Dogs love to get dirty. It’s in their nature. Besides, dirt and fun always seem to mix. Whether after rambunctious visits to the dog park or for regular care, your best friend needs serious cleaning with soap and water.
A DIY dog washing station for your home takes you far beyond gritty tubs and sloppy bathroom floors to a dedicated pet care zone that lets you wash your dog—safely and comfortably for the both of you.
Basics of a Good DIY Dog Washing Station
Building a dog washing station is like creating a scaled-down, modified shower stall.
- Splash Control: Every dog owner knows that dramatic moment when the dog shakes off water. With 30-inch walls, this dog washing station controls most of those sprays and spills.
- Ideal Height: This DIY dog washing station is 30 inches high. That’s 6 inches lower than most kitchen counters. Most dog washing stations are at least 12 to 24 inches high to make it easier to reach the dog, but depending on your height and the size of your dog, you can scale the station to any height that works best for you.
- Hot and Cold Water Supply: Your canine companion appreciates tepid or room temperature water. Besides, warm water cleans better than cold water. For this, you’ll need a faucet with both hot and cold water supply.
- Drainage: Soapy wash water needs to go somewhere. This station drains into your home’s main drainage system.
This dog washing station installs in a spare bathroom, replacing the existing bathroom sink. When you choose this location, you have hot and cold water supply lines and drainage in place. Plus, since this is a bathroom, the flooring should already be water-resistant. You can also install a dog washing station in your laundry room by converting the utility sink and using its plumbing, assuming the utility sink already has hot and cold water lines.
Dog Washing Station Cost
It typically costs between $400 to $800 to build a shower for your dog as a DIY project with existing plumbing and budget materials. Purchasing a pre-made shower pan costs about $220-$350, but the project can quickly become more expensive if you add features like high-end tile for the shower floor and walls. Your dog washing station may cost closer to $1,500 or $2,000 with luxury finishes and the installation of new plumbing lines if needed.
Before Getting Started
Call your local permit office about whether permits are required. Typically, a one-for-one bathroom sink replacement will not require permits. However, because this is a unique installation, you may need permits. If you break into a wall elsewhere to access plumbing lines, you will need to obtain permits. Hiring a plumber to make the plumbing connection for your dog washing station may be best if you are unfamiliar with the process.
Equipment / Tools
- Circular saw
- Miter saw
- Utility knife
- Measuring tape
- Cordless drill
- Notched trowel
- Wet tile saw or rail tile cutter
- Grout float
- 1 fiberglass or acrylic shower pan, 60-inch by 36-inch
- 16 two-by-fours
- 1 3/4-inch plywood sheet, 4-foot by 8-foot
- 4 cement board sheets
- Construction adhesive
- Silicone caulk
- Thinset mortar
- PVC shower drain assembly
- P-trap drainage kit
- Handheld shower head assembly
How to Build a DIY Dog Washing Station
Cut the Wood
Cut the two-by-fours into 16 sections, each 60 inches long. Do not discard the remaining eight sections, each 36 inches long, as they will also be used in the station. Cut the plywood to produce a piece that is 60 inches long by 36 inches wide.
Build the Back and Side Walls
Build the three-walled dog wash enclosure as follows:
- Back Wall: A 60-inch section at the top and another parallel at the bottom. Four 60-inch sections run perpendicular between those two sections. Space those four 60-inch pieces evenly, making sure that the two side studs are at the very end.
- Left Wall: A 36-inch section at the top and another parallel at the bottom. Three 60-inch sections run perpendicular between those two sections. Space those three 60-inch pieces so that, moving from left to right, the first is at the end, the second is centered at 18 inches, and the third is at 32 inches.
- Right Wall: Build the right wall identical to the left wall.
Build the Internal Structural Rings
Build a rectangle from two 60-inch pieces of two-by-four parallel to each other, with two 36-inch pieces at the ends. Duplicate to make a second, identical ring.
Assemble the Walls
Assemble the back and side walls, along with the two structural rings. Place one ring at 30 inches high (or your desired height). Place the other ring at 6 inches above floor level. Nail the walls to the structural rings.
Install the Shower Pan
Nail or screw the plywood to the top of the upper structural ring. Squirt out a generous bead of construction adhesive, then press the shower pan down. Add weights evenly across the shower pan and let the glue cure for an hour or two.
Add the Cement Board
Screw the cement board sheets onto the back and side walls. Screw to the studs about every 8 inches.
Tile the Back and Side Walls
Install the tile on the walls. First, rake thinset mortar over the cement board with the notched trowel. Then, press the mortar into the tile. After the tile has fully set in place, drag grout across the tile with the rubber tile float.
Install the Drainage
Through the hole in the shower pan, cut a hole in the plywood below to the same diameter. Install the shower drain assembly from above. Below, install a new P-trap (or use the existing one) and then connect this to the home’s drainage system.
Install the Water Supply
Install the handheld shower head on the back wall of the washing station. Run the hot and cold water supply from the house to the back of the washing station and connect to the shower head regulator.
DIY Dog Washing Station Building Tips
- Lifting the dog up and down from the station can be difficult. Build stairs from ready-made deck stair stringers, found at most home centers.
- Shower pans come in a variety of sizes. For smaller dogs, you may want to scale down to a 36-inch by 36-inch square shower pan.
- Add a shower anti-slip grip mat to the shower pan to give your dog a more secure footing.
How often should a dog be bathed?
Most dogs should be bathed every 1-3 months, but different breeds require bathing at various intervals depending on their coats. To be certain, reference your breed's official organization for guidance. Dogs with longer hair need baths more often, as well as dogs that frequently get dirty outside. After the bath, wash your dog's bedding and accessories to help them stay clean longer.
What temperature should the water be when washing a dog?
In general, your dog will enjoy similar water temperatures as you do when taking a shower. Avoid making the water too hot during dog baths, but aim for a warm temperature that won't feel cold on their fur and skin. Between 90 and 98 degrees Fahrenheit is a comfortable range.
How do I dry my dog after a bath?
Most dogs can be dried with a standard hair dryer after a bath, but some may be afraid of it due to the sound. You can towel-dry your dogs or let their coats air dry if they aren't receptive to the hair dryer.