Bathing your dog is often a complicated affair.
You have to prepare the bathroom, gather all of the necessary supplies, and herd your dog into the bathroom before you can even get started. And then, once you’re finished bathing your precious pooch, you’ll spend an hour cleaning up the mess in the bathroom.
Many people try to avoid this by having their dog bathed by a groomer which, although very convenient, can get quite pricey in the long run.
But there is another option – one with which relatively few dog owners are familiar: There are a variety of tools that make it easy to wash your dog in places other than your bathtub. They will make it easy to wash your dog in a number of alternative locations and reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning up.
Below, we’ll discuss these products further, explain the ways they may benefit owners, and recommend a few great products to make your dog-washing chores easier.
In a hurry? See our quick picks below, or keep reading for more details.
Quick Picks: Five Best Portable Dog Bath Tools
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Reasons You May Benefit from Portable Dog Bath Tools
There are a variety of reasons that you may want to use portable bath tools, rather than the tub in your house for bathing your pet. Some of the most common include:
- You have a large dog. It can be difficult to lift a large dog into your bathtub. And if your dog doesn’t particularly care for bath time, it can even be dangerous to do so. But most portable dog bathing tools eliminate the need to lift or wrestle your dog into the tub at all.
- You have a fancy bathroom. Nobody wants to see dog hair plastered on the curtains and walls of your bathroom, and this is especially true of those who put time, effort and money into their home’s décor. But by obtaining portable pet bathing tools, you can wash your dog outside, in the garage, or a laundry room.
- You have an active or working dog. If your dog returns to the home covered in mud and dirt several times each week, you’ll probably enjoy the convenience that portable dog bath tools provide. This also includes those with hunting dogs or service animals, who often get themselves covered in grit and grime.
- You have a disability or physical limitation. Even if you have a small and willing dog, it can be uncomfortable to hunch over the bathtub while bathing your pooch. But several portable bathing tools can eliminate the need to do so, and allow you to bathe your pet while standing or sitting comfortably.
- Your dog sheds heavily. Allow enough dog hair to flow down the drain, and you’ll soon find yourself in need of a good plumber. So, those with dogs who shed heavily should look for ways to bathe their dog outside, where the shed hair won’t ruin the plumbing.
- You travel frequently. If you and your dog hit the road a lot, you may find that portable bathing tools allow you to keep your canine clean while away from home. This may be especially important for those who participate in dog shows, field trials, or other activities that often require travel.
- You want to bathe your dog outside with warm water. Not all portable dog bath tools can be used to provide your dog with a warm bath, but some make it very easy to do so. You can hook up most hose-style tools to indoor faucets, and some vacuum-style units can be filled with warm water.
- Your dog is afraid of bath time. Some anxious or nervous dogs will feel more comfortable if bathed outdoors, with only a hose attachment. Others will enjoy the ability to walk directly into their bathtub, as some all-in-one bathing units allow.
- You are a dog walker. Portable bath tools can provide professional dog walkers with a quick and easy way to bathe their charges, without having to wreck their client’s bathroom in the process. This could prove to be a wonderful timesaver, should one of the dogs step in poop or tromp through a mud puddle.
The Different Types of Portable Dog Bath Tools
There are a few different types of portable dog bath tools on the market, and each works in slightly different ways.
No style is inherently better than the others, but each presents different advantages and disadvantages. Just be sure to consider your situation – and your dog’s needs – carefully before making a choice.
Tubs are water-holding plastic containers, which you can use instead of your bathtub or sink. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but most are essentially rectangular to accommodate your dog comfortably.
Dog bathing tubs often resemble a simple plastic storage box, but most of the good models feature a number of things that will make it easier and safer to use with your dog.
This includes things like built-in drains, textured bottoms to prevent your dog from slipping, and molded shelves and trays, which can hold brushes, shampoos, or other things.
Additionally, unlike general use storage tubs, most tubs designed as portable pet baths are made from strong and durable materials, such as HDPE plastic.
Hose attachments are similar to showerheads, but they are usually designed with a pet-appropriate spray pattern, and most come with attachments for connecting them to indoor or outdoor faucets.
Some of the best hose and shower attachments for pets include dials or toggle switches on the hand-held portion of the unit, to make it easy to adjust the water pressure without having to walk back over to the sink or spigot.
Some even provide multiple spray-pattern options, so you can soak your dog’s entire body quickly or concentrate on smaller areas.
All-In-One Bathing Units
Most all-in-one bathing units are feature-packed plastic tubs, which also feature a spray hose. Essentially, they are a combination of the two previously explained styles.
All-in-one units vary wildly in terms of the features they provide, so be sure to consider your choice carefully and compare the price of the combination product with comparable individual items.
Vacuum-style units work somewhat like carpet cleaners do.
They feature a hand-held attachment, which sprays water (or a combination of water and shampoo) onto your dog’s skin, and then immediately sucks it back up. Because the water is removed so quickly, your dog will be fairly dry once you finish.
Most vacuum-style dog bathers feature a central console that has two different water-holding tanks; one is filled with clean water and the other accepts the dirty water the vacuum removes from your dog’s fur and skin.
The hand-held attachment usually features a screen to prevent shed hair from clogging the tubes.
Note that these units make quite a bit of noise (they sound like a vacuum cleaner), which can make some dogs nervous. However, the best models come with long hoses so that you can move some distance from the noise-making console, and others come with sound-dampening mats or covers to further quiet the device.
The Five Best Portable Dog Bath Tools
If you need a way to give your pup a bath on the go, start with the following five products.
Be sure to select the product style that best suits your dog and personal situation, but any of the products listed below should help you keep your dog clean, no matter where you need to bathe her.
1. Bissell BarkBath Portable Dog Bath System
About: The Bissell BarkBath is a vacuum-style bathing system, designed to make it easier to wash your dog just about anywhere.
Just like a carpet cleaner, this tool sprays water and shampoo onto your dog’s skin, and then sucks the water and remaining shampoo residue right back off your dog, making bath time quick and easy.
- Portable so you can bathe your dog in any room of the house with virtually no mess
- Cleans from the skin up with specially designed nozzles that go beneath the fur
- Cleans a 80lb+ dog with less than 48 oz of water vs traditional bathing in a tub which can use up to...
- System includes Portable Bath Unit, Bath Tool with Storage Bag, Microfiber Sound Dampening Mat, Face...
Features: The Bissell BarkBath Portable Bathing System comes with everything you need to bathe your dog, except shampoo (and the product is also available with a variety of shampoos for those who like one-stop shopping).
This includes the portable bath unit, a bath tool and storage bag, microfiber sound-dampening cover, and a microfiber cleaning cloth.
The 13-foot-long hose makes it easy to place the BarkBath wherever you’d like, and the removable waste water container and nozzle screen (which collects dog hair before it can clog up the vacuum) make the product easy to clean.
A training guide is also included to help instruct owners how to use the Bissel BarkBath with nervous dogs.
The Bissel BarkBath is designed to be convenient for owners and effective for washing dogs, but it also gives owners an easy way to help protect the environment, as it saves a great deal of water.
Bathing a typical 80-pound dog in the bathtub often requires nearly 20 gallons of water, but the Bissel BarkBath can accomplish the same thing with only 48 ounces of water.
PROS: Many of the owners who tried the BarkBath were very happy with the product. Several owners loved that it is easy to set up and use and that it is effective at cleaning dogs. Additionally, some owners liked the ability to fill the tank with warm water, so their dog could enjoy a luxurious bathing experience.
CONS: While many owners were very happy with the BarkBath’s ability to get their dog clean, a fair number of owners found the product entirely ineffective – particularly those with long-haired dogs. Several complained that it didn’t discharge enough water, and others complained that it didn’t suck the water back off their pet easily enough.
Additionally, the unit is about as loud as a typical vacuum, so it made many pets nervous.
2. Aquapaw Pet Bathing Tool
About: The Aquapaw Pet Bathing Tool is a hand-held dog bathing aid, which is designed to make it easy to wash your dog wherever you’d like.
Consisting of an 8-foot-long hose with a textured spray nozzle designed to fit on your hand, you can use this tool to spray your dog down while you are simultaneously lathering her up.
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- Indoor/outdoor use: Comes with adapters to fit shower spigot or garden hose, so you can easily...
- Ergonomic design: With its one-size-fits-all design, Aquapaw straps securely to either hand. The...
Features: The Aquapaw Pet Bathing Tool consists of three primary parts: a hand-held, palm-mounted spray nozzle, a long hose and an adapter that allows the hose to be connected to any faucet – whether located outdoors or indoors.
The spray nozzle is designed to fit hands of all sizes, and the included strap serves to keep it securely attached while in use.
The sprayer head for the Aquapaw features rubber bristles, which can be used to massage and scrub your pet. And because of the unit’s unique design, you can actually use both hands to control your dog while washing her. A toggle switch located on the palm even allows you to turn the water on and off as necessary.
Additionally, the Aquapaw can reduce the amount of time and water it takes to wash your dog, which will help keep her stress level low during the process.
PROS: Most owners who tried the Aquapaw loved it. Most owners explained that it worked exactly as was advertised, and several specifically praised the unit’s toggle switch, which allows you to use only as much water as is necessary.
CONS: Complaints about the Aquapaw were relatively rare, but a few owners did complain that the palm-mounted spray nozzle did not stay securely on their hand.
3. Waterpik PPR-252 Pet Wand Pro
About: The Waterpik Pet Wand Pro is a professional-grade hand-held sprayer attachment that you can connect to an indoor or outdoor faucet.
Made with a unique, elongated spray handle, this tool is specifically designed to soak your dog quickly and efficiently, to make bath time faster and easier.
- EASY & EFFECTIVE: The Waterpik Pet Wand Pro professional grade dog shower unique wand shape provides...
- WATERCOMB & NARROW SPRAYS: Contoured water combing spray provides maximum coverage and the power you...
- INDOOR & OUTDOOR USE: Install in your shower and easily switch between your shower head and the Pet...
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Features: The Waterpik Pet Wand Pro is packed with a number of features designed to make bath time easier – no matter where you like to wash your dog.
Unlike lesser-quality sprayer heads, the Waterpik not only works well, it comes with a number of clever features, which make it very helpful for bathing your pooch.
For example, the Waterpik can be used in two different ways, depending on your needs. You can use the WaterComb mode to get maximum coverage, or you can quickly switch over to the narrow spray mode, which is better for sensitive areas (such as your dog’s head and face).
You can switch between the modes or control the overall pressure via a single knob on the handle.
The Waterpik comes with a handy storage hook for keeping the wand out of the way, and it comes with adapters for both indoor and outdoor use.
Finally, the Waterpik Pet Wand Pro is backed by a limited lifetime warranty, which will allow owners to purchase with confidence.
PROS: The vast majority of owners who tried the Waterpik Pet Wand Pro were very happy with the product. Most found that it was easy to install and store and that it worked quite well at bath time. Many owners specifically mentioned the water control switch on the handle, which allows you to quickly change the water pressure or spray style.
CONS: A few owners had problems with leaks, and several owners complained that the suction cup included with the product was not very effective – it would frequently slip, slide and fall off of the wall. Additionally, a few owners complained about the unit’s price, which seemed high relative to the product’s quality.
4. Pet Gear Pup-Tub
About: At first glance, the Pet Gear Pup-Tub resembles a simple plastic tub. But, upon closer inspection, it becomes obvious that this is a purpose-built bathing container designed specifically for washing dogs and other pets.
The Pup-Tub is made from durable materials, and it incorporates a number of design features to make it easier to bathe your pooch.
- Pup Tub is great for a relaxing bath for your pet or quick clean-ups from accidents or messes
- Rubberized bottom provides a slip-proof floor even when wet
- 2 tethers allow the pet to be secured during bathing process
- Translucent plastic allows small dogs to see through resulting in less stress
Features: The Pup-Tub is packed with a number of innovative features, including four non-skid feet to keep the tub in place, a built-in drain plug in the bottom, which makes it easy to empty the tub after baths, and two separate trays that can hold shampoo or other items.
The Pup-Tub also helps you to keep your pup safe during bath time. It features two quick-connect tethers that will keep your dog securely, yet comfortably restrained, and it also features a rubberized bottom surface, which even provides your pooch with traction once the tub is filled with water.
Small enough to handle and manipulate in kitchens, laundry rooms or other tight places, the Pup-Tub measures about 30.5 inches long, by 18.5 inches wide and 9.4 inches deep and weighs only 3 pounds.
According to the manufacturer, it is suitable for dogs up to about 20 pounds.
PROS: Most owners were very happy with the Pet Gear Pup-Tub and had only good things to say about it. Most praised the convenience the tub provided, and several owners reported that they liked being able to wash their dog at a convenient height, as it easily fits on counters.
CONS: The only real complaints about the Pup-Tub related to its cost; several owners found that it was a bit expensive. However, a few owners did complain that it was difficult to fill the tub in small sinks that don’t have spray hoses.
5. Scrub A Dub Dog Pet Bathing System
About: The Scrub A Dub Dog Pet Bathing System is an all-in-one pet bathing tub, which is made with a number of time- and labor-saving features.
But the Scrub A Dub Dog Bathing System isn’t just a collection of fancy bells and whistles, it is made from durable materials, to ensure it lasts for years.
- Your dog can step in and out on his own.
- Made out of virtually indestructible HDPE. Keeps hair out of the drain.
- Comes with screened drain, hose, faucet adaptor and shower head.
- Latch for chain collar keeps pet in place during bath.
Features: The Scrub A Dub Bathing System is a 22-pound, HDPE container that measures approximately 44 inches long, 24 inches wide and 17 inches deep. T
he lowest 8 inches of the tub is surrounded by four walls and will hold water, but the rest of the tub only features walls on three sides, to make it easy for your dog to enter and exit.
The Scrub A Dub tub also features a few important safety features, such as the grooved bottom surface, which will give your dog great traction in even the soapiest water. It also includes a latch to which you can attach a leash or tether to keep your dog safely secured.
The Scrub A Dub Bathing System comes with a hose, hand-held sprayer and faucet adapter for quick-and-easy setup. It also includes a screened drain, which makes it easy to empty and prevents your dog’s hair from clogging the pipes in your home.
PROS: Unfortunately, relatively few owners have shared their experiences with the Scrub A Dub Bathing System. However, almost all of the owners who did were very pleased with the system and used words like “perfect” and “great” to describe the product.
CONS: There was only one complaint mentioned about the Scrub A Dub System: The drain hole is slightly small. But, this should only represent a very minor problem for most owners.
Our Recommendation: The Pet Gear Pup-Tub
The Pet Gear Pup-Tub is a great and — most importantly for those who don’t like to bathe their pup in the bathtub – easy to transport tool for bathing your pup. It is packed with useful features, designed to keep your pet safe and easy to use.
It isn’t appropriate for those with big dogs, but owners with little canines will certainly find it quite helpful.
Do you bathe your pet somewhere other than the bathtub? How do you do it? Do you rely on any of the products detailed above? Have you found other products that work well?
Tell us all about your experiences in the comments below!