7 Benefits of Using a Self-Service Dog Wash

When Janie Semprevivo opened Wag ‘N Wash more than a decade ago it was the first self-service dog wash in Bergen County, NJ and clients were lined up outside her salon waiting to bathe their dogs. The concept of self-service dog washes quickly gained popularity and today facilities are operating all over the U.S.

Some—like Semprevivo’s salon—offer professional services in addition to self-service dog bathing. Others are set up in pet stores where they offer bathing facilities and supplies including shampoos, conditioners and aprons but not personalized assistance. And more recently coin-operated facilities are becoming popular. These facilities automatically dispense water and shampoo and are set on timers similar to automatic car washes. In fact, the Hudson Valley, NY chain Foam and Wash Car Wash operates a Foam and Wash Dog Wash service right next door.

Semprevivo advises dog owners to do some research before choosing a self-service dog washing facility.  For example you want to know if tubs are disinfected between each use to prevent the spread of disease. It’s also important that staff are on hand if you need help using the equipment or to unclog drains if you are in the middle of bathing your dog.

Following are seven benefits of using a self-service dog wash:

No gigantic mess to clean up at home

If you’ve ever washed a dog at home in the bathtub or shower you know the mess it causes. The dog shakes before you have the towel ready and the bathroom walls are covered in water and hair. Using an off-site bathing facility means you come home with a clean dog and leave the mess behind.

No aching knees and back

It’s definitely hard on the back leaning over a bathtub or on the knees crouching in the shower to wash your dog. Self-service dog washes offer elevated tubs and blow drying tables so there’s no bending required. Many also offer steps and ramps so you don’t have to lift the dog into the tub.

No more dog hair clogging the drains

Pet hair and fur is dense and more likely to clog your drain. Unclogging drains is a dirty job and sometimes involves the help of a plumber.

Absorbent towels and professional pet dryers

You no longer have to worry about clogging your washing machine with towels covered in dog hair. Using a professional pet dryer means you do a much better job in less time than using a human blow dryer at home.

Affordable and convenient

Not everyone can afford to pay a groomer to bathe their dogs but they can afford the lower cost of using a self-service dog wash with all the amenities. Appointments are not necessary at many dog wash facilities so you can use it at a time that works for you.

Plenty of space to work

No more cramming yourself and your dog into a small bathroom or shower stall. In addition, some grooming salons work hard to offer a stress-free environment. At Wag ‘N Wash, for example, Semprevivo provides classical music and aromatherapy to help clients and their dogs relax.

Professional assistance

Many grooming salons that offer self-service dog washing facilities also provide professional assistance. At Wag ‘N Wash Semprevivo makes up shampoo and conditioner to suit an individual dog’s coat type or skin condition. For an extra fee, clients using the self-service dog wash facilities can ask for nail clipping, de-shedding or de-matting services.  First-time clients also benefit from professional advice on how to bath, brush and blow dry their dogs.

“I’m right there grooming dogs and have a great view of the self-service baths so I can see if clients are having problems and I am happy to help them,” Semprevivo said.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Peggy B
Peggy B7 months ago


Marie W
Marie W11 months ago

tks for sharing

Naomi D
Naomi Dreyerabout a year ago

Sounds good to me.

Kelly S
Past Member about a year ago


Daniel N
Past Member about a year ago


Susan B
Susan Babout a year ago

We bathed our fox terriers at home either in the bath tub or in the deep half of an old double kitchen sink. Always had large bath sheets at the ready and another person who wrapped the dog when I lifted it out of water.

Daniel N
Past Member about a year ago

thank you

Maureen G
Maureen Gabout a year ago

Many years ago we had a mobile dog wash all set up on a trailer come around. Our neighbour had 2 poodles and I had a Rottie and a small heinz variety. The poodles were wash regularly and my two really didn't need to be bathed as much. However...both performed so much at the front gate when the dog wash arrived for the poodles that i relented and paid for them to be washed too as they absolutely loved it.

Amanda M
Amanda Mabout a year ago

One of those just opened up in the county seat. It's a car wash AND a pet wash, and it certainly got our attention! When we had our German Shepherd, we tried washing him in the bathtub ONCE as a puppy, and that was a total disaster! I don't know if it was the slippery tub or the echo of the water in the room or what, but he freaked out and we had to keep chasing him down the stairs (upstairs bathroom). And this was a half-grown German Shepherd, so you can imagine how much the bathroom and house got soaked from the water in his fur! After that, we only washed him outside and he LOVED that, especially when I simply ran the hose over him to cool him off after a walk on hot summer days. I bet he'd have hated this idea, but I can see how it would work for some dog owners, especially those in a small house or with limited bathroom space.

Mary B
Mary Babout a year ago

Sounds like a good idea, but never having seen the set up and how it works, I must with hold my opinion. When I had a dog, I only washed her during warmer months and it was done outside. After it was done she happily ran around and shook till she was just damp, then rolled on the grass fallowed by a good roll on the sandy drive way, then more running. Eventually she was brushed and flea free, with some sand added. But all was well. And she never hated baths.