Not every dog loves (or even tolerates) a bath, but almost every dog loves to run around. A new viral TikTok has suggested you can give your pooch the best of both worlds this summer by putting some shampoo on them and letting them loose when the sprinklers are running in your yard or a nearby park.
Getting your pup clean without traumatizing them or making a mess of your bathroom sounds perfect, if not almost too good to be true—but experts say it’s a fine strategy for keeping a squeaky clean pooch this summer, as long as you keep a few things in mind.
What to do
First, here’s the TikTok in question, from user Alexamoondo:
Look at that good by, playing in the sprinklers! He doesn’t even realize he’s getting sudsed up in the process. It seems like a summertime win/win for sure. But Carolyn Chen, founder of dog-grooming supply company Dandylion, cautions that you can’t rely on a sprinkler to do all the work of giving your dog a bath. She recommends wetting the coat a little first and lathering shampoo into it, and then following up with a more thorough rinse after the sprinkler session to ensure all the soap has been washed away.
Obviously this trick won’t work if your dog is afraid of sprinklers or doesn’t already have a habit of running through them. Dr. Lindsay Butzer, DVM, notes this would be “a lot of fun” with a German shepherd, Labrador, or another large, energetic dog—provided they already like sprinklers. She pointed out dogs that aren’t familiar with sprinklers or are fearful of them likely won’t get wet enough to rinse the shampoo out.
What to keep in mind
If the shampoo isn’t fully rinsed out of the fur, Chen says, it can cause skin irritation, so skip this hack if you can’t give your dog a while to run through the sprinklers or aren’t able to give them a more thorough rise afterward.
Your best bet for getting most of it out during the sprinkler playtime is using a dog shampoo with a thinner formulation, as it allows for faster wash/rise time. Butzer adds that bathtime requires scrubbing and rinsing, so this isn’t as one-and-done as the TikTok makes it seem—you’ll still need to get your own hands into the mix to rub the shampoo into their fur and check to make sure it’s all out.
This is also only a viable hack on warm days, as sprinkler water tends to be much colder than what you’d use in the tub inside. You want your pet to be able to dry fully in the sun. Chen adds that every dog is different, and while some might love the chill of the sprinklers, others may prefer warm water, even when it’s hot outside.
Making grooming a positive experience for your dog is more important than making it a convenient one for you—but the warmer the weather, the more likely your fur baby will enjoy the cold water.
Another method for bathing your dog outdoors
If you don’t have the time to devote to scrubbing and rinsing your dog after the sprinkler session, skip it: There are other ways to get your pooch clean without the hassle of a bath indoors. Butzer advises starting by putting your pooch on a leash and using a hose in the backyard to slowly introduce them to the concept of being sprayed—gently—with water.