Must Haves For The Perfect Pet Shower In Your Home

Pets, particularly dogs, are a lot of things. They're loyal, loving, cute, curious, charismatic, optimistic, and upbeat, but one thing they're not is particularly hygienic. Our four-legged friends love the great outdoors. Whether they're frolicking through mud, gallivanting across rivers, sticking their nose in something unpleasant, or rolling in something worse, it's difficult to keep an active pet clean. That's why a custom-made pet shower is a great choice for the happy-go-lucky hound in your life.

A domesticated dog has come a long way from the wild wolf it once was. They now live under roofs, chill on sofas, and sleep on beds. Although, given the choice, they'd probably draw the line at regular showers, no one wants a muddy, matted ball of fur in their home that stinks to high heaven. If our canine friends are to enjoy the luxury of being treated like family members, there are a few hoops they need to jump through, and one of them leads straight into a sanitized environment of steam, water, and soap. Creating a special area in your home to keep your dog clean is both practical and fun. Yet the devil is in the details, and there are a lot of things you need to ensure your pet shower is equipped with to make the whole process as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.

Why pet showers have become so popular

Once considered the barking mad whim of the rich and famous, pet showers are fast becoming a must-have for any dog-friendly home. In 2018, The New York Times revealed that luxury homebuilders the Toll Brothers offered them as an option in any new build. Their marketing department explained that potential buyers are attracted to their "kind of controlled chaos aspect." Owner of GreenRose Fine Homes and Design, Ken Malian, added that dog showers would become as routine as laundry rooms in most homes. He explained, "The fact is, when you walk dogs, whether you're out in fields or walking on the sidewalks, your dogs pick up salt and mud."

Keeping our pooches clean has always been an epic struggle, but with a purpose-built shower in an existing mud or utility room, the tough just got a lot easier. Having one purpose area in your home to wash your dog and dry them off lets you give them free rein for the rest of your home. You won't have the gnawing worry that they're only one muddy paw from decimating your oxblood Chesterfield or ruining your prize Morrocan rug. Teacher Kate Whyte told The Daily Mail that she has absolutely no regrets about investing in a marble-effect wash area with gold taps for her cockapoo Freddy. "When I said what I wanted, people thought I was bonkers, but it's been great."

You'll need plenty of towels

When a dog gets wet, it can appear like they've absorbed a river's worth of moisture. Drying our furry friends can be as challenging as cleaning them, and for your pet shower to fire on all cylinders, you'll need plenty of towels on hand. As soon as most canines become aware that the shower is ending, they'll want to get out of the tub and fast. Here's when you need to engulf them with a towel big enough to cover them from top to toe. You'll need to act quickly as well because, in all their adrenalized relief, wet hounds have a habit of leaping at you like a bull from a gate.

If you opt to use standard, everyday towels, you'll need at least two. One to absorb the initial soaking and another to dry them off properly. However, in an age where we're spoiled for choice when it comes to dog accessories, plenty of specially designed dog-drying towels are on the market. Made from top-quality microfiber, these towels do not absorb as much water as regular towels and are very quick-drying, which might make them the perfect pick for your pet shower. Make sure to store them nearby, so you can grab one as soon as you need it. Also, ensure you keep a towel handy for yourself. Bathing your mutt can be a very hands-on experience, and some owners have even been known to do it in swimming costumes.

Add non-slip mats to keep your dog safe

Safety is paramount when it comes to designing a pet shower. You should ensure the lip isn't too high off the floor so dogs don't risk hurting their backs when they get in and out. Expecting them to jump over a ledge that's as high as a bathtub is a recipe for disaster. Once they can access the shower easily, you should also consider investing in a non-slip mat to keep your best friend grounded when you're washing them. When that hot water hits their fur, a hound can get a bit jumpy, and they have a habit of moving around in an effort to get comfortable. If their claws and paws start slipping on the shower floor, it will cause them to panic and could even lead to injury.

You can avoid this simply by investing in a mat that will keep your pet safely stuck to the floor. Not only will it keep them safe from harm, but it'll make the entire experience a lot more pleasant. Always remember that despite being blessed with four-wheel drive, dogs are big fans of stable surfaces. Depending on the size of the area, you may also want to place a few non-slip mats in the vicinity surrounding the shower. If your four-legged friend is the nervous type when being showered, it's also advisable to keep their collar on so you've got something to hold onto when the going gets tough.

Add a hook for a safety harness for skittish dogs

Either because of genetics or experience, some dogs are a lot more skittish and prone to panic than others. You've got your work cut out trying to coax such an animal into the shower, let alone bathe them successfully. That is why a safety harness may be required if you feel your pet has a nervous disposition. A tether anchor or strong hook can be drilled into the tiled walls of most showers. Failing that, there are some strong suction devices on the market that are perfect for attaching any leash to your dog's safety harness.

