How to Bathe Your Cat or Dog

Bathing a cat is often harder than a dog, but the washing process is mostly the same. Want to know how to bathe your cat or dog without getting scratched? This is the article for you!


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    Remove any tangles or knots the pet might have before placing it in the water. This helps the washing procedure, especially if your pet has long hair. Gently brush through the fur, using a wire brush to remove larger knots.
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    Get a towel and pet shampoo ready. Make sure you don't use a regular shampoo because this can harm your pet's skin.
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    Dress appropriately. You don't want scratches all over your arms! A long sleeved shirt or even gloves will help lessen the risk of being injured. However, if you have an animal with dull nails a short sleeved T-shirt may be more comfortable. Also consider that your clothing may get wet whilst washing your pet.
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    Run the water until it's comfortably warm. Cats can get hypothermia if it's too cold! Dogs will need room temperature water. Don't make it too hot, or it could burn or make the animal uncomfortable.
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    Put the cat or dog in the bathtub. Do not wet the cat's head or ears. The ears are very sensitive and getting water on the head runs the risk of getting shampoo and water in their eyes.
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    Get the shampoo and lather it in their fur. Cats will scratch you or try to jump out, so have the door closed, and make sure there is no rug on the floor to get soaked. With cats, it may be helpful to wash them in showers with doors so they can't jump out. Larger dogs may be more comfortable in a tub or plastic pool outside.
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    Rinse them thoroughly until all traces of shampoo is gone. It helps to use your hand and brush over the opposite way of which their fur goes and rinse so it gets out of their skin, too.
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    Dry them. Blotting is a great way to dry your pet's fur. Warm towels are comforting to your pet after a bath. Keep blotting even if your pet's fur is only damp. Sometimes, your pet will just finish the drying by themselves. Cats like to be wrapped and then let go after a few minutes. Try wrapping them before exiting the bathroom or shower to avoid them running off. If your cat doesn't like being dried off or is really upset after this experience, try bringing in some food or treats to distract them and "get on their good side" again. For dogs, blowdrying is great to prevent unpleasant smells whilst their fur drys naturally. If a hairdryer is used, make sure it is on the lowest heat setting or hold down the 'cool shot' button if your hairdryer has one to prevent burning. Do not try blowdrying with a cat!


  • Not all cats necessarily dislike getting a bath.
  • Try not to get any soap in their eyes, mouth, ears, or nose. The best way to avoid this is by washing your pet from the neck down only.
  • Remember to keep them safe. Don't make the bathwater too high.
  • Long-haired animals mat more easily when they're wet.
  • Try to have at least one other person present, so if there's any problems with washing your pet, they will be there to help out.
  • Trimming the animal's nails before bathing will reduce the risk of being injured.

Things You'll Need

  • Towel
  • A long sleeved shirt or gloves
  • Comb/brush
  • Pet Shampoo
  • Conditioner (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Dog Grooming | Grooming Cats