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How to Give Your Dog a Spa Day at Home: 11 Amazing Tips & Ideas

Written by: Chantelle Fowler

Last Updated on June 3, 2024 by Dogster Team

Woman giving body massage to a dog

How to Give Your Dog a Spa Day at Home: 11 Amazing Tips & Ideas

Many dog groomers now offer doggy spa services to give you a break and give your dog an awesome spa experience. The downside of these services is that they can be extremely expensive, and if you’re on a budget, it is probably impossible to find any wiggle room for non-essentials. The good news is that you can recreate this spa experience for your pup without even leaving your home and save money while doing so. Read on to find our tips for creating the best DIY dog spa day for your pup.

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Before You Begin

If you’ve been to a spa before, you know that the true spa experience begins the moment you walk through the doors. So, before you call your dog in for his first treatment, let’s get everything we need to make the experience fun and calming.

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The 11 Tips & Ideas on How to Give Your Dog a Spa Day at Home

Ideas for Giving Your Dog the Best At-Home Spa Day

1. Set the Scene

Your goal is to make the spa environment as calm and peaceful as possible. Studies show that playing classical music results in relaxed behaviors, so put on a specially curated doggy playlist like this one on Spotify to promote a calming and relaxing environment.

woman listening to a music with her dog at home
Image Credit: Monkey Business Images, Shutterstock

2. Gather Your Tools

You’ll need several tools on hand to complete your doggy’s spa experience. The exact equipment you’ll require will depend entirely on what treatments you plan on performing. At the very least, you’ll need grooming tools like brushes, dog shampoos, nail clippers, and towels.


3. Choose the Right Time & Day

Dogs can have ‘off’ days just like us, so make sure you’re choosing a day when your pup is happy to have your spa day. The last thing you want is to try to give your dog what is supposed to be a relaxing spa treatment when they are all wound up or anxious.

Dog Owner Belly Rub Couch
Image Credit: Evelyn Chou, Shutterstock

4. Plan It Out

Plan your dog’s entire spa day from start to finish and have all the necessary tools on hand to ensure it goes smoothly.

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Tips for Giving Your Dog the Best At-Home Spa Day

5. Start With a Workout

Consider starting your spa day with a good workout to help your pup burn off excess energy and make them easier to handle. You don’t need to take them out for a vigorous run if that’s not something they enjoy. The workout could be something as simple as playing fetch in the backyard or going for a walk around the block. Keep it short and sweet, and make it all about your pooch and doing what they love doing most.

border collie dog playing fetch with the male owner
Image Credit: elbud, Shutterstock

6. Move Into Massage

Massages are a great way for not only humans but also dogs to loosen up and relax. Dog massage is sometimes used as a complementary therapy in veterinary medicine to treat conditions like arthritis and help pups heal from injuries. Deep tissue massages should be left to the professionals as they use strategic and sometimes intense pressure for their treatments. However, you don’t need to be a professional masseuse to give your dog a relaxing massage.

After getting your pup calmed down post-exercise with some pets from one end of his body to the other, you can try using more involved strokes.

Here are some techniques you can try at home:
  • Backstroke: Beginning at the back of your pup’s head, stroke up and down the sides of his spine using light pressure. Don’t touch the bones here; we’re really focusing on the sides of the spine.
  • Forehead rubs: Starting at the top of your pup’s nose, use gentle pressure to run your thumb down and over the head. Go back and forth slowly, keeping the pressure light.
  • Ear rubs: Beginning on the inner side of your pup’s ear, apply gentle pressure with your thumb and keep your index finger outside of the ear. Slowly rub out towards the end of the ear and finish with a gentle pull if your dog seems open to it.

If your dog isn’t open to these massage techniques, try using a massage brush with rubber bristles.


7. Don’t Forget the Nails

If you’re comfortable trimming your dog’s nails, post-massage when he is relaxed and calm is a great time to do so. Clip the nails using dog-specific clippers, but watch carefully for the quick hidden inside the nail. Even a little snip of the quick can cause bleeding and distress.

If you want, you can even use dog nail polish like this set from Warren London to make your pup really stand out. Of course, we do not recommend this if your dog isn’t comfortable with the process. The last thing you want to do is make them uncomfortable or anxious about what should be a relaxing and fun spa day.

Shiba Inu dog paw groom nail polish
Image Credit: BY-_-BY, Shutterstock

8. Nail Bath Time

Nailing bathtime can feel like a losing battle, especially if your pup isn’t particularly fond of getting bathed. To increase your chances of success, turn on the water in your tub and get the temperature just right before bringing your dog into the bathroom. If he’s not a big fan of bath time, try coaxing him with treats, but don’t force him into doing anything he doesn’t want to do.

Choose a dog-friendly shampoo with a nice scent and powerful formula. We like the Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo as it’s made with safe and natural ingredients and is nourishing and soothing for the skin.


9. Dry Off With a Towel or Dryer

Once bath time is complete, rub your pup down with a dry towel. Regardless of how much towel drying he lets you do, he’ll still want to shake the excess water from his fur, so be prepared with an extra towel in the bathroom to clean up that mess. If your dog allows you, you can also use your hairdryer on the lowest heat and speed setting to speed up drying time. Keep the dryer several inches away from his skin to avoid burning him.

corgi dog with towel after wash in the bathroom
Image Credit: Max4ePhoto, Shutterstock

10. Brush Him Right

Once your pup is dry, or at least mostly dry, brush him from head to tail and top to bottom. Take your time with this step, as this is something many dogs enjoy. Using the right tools can make this job easier for you and more comfortable for your pup, and it can have a huge impact on the health and condition of your pet’s coat and skin. There are many different brush and comb types and countless models on the market, so choosing the right tool can feel impossible. Here are some of the most useful brushes and the coats they’re suited for.

Slicker Brushes

Slicker brushes have short, tightly packed wire pins designed to go through your dog’s coat to remove mats and loose hair without touching the skin.

  • Best suited for: Medium, long, wire, or curly coats
woman brushing her french bulldog at home
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Pin Brushes

Pin brushes are similar to slicker brushes, but their pins have plastic or rubber tips to prevent scratching the skin. They’re great for finishing brushes to smooth hair and remove dirt.

  • Best suited for: Long, wire, and silky coats

Bristle Brushes

Bristle brushes consist of natural or synthetic bristles and are meant to remove dander and loose hair while stimulating the skin.

  • Best suited for: Short and double coats

Undercoat Rakes

Undercoat rakes look like pin brushes but with fewer and longer pins. They are meant to reach the undercoat to remove mats and loose hair.

  • Best suited for: Double and heavy coats
Dog groomer using undercoat rake
Image Credit: DenisProduction.co, Shutterstock

Shedding Blade

Shedding blades are horseshoe-shaped combs with much less harmful teeth than their name would suggest.

  • Best suited for: Short or combination coats

11. Enjoy a Treat

For the final touch, offer him one of his favorite high-value treats as a reward for a job well done. Feel free to give yourself a treat, too. You deserve one!

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Final Thoughts

The best thing about doing a DIY doggy spa day at home is that you can cater your dog’s treatments to his likes and dislikes. You know your pup best, so pick and choose the activities you know will give him the most satisfying and relaxing day with his favorite person.


Featured Image Credit: Rasulov, Shutterstock

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