Save $15 And Wash Your Own Dog

by Scott on March 10, 2009

Sad puppy gets a bath.
photo credit: Clevergrrl

Coming out of a grocery store this weekend, I noticed a sign in front of Pet Food Express advertising a $15.00 self service dog washing center. I had to go in and inspect what $15 would buy and was surprised to find a very nice set-up with clean waist high shower areas and blow driers. Having two labrador retrievers, the cost would be $30 to bath my canine friends. I spoke to an employee who told me they were having a special if you purchased 3 dog baths, the 4th was free. Is it really worth $15 to take my dogs to a store and bath them myself?

What’s the time and cost of washing your own dog?

1. Time. It take me approx 20 minutes to rinse, soap, rinse and dry off one of my dogs. If I got in the car and drove the dogs to Pet Food Express, it would add an additional 10 minutes.

2. Dog shampoo. I purchased a fairly inexpensive dog shampoo at the store and it’s lasted for almost a year now. Total cost of shampoo was $9.99.

3. Hair Drying.
I use old beach towels that we have set aside specifically to wash our pups. The store did have a large hose hair drying that would not require me to wash and dry my beach towels. This would save a little bit of time and resources. I’ll say $3.00

4. Water.
If your dog requires warm water baths, it would add a little additional cost to your home utilities. I would imagine it would cost about the same as a long 20 minute shower. If you did take your dog to a self service dog store, you could bath them as long as you like. I doubt though you would want to make a day out of it. An extra money saving tip: you could jump in the shower with your dog and save time and money by conserving water. Just be sure to use the correct shampoo on your pooch.

5. Extras?
No need to clean up. You can leave dog hair, water puddles and just walk out the door. How much is this worth to you?

If you have children at home, maybe you can wash your dog together as a family. That would certainly speed up the process and you probably will share a few smiles and laughs together. If you have several children, you could put one in charge of washing and another in charge of drying. Having a labrador that gets dirty constantly, the price could easily hit $30 during the rainy months.

Maybe you live in an apartment and don’t have a large shower or bathtub to wash your dog. Taking your dog to a self service dog wash or groomer may be your only option. Some breeds also require grooming and trimming, but fortunately that’s not needed with our labs. Although, I do have a neighbor that shaves his dogs each summer to help relieve them of the heat. I think my dogs would just run away if I approached them with a pair of hair clippers. Is it worth $15 dollars to make a mess of your yard and use a few towels?

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Home Zookeeper » Blog Archive » Do You Wash Your Own Dog?
March 11, 2009 at 3:45 am

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 lulugal March 10, 2009 at 7:28 am

We had an old fashioned concrete sink at the back of my house. It was very large and we used to put the dogs in there and bathe them.

Our dogs were also trained to stand on the concrete walkway and get a shower from a hose. We even had one dog who would go fetch the soap when it was raining…I guess she liked the rain and wanted a real rain shower.

2 megscole64 March 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm

We have 4 dogs…all big. Three are double coated Northern breeds. Washing them is NOT easy. The 4th is a little easier. Our dogs do not dry for at least 12 hours if we bathe them at home.

We’ve been paying between 30 and 60 per dog to have them professionally groomed. We don’t do it a lot…four or five times per year I’d estimate. But it’s expensive.

Now that I’m not so sure of my job we are trying to live off of one income and that is going to decrease the number of professional groomings.

The benefit of a professional though … shaving the fur on their paws and trimming their nails. Two things that we don’t do.

I wouldn’t pay $15 to bathe them myself…I can do that at home (we have one of those hose things with a spray nozel that attaches to the shower). I’d rather do minor baths at home and go to the professional once or twice a year. :)

3 Penelope @ Pecuniarities March 10, 2009 at 9:45 pm

We have 2 medium-rough coat Border Collies with pretty long hair and we just bathe them in the shower. We have a fairly roomy shower, so it’s not too crowded.

I doesn’t really take that much water if you turn the water off while you shampoo them. We also use baby shampoo, which is inexpensive and safer, we feel, than chemical shampoos.

Cleanup in the shower is easy; we just scoop up all the hair from the drain and put it in the trash after.

So I wouldn’t pay $15 to take my dog somewhere to get bathed. We’ve had dogs since we were kids and have always bathed them ourselves.

Of course it does depend on your living situation. Our dogs are indoor dogs so they don’t get that dirty anyway and don’t require very frequent bathing. We’re lucky to live in an area where we don’t have fleas or ticks, either.

And with the cost of gas to drive your dog to a grooming store, it might come out even with just using your own water at home.

4 Brandon March 12, 2009 at 11:11 am

I’m was guilty of spending a FORTUNE on getting my Golden Retriever groomed all the time, just because I HATED giving him a bath. Good, common sense advice brother!

5 karla (threadbndr) March 17, 2009 at 10:22 am

Molly Polly, my Border Collie/Austr. Shepherd cross is not bad to bathe – like all double coated breeds, she sheds. A LOT.

Where I run into trouble is clipping her nails. It’s such a rodeo (and I don’t have anybody to help) that it’s worth it to take her to the groomers every couple of months.

6 Lindsay March 22, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Or get a dog that has short fur and doesn’t need bathing. :P *cheers for vizslas*

My Dad does the “scrub-a-pup” place (it’s more like $20 where he lives), and I’m always surprised he’s willing to shell out for it. I can somewhat see the point to the groomer’s, where they’re going to do the work for you, but if you’re going to do it yourself, why not just use the tub and a bottle of dog shampoo (or a bar of soap) that’ll last for years?

7 Jason March 24, 2009 at 8:32 pm

We have 2 weimaraners who seem to find every pile of nasty stuff out there to roll in. I will wash them myself outside in spring, summer, and fall – but will take them to a place like this in the winter or whenever they are excessively dirty or smelly. I don’t need whatever it is they rolled in on my floors. Worth it then to not get my whole house dirty.

8 mark April 15, 2009 at 9:46 am

As one of the designer of the wash, I would like to add my comments.

The wash is 15 dollars for 25 minutes, not per animal. You can wash and dry as many animals as you can in 25 minutes, and we always have the buy 3 get the fourth free deal.

The tubs are raised, so you don’t have to bend over.

We use one of the best, all natural shampoos made in SF!

The design of the wash injects the soap into the water, making it much more effective and quicker than doing it at home.

You don’t have to deal with the hair. I still have dog hair in my bathroom from when I got washed my lab at home.

We handle the plumber. Dogs hair clogs your drains. Eventually, you will need to either use chemicals, or a plumber if you wash your pet routinely.

There are tie downs, so your dog does not run away.

Besides, PFE is locally owned and operated.


9 Edward August 23, 2009 at 9:21 pm

I think of all the comments on the subject, Mark just hit the jackpot! Thanks Mark L. ! Do I get a free token? Just kidding!

It’s great to have all the conveniences most of you have listed like a backyard or large shower but then most of us don’t especially living in a rented apartment.
I have 3 small short haired dogs and to put them all in a single raised tub, with all the amenities ie fresh large towels, sprays and dryer, sure makes lots of difference there. All with one token!

Your dogs can shake all they want and wet all over the place and you don’t even have to lift a mop!
No wet towels to wash, no dog hair clogging the drain,
no wet floor and the best part after the giving the bath, you are done! And you can also kill 2 birds with one stone! Shopping for your doggie’s needs afterwards!!

Oh and you are all dry too cos they provide you with an apron!
All I can say is, convenience, convenience, convenience!

Also, you get to make friends with other dog owners. As for me, I managed to get a few dates too! :)

Love my PFE! on Market Street!
See you all soon!


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