Can a Senior Dog Go Outside After a Bath?


Whether your dog loves a paddle in the ocean, a stroll through the mud, a roll in the dirt or just a nice calm walk, he needs a bath. Not only will it keep his skin and coat clean, it’s a good opportunity to check for bumps and fleas. For dogs with skin allergies it can significantly help with itching, providing much needed relief.

Your dog can go outside after a bath when it’s warm out, but in the cooler weather it’s not a good idea. Please be sure to dry your dog off well before allowing him outside in lower temperatures.

Can dogs get sick if they go outside wet?

They won’t catch a cold the way you and I might just by going outside wet, it’s what could happen if they stay wet where the problems begin.

It’s not only more comfortable for your dog to be dry, damp fur becomes a breeding ground for fungal infections. Damp patches become hot spots, are irritating and your dog’s constant licking will make it even worse. If you have a dog with long floppy ears, like a Basset Hound for example, you need to pay careful attention to drying the ear area.

What temperature is too cold to give a dog a bath outside?

According to the Dog-Grooming Training website , the temperature should be above 90F/32C if you plan on washing your dog outside.

Will it really matter if it’s 80? Probably not, but if your dog is older and frail, I would keep my eye on the temperature. They are more fragile then younger dogs in better health, so you don’t want to risk them getting chilled or stressed in any way.

There is a picture towards the bottom of this post that shows my husband giving my old dog Red a bath. Usually he did it in the sink, but that picture was taken in Florida in our driveway. The weather was definitely warm enough for her to enjoy a nice bath outside, then afterwards we sat on the swing and I dried her off.

You are the best judge as to whether or not it’s warm enough to give your dog a bath outside.

Can you bathe your dog in cold water in summer?

When it’s super hot outside and your dog is panting, it’s tempting to give him a bath in cold water to cool him off…right? Well, no actually. Water that’s too hot or too cold can be uncomfortable for your dog. Best to keep it lukewarm.

How to bathe a dog in the winter

As I mentioned above, be sure to keep the water at a comfortable temperature for your dog. However, that’s not the only factor to consider when bathing your dog in the colder months.

Before you get the bathtub or shower ready, check the temperature of the bathroom. Is the heating on? Any vents blowing cool air?

can a dog go outside after a bath

How to prevent your dog from shivering after a bath

It’s normal for your dog to shiver after a bath, even if you’ve used warm water. That’s because water cools as it evaporates and can leave your dog feeling chilled.

The best way to prevent that is to wrap him in a big towel as soon as he comes out of the bath or shower. If it’s winter and your heating is on, drape it over the radiator so it’s nice and warm for him.

How long does it take for a dog to dry after a bath?

It depends on how big your dog is, what kind of fur he has and how you’re going to dry him.

My dog is a Maltese mix, weighs about 9lbs so I dry him off with a towel. I would say it probably takes about 20 minutes or so. My dog loves a massage so I combine the two activities.

It will be quicker to use a blow dryer, but towel drying your dog first is recommended.

If you do use a blow dryer, don’t just aim it at your dog and turn it on full force. Apologies if I’m stating the obvious! If it’s the first time using it you could scare your dog, and if he’s afraid of the dryer you’ll have a challenge (although it’s doable) getting him to be okay with it.

If there’s a chance your dog will not be happy, do a bit of training before you need to use it. Show it to him, give him a treat if he’s fine – turn it on very low but away from him, if he’s fine, give him a reward – next time hold it closer etc… You see where I’m going with this? Get him used to the blow dryer step by step, so when it’s time to use it he won’t even be bothered or at least not bothered too much!

Can a sick dog take a bath?

If your dog hasn’t been feeling well, a priority should be getting him or her seen by a vet. It’s never a good idea to leave things, hoping they’ll improve on their own without at least a phone call.

Once you’ve determined what’s wrong, or if you already know, the best thing to do is consult with your vet and get their opinion. In some cases, rest may be a priority.

How often should you give your dog a bath

That depends on who you ask because there is a massive difference of opinion as to how often your dog needs a bath.

Some dogs get a bath once a week, twice a month, once a month, every 3 months and even just a couple of times a year!

When I say “bathe a dog” it doesn’t mean you have to do it yourself, it also includes having the groomer do it.

To help you decide what’s best for your dog, have a chat with your groomer, because he or she is the best person to advise you as to frequency.

Let her know –

  • How often your dog goes for a walk
  • Where he/she likes to walk
  • Does he/she like to roll around in the grass? Swim? Just walks on pavement…

Can a dog go outside after a bath

Factors to consider when deciding how often to bathe your dog:

The condition of your dog’s skin – i.e. does he have allergies, dry skin… Bathing him too often could make things worse, unless he needs a frequent medicated bath to get/keep the condition under control. In the case of a dog with environmental allergies, bathing him more often can help remove those allergens from his coat.

How dirty your dog gets on walks – If your dog likes to dig up dirt, roll on the ground or has no trouble walking through puddles (especially muddy ones), your dog will need a bath more often than one who’s happy with a stroll on a paved sidewalk.

Type of fur – It’s easier for dirt, little bugs and other debris to get trapped in a thick coated dog, so extra brushing can help as will a bath.

Can you bathe a dog too much?

Yes you can. Too many baths can deplete the natural oils, which can cause dry skin, itchiness, flaking and a lacklustre coat.

Just because your dog got into something or had a roll around on the ground, doesn’t mean he needs a full blown bath with shampoo every time. A quick shower or dunk in the sink (if he’s small enough) may be enough, and sometimes a good brushing will do the trick.


I’m a dog trainer specializing in helping shy, fearful and aggressive dogs.

Does your dog go after other dogs and people while on a walk? Is he or she petrified of fireworks and thunderstorms? Does he growl or even nip when someone goes near his food bowl or treats? Is he scared of the vet? Men? Children? Visitors to your home?

All sessions are conducted via Zoom, at a time convenient for you.

Get in touch today to book your FREE 15 minute, no obligation call. It will give you the chance to let me know what’s going on, and we’ll talk about how I can help. I can be reached via my FB page or website.




  1. K Baker

    Your information was very helpful!!! I appreciate you taking the time to post this.
    Pit Bull mommy 😊😊😊

    1. Hindy Pearson

      I’m glad you found it helpful.


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