The 10 Best Dog Bathtubs
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in February of 2016. If your pooch is starting to stink but you can't face the hassle of wrangling it with one hand while managing a bucket or a hose with the other, then one of these dog bathtubs is just what you need. They make it much easier to get Fido clean, and come in models perfect for use at home or in a professional grooming setting. We've added options that require installation as well as those that do not. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
February 17, 2020:
Because we are worried that it can rust, we have opted to remove the Master Equipment Everyday Pro, as well as the Booster Elevated, over concerns about its overall stability. If you'd prefer an option that's elevated on legs, as the latter, consider the Flying Pig Portable, instead. It isn't unnecessarily large or expensive, but it is sturdy, with stainless steel legs that will hold up to extended use. There's also the Jackson Supplies Utility Tub, which is perfect for a laundry room. You'll get everything required for set-up with it, but it's worth noting that the faucet is not installed when it arrives. Fortunately, however, the hole for placement is pre-drilled. You can also consider the Flying Pig FP301 or the Flying Pig FP701L for even beefier needs; they're both on the pricier side, but they're robust and fine for professional use.
Finally, on the other end of the price and size spectrum, are the BaileyBear Porta Tubby and the Pet Gear Pup-Tub. These are not grooming bath tubs for large dogs, so you can't put your German shepherd in them, but for small breeds, they'll get the job done.
The AquaQuest Tub by PetLift Professionals with an ample budget can get a lot of use from The AquaQuest Tub by PetLift, not only because its 16-gauge stainless steel tub is durable, but also because the ramp allows most animals to walk in, even larger ones. It boasts two types of restraints, including a tie-out bar, and has handy adjustable feet that can make drainage easier. petlift.com
Groomer's Best In-line Those who are dealing with space constraints may want to consider the Groomer's Best In-line. It's not a big square, like most options; instead, it's long and slim, so it won't necessarily jut out into an already crowded room. Handcrafted in the USA, it comes with a three-year warranty for your peace of mind. groomersbest.com
A Brief History Of Dog Grooming
However, the first grooming was done for practical reasons, as owners would trim the coats on their curly-haired retrievers in the 16th century.
You might think that dog grooming is a relatively recent phenomenon, beginning only when people decided to start bringing their pooches inside their homes. After all, weren't dogs domesticated to help us fight and hunt? Wouldn't you want them covered with blood and viscera?
As it turns out, no, because that's gross. However, the first grooming was done for practical reasons, as owners would trim the coats on their curly-haired retrievers in the 16th century. This enabled them to move and swim better in the water, which in turn helped them to fetch and return game. The fur on their hindquarters was cropped very closely, while it was left longer on the chest and shoulders, like a lion's mane. They even tied the hair up in a knot over their head, marking the simultaneous invention of the man-bun.
The French — never ones to let a new style pass them by — were enamored by this grooming, and began to style the fur on their poodles as a result. During Louis XVI's reign, canine styling was all the rage, with groomers setting up shop alongside the Seine, crafting dog hair into outrageous patterns and setting the stage for the emergence of snooty cartoon poodles centuries later.
While poodles would enjoy regular grooming from that point on, for most dogs in other countries hygiene was limited to the occasional bath. In America in the 1940s, however, a trainer named Blanche Saunders published a book that popularized dog grooming, and the practice took off like a rocket once again.
By that time, however, more city dwellers were beginning to allow their furry friends into their homes, and grooming became much more necessary. After all, it's one thing to have a stinky dog that you see once or twice a day when you go outside, and quite another to have him curl up in bed next to you.
Now, there are nearly 200,000 full-time groomers in the United States alone, and countless more pet owners bathe their dogs themselves. While Fido might still surprise you with a new odor or two every once in a while, our dogs are cleaner and better maintained than ever before.
Picking The Right Tub
Buying a dedicated tub for your pooch can be a great investment. I know you love him, but do you really want to get in your bathtub after seeing all the dirt and hair that he left behind?
Finding the right tub is ultimately a matter of matching your dog with your living or working conditions. If you have a big dog, you'll need a big tub — and that requires a place to store it. If you don't have the space, you might be better off just investing in an adjustable shower head and biting the bullet in your own tub.
If he's a squirmer — or worse, an escape artist — you might need a tub with some sort of restraint.
Likewise, if you're running a commercial groomer, you'll want to maximize your available space without skimping on room to wash. Ask yourself what kind of clientele you get most often — large breeds or small? If most of your clients own Yorkies, you can load up on smaller tubs and only have one or two large baths for the occasional Great Dane that wanders in.
The way the dog behaves is also important. If he's a squirmer — or worse, an escape artist — you might need a tub with some sort of restraint. On the other hand, if bath time is a blast for him, getting one that lets him play and splash around is more important. If the dog bites, or if you just think he might, find one with loops to keep him secure, and maybe even consider using a muzzle.
Finally, make it easy on yourself. Get one that doesn't force you to bend over or otherwise put a strain on your back, and that's easy to put away when you're done. Also, think about how easy it will be to clean when you're finished, as well as how good of a job it will do of preventing you (or the surrounding area) from getting trashed in the process.
Tips For Bathing Your Dog
You may not believe this, but it is possible to have a neat, well-groomed dog, without having your entire house get wrecked whenever it's bath time.
First off, take him outside if you can. Wait for a warm, sunny day, and bathe him in the yard, filling your tub with a hose (you can even wash your car while you're at it!). Most tubs, even the bigger ones, are easy to haul outside when empty, and you can store them in the garage when not in use.
Some can reduce shedding and tangling, so your dog will feel better immediately.
If you live in an apartment and don't have a good outdoor spot to bathe him, you're going to have to bring your tub inside. Prepare ahead of time by making the water warm and laying down some towels. You'll need at least three towels, by the way — one to lay down so he doesn't slip in the tub, one to use to block his spray when he shakes, and one to dry him.
Getting the right shampoo is also critical. Some can reduce shedding and tangling, so your dog will feel better immediately. Others have soothing aromas that can help calm your dog, which is especially helpful if baths are stressful for the little guy.
Put some cotton in his ears to keep water from getting in there, and be sure not to get any soap in his eyes. If he's really anxious, the combination of massage and soothing reassurance should help, but you may need to use positive reinforcement and slowly build up to the idea of a bath over several days, using treats and even a clicker.
Once you're done, let him go do something fun (spoiler alert: the fun thing will be rolling in dirt). Clean your tub and pick up all the dog hair, and then be sure to tell him what a good boy he was.
I'm serious — I don't care if he left you in tears. You better tell him he was a good boy.