The New Way to Wash Your Dog: Public Dog Bathing Stations

by Sundays

Did you know that there may be a low-stress, low-mess way to get your pup clean? Enter: dog bathing stations.

POV: “Bathe the dog” is right there on your to-do list, but somehow, it just keeps getting pushed to “next” week. Every time you see a nicely groomed pup with fresh, clean-smelling white fur, you feel a little guilty. 

It just so happens there may be a low-stress, low-mess way to get your pup clean: dog bathing stations. You may have seen them around but didn’t really register what they were exactly.

Let’s take a look at this genius invention and how it can help make your life as a pet parent a little bit easier.

What is a dog bath station, exactly?

It is exactly what it sounds like, a DIY, public place that’s set up specifically for washing dogs. You do the work, but you don’t have to do the cleanup. Dog bathing stations are kind of like car washes, only you’re washing your dog instead of your car. 

It usually costs around $10-$20 to use a dog bath station, depending on the level of pampering and extras you want. At the lower end, everything you need is usually included:

- Dog shampoo

- Dog conditioner

- Dog washing station

- Blow dryer

- Towels

- Combs and brushes (sometimes not included)

If you want the works, some dog bathing stations offer extras like top-shelf shampoo and conditioner, deodorizing sprays, and doggy facial scrubs at a higher price.

Why should I use a dog bathing station?

Giving your dog a bath is a pretty big chore, especially in the summer. You don’t want to get dog hair all in the shower drain or kill your back trying to scrub your dog. You end up wondering if you’ll have to take a shower with them or use the cold hose water outside. None of this sounds pleasant. 

The other traditional option doesn’t sound any better–going to a groomer can be expensive, plus you and your dog are both anxious about leaving them in a stranger’s hands. On top of that, you’d have to make an appointment, drop them off, and then come back to get them.

And what if your dog loves getting dirty at the dog park or dog beach and needs a quick bath after? It would be so convenient to pop by a dog wash station on the way home so you can bring home a clean dog.

Tips for using dog bathing stations

So now that you’re convinced that a DIY doggy bathing station is the way to go, here are some tips for using them.

1. Double-check what’s included. Some places don’t have grooming tools like combs and brushes, although they usually all have blow dryers. You may also want to bring clippers and check if they have a grooming table where you can do the finishing touches after your dog’s bath.

2. Sign up for membership or frequent visitor cards. They may offer a discount or free dog washes if you go often, similar to car wash places.

3. Map out where the closest dog washing stations are. This way, you can find stations near your favorite dog park or dog beach so you can be sure to stop by to clean off muddy paws and sandy fur on your way home. 

There are some major pet supply stores that are offering dog washing stations at many of their locations, including:

- Pet Supermarket

- Petco

- Tractor Supply

4. Check for time limits. Find out if it’s a set fee for a certain number of minutes. In that case, you’ll need to make sure you have time for each step, with rinses in between shampooing and conditioning and time for blow drying. 

5. Clean up the station for the next pup. Don’t leave a mess for the next pet parent. Some dog bathing stations have a final step of disinfecting the tub, so be sure not to skip that. If there is a mop, use it to clean up any water that may have splashed on the floor. 

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