How to Build a Dog-Wash Station
Build your own dog-wash station to keep Fido squeaky clean. Creating a DIY dog-wash station makes the chore much more manageable (and fun for you both).
Many pet owners want to save money on grooming by creating an indoor or outdoor dog-washing station. Be aware, building an indoor dog-washing station can be costly. But over time it will pay big dividends. You'll want to design something that will fit in a room with existing plumbing, such as a laundry room, basement, kitchen, mudroom, or garage. You can also easily convert a utility sink into a washing station instead of building one from scratch. If you've ever installed a bath or a shower or you have a friend or family member who has and can be coaxed into doing the job, this project can be pretty simple. If not, you'll want to hire a plumber.
A key piece of equipment in any cleaning station is the detachable showerhead (try the REEGE Dog Shower Sprayer Attachment Set, $39.99, Amazon), which makes it a lot easier to rinse the underbelly and also gives the dog bather better control over the spray. (To avoid things like water in a dog's ears, which can lead to infections.) You'll also need a drain, a basin, and hot/cold water connections for the shower hose.
Once the plumbing is set up, you can have fun designing the homemade dog-wash station. First and foremost, make sure you have the basin at a height that makes it easy for you to do the job without bending over.
Depending on your preference, you can tile the floor of the station or use a plastic shower stall base. Dogs don't like slipping in the shower any more than you do, so bathtub appliques are a good idea. Installing a towel rack close by will prevent drippy dogs so save you a lot of clean-up time. Consider steps or a ramp to help your dog get into a raised tub. Opt for an elevated tub over a floor-mounted tub. It will make washing much easier in general and on your back.
Pet-Wash Station Options You Can Buy
For an outdoor dog-wash station, you can get a commercially made elevated dog bath with a showerhead that attaches to your hose for about $130 (try the Booster Bath, $129.99, Amazon). These products are usually elevated—no bending over—and a U-shape so it gives you 360-degree access when washing your dog. They usually also come with other key features, including a nonslip mat and a harness system to keep your dog secure.
An indoor station like the pros use costs about $1,300 or more to purchase. While more expensive, they are built of tougher materials (usually stainless steel) and can accommodate various dog sizes. Some come with a built-in ramp or stairs and a full plumbing kit.
How to Dry a Dog After a Bath (Without Getting Soaked)
To keep your dog from soaking you after the bath, gently take hold of its muzzle with your thumb and forefinger. Dogs shake from the head back, and if a dog can't rotate its head, it can't rotate its body. Throw a towel over your dog like a horse blanket and use another one to dry the face, then the ears and then the feet. After you've towel-dried him the best you can, put him in a "shaking allowed" zone, and let him have at it. Or if your dog will allow it (and isn't afraid) you can try blow-drying his coat. Use a cool or low-heat setting to avoid burning your dog's skin.
Related: How to Brush Your Dog's Teeth
By and large, dogs dislike the smell of shampoo. Scented bath products simply aren't as appealing as the smell of natural outdoor scents, which is why dogs often roll in the grass immediately after a bath. If you don't let your dog outside until it's completely dry, you'll probably save yourself from having to lather, rinse, and repeat.