shower head, spray hose, large plastic pitcher, or cup to wet your dog.[11] The water should not be too cold or too hot. If the water is too hot or cold for a baby, then it is the wrong temperature for your dog as well.
    • Wet your dog from the neck down. This will protect its eyes, ears, and mouth.
    • Large dogs tend to overheat more easily so make sure that you choose the right temperature.
    • The water should be between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (or between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius).[12]
    • Talk to your dog in a calm voice as you wet him. This will make him feel comfortable and safe.
  7. Image titled Bathe a Great Dane Step 7
    Apply dog shampoo. Use a shampoo that is made for dogs. Human shampoo is too harsh for your dog's skin. Gently massage the shampoo into your dog's fur. Work from head to tail. Thoroughly rinse your dog with water.[13][14]
    • Avoid getting shampoo in the eyes, ears, and nose. You can use a wet washcloth to wipe your dog's face instead of applying shampoo to its head.
    • You may have to rinse multiple times to ensure that all of the shampoo is removed. Your dog's skin may become irritated if you do not rinse all of the shampoo off.
    • If your dog got into mud or is really dirty, you may need to shampoo and rinse multiple times.
  8. Image titled Bathe a Great Dane Step 8
    Dry off your dog. It will probably take 2 or 3 beach towels to dry your dog. Put a towel on the floor of the bathroom to keep your floor from getting too wet and place a towel on your dog as soon as he gets out of the bath. Rub him down. Use another towel if the towel gets soaked. Try to get your dog as dry as possible.[15]
    • It is best to air dry, but you can blow dry your dog. It is best to use a doggie blow dryer. Human blow dryers often blow out air that is too hot and can cause itching and dandruff.[16]
    • The sound of the hair dryer may scare some dogs. If your dog reacts to the sound, stick with towel drying.
    • If it is cold outside, keep your dog indoors until he is completely dry.
    • It is completely normal for your dog to shake off excess water, and there is not much you can do to prevent it. This is a reflex that prevents them from getting hypothermia.[17][18] Place towels on the floor, wear clothes that you don't mind getting wet, and remove anything that you do not want to get wet.

Method 2
Cleaning Your Dog with Dry Shampoo

  1. Image titled Bathe a Great Dane Step 9
    Purchase dry shampoo. Dry shampoo should be used instead of giving your dog a full bath. Great Danes are very large and bathing can be difficult.[19] Full baths remove natural oils from your dog's coat and can lead to dry skin.[20] Dry shampoo for dogs can be purchased from your local pet store or online.
    • Apply dry shampoo once a week or whenever your dog gets dirty. If you do this, you will only need to give your Great Dane wet baths in particular situations, like if your Great Dane rolls in something.
    • Dry shampoo is a great option in the colder months. You do not have to worry about your dog going outside with wet fur.
  2. Image titled Bathe a Great Dane Step 10
    Apply the shampoo to your dog's fur. Brush your dog and then rub the shampoo into his coat. Allow the shampoo to sit on your dog for the recommended duration. Then brush the shampoo out. Always read the instructions on the bottle before you apply. The amount of time you allow the shampoo to sit on the skin will depend on the product that you use.[21]
    • Dry shampoo is not as effective as bathing with water, but it will keep your dog clean.
    • You may also use waterless shampoo. You usually spray these products onto your dog's coat, rub your hands through the fur, and then pat the dog dry with a towel.
  3. Image titled Bathe a Great Dane Step 11
    Alternate dry shampoo with water baths as needed. For most Great Danes, regular dry shampooing is enough. If your dog gets sprayed by a skunk, smells really bad, or gets really muddy, a full bath may be necessary. Regular brushing and dry shampoo use will reduce the need for you to bathe your dog with water.[22][23]
    • Pay attention to how your dog's skin reacts to the dry shampoo. If you notice any irritation, you may be using the dry shampoo to frequently.
    • It may take some trial and error to find the right dry shampoo for your dog. If the shampoo leaves a white residue or is difficult to brush out, choose another brand.

Method 3
Making Bath Time Pleasant

  1. Image titled Bathe a Great Dane Step 12
    Put toys in the tub. Help your dog associate bath time with something that is fun. Allow your dog to play with its favorite toys during bath time. Your dog will be calmer and will feel like bath time is play time.[24]
    • Allow your dog to play in the tub a few times before you give him a bath in there.
    • Instead of toys, you can also feed your dog in the bathing area.
  2. Image titled Bathe a Great Dane Step 13
    Get your dog used to getting wet. If your dog does not like getting wet, bath time can be very hard. Do small exercises to help your dog feel comfortable getting wet. Dry your dog after each exercise. All of these exercises will help your dog associate water with treats and fun.[25]
    • Wet a sponge and rub it on your dog's back before he eats. Dry off your dog when he is done eating. Do this three days in a row.
    • If it is raining lightly, play fetch with your dog outside for a little while. Dry your dog off when you come back inside.
    • You can also squirt your dog with a little bit of water and then give him a treat. Turn the squirting and treat into a little game. This is great to do with a garden hose and the weather is warm.
  3. Image titled Bathe a Great Dane Step 14
    Have a positive attitude. If you dread bath time, your dog will too. Be upbeat and have positive body language when it's time to bathe your dog. Use the same attitude as you do when you take your dog outside to play or when it's time to eat.[26]
    • Speak to your dog with a happy, upbeat tone and say his name.[27]
    • Praise your dog or give a treat when he behaves during bath time.


  • Consider taking your dog to a professional groomer for a bath. The groomer will have all the tools and space to bathe a large dog.
  • Be sure to talk to your buddy and let him or her know that he or she is doing a great job, while petting them encouragingly. Baths can be stressful for pets.
  • Don't let the dog out when the temperature is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, unless completely dry.
  • You may need to coax your dog into the bathroom with treats, toys or by using the leash. You can reward your dog with a treat if you need to.
  • Brush your dog daily to reduce the need for baths.

Sources and Citations

Show more... (24)

Article Info

Categories: Dog Grooming