Remember, any tail-wagger has the potential to panic when they're being bathed. Although they adore swimming and plowing through puddles, they're in the driving seat in such situations. In the shower, it's a different story. They're subjected to being handled and moved in ways that may not agree with them. Create positive associations with bath time, and who knows, maybe the safety harness will soon become a thing of the past.

Functional and wipeable surfaces are essential

When those steaming jets of water blast all that dirt and debris off your dog, it's got to go somewhere. The drain swallows up some of it, but a lot of it ends up on the walls. Naturally, using tiles is pretty much a no-brainer when it comes to pet showers. After all, functional and wipeable surfaces are the key to success. But the question is – what tiles are best for the needs of our furry friends?

As a rule of thumb, ceramic tiles are most pet parents' go-to choice. They look good and are resistant to water, stains, scratches, and as a big plus, even bacteria. They are very durable and a walk-in-the-park to clean, which is important for keeping your pet shower hygienic and mold-free. However, if you want to get a little more design-conscious, faux marble, grid, and faux wooden tiles are also a good choice for the canine owner who wants their dog to be bathed in a sleek and aesthetic environment. 

An easily maneuverable and handheld shower head is a must

When showering your fur baby, it's always important to reduce the distance between the water source and their body to avoid unnecessary splashes. Therefore, an easily maneuverable, handheld showerhead with an extendable hose is a must. However, the greatest asset of a portable and easy-to-use water source is that it enables you to get to hard-to-reach areas of your dog. It's no good just splashing a little water on your pup's back and hoping for the best. Active hounds require a deep clean from top to tail, and you must get up close and personal to get the job done right.

With a handheld shower attachment, you can fully dictate the flow of the water and get maximum bang for your buck. It's wise to get one equipped with a shut-off valve, so you reduce the flow of water when needed. For example, when you need to apply shampoo to your tail-wagger or when it's time to dry them off.

Waterproof jars full of treats and toys will come in handy

Dogs are lovable, good-natured, and honest souls with many admirable traits. However, they are not renowned for having a formidable attention span. This is great news if you need to take your pup's mind off the horror of being washed by getting them to focus on something else, such as a treat or toy! Having a waterproof jar full of tasty snacks and their favorite toys nearby is a great way to distract, amuse, or reward them when they begin to remember how much they hate showers.

Ensure the waterproof jars have easy-access lids because you'll sometimes need their contents in a hurry to calm an agitated or anxious dog. Don't be afraid to reward your pooch for good behavior with treats when in the shower. Likewise, if they appear to be disappearing into their dark place, amuse them with a toy. Alongside edibles and amusements, it's wise to keep a stash of other pet accessories in jars near your shower, such as brushes, nail clippers, shampoo, and toothbrushes. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

A ramp or steps can make it more accessible for your pets

Just as dogs come in all different shapes and sizes, so should your pet shower. The entrance to the bathing area should be easily accessible for your little pooch, and if they are old or have mobility issues, you may want to consider equipping it with a ramp or steps to make it more accessible. Older dogs in particular can benefit from a helping hand when it comes to getting in and out of the shower. A ramp or steps ensures your four-legged friend doesn't have to jump and add any more wear and tear to their tired joints. You may think picking them up is an answer, but that comes with its own problems and is not an option if they're a big mutt.

Although ramps require more room, they are a better option if your dog has mobility issues. However, both options are great for giving your four-legged friend the dignity and independence they greatly appreciate. When purchasing steps, consider your dog's leg size and what it can manage comfortably. Most tail-waggers prefer wider steps, so also take that into account. For ramps, make sure it comes with a grippy surface and can hold the weight of your fur baby. Both stairs and ramps require adequate room, so ensure you have plenty. If you don't, consider getting a moveable one so you can store it in a closet when not in use.

Use a screen over the drain to catch dog hair

If dogs have one thing to spare, it's hair! Every inch of their body is covered with it, and if you think they malt a lot on dry land, just wait until they get in the water. Alongside all that muck and grime, they'll also seem to shed a few wigs' worth of hair. Which is bad news if it hits the plughole and disappears down the drain. To avoid the costly expense of calling in a plumber to fix a blocked pipe, it's shrewd to invest in a screen over the drain to catch any pet hair before it becomes a problem.

However, some pet hair is so fine that a normal catcher won't be able to scoop up all of the hair. In that case, you can use a baby wipe as a backup. All you need to do is put the baby wipe over the drain and then put a plug over it. Bathe your dog as you normally would, dry them off, and then return to the tub. Unplug the drain, and hold the baby wipe across the hole, using it as a sieve. It's a little more involved than a drain cover, but it will save you from pricey plumber bills.