How To Give A Jack Russell A Bath [6 Critical Steps]


If you own a Jack Russell Terrier and are beginning to catch a whiff of an odor or your Jack Russell has just finished a dirt-filled adventure, you may be curious how to give them a bath effectively.

Especially if this is your first time giving your Jack Russell a bath, and you are new to owning a Jack Russell in general.

I have been raising my Jack Russell for the past 2 years, and here is how I would go about bathing your Jack Russell Terrier correctly.

How do you give a Jack Russell Terrier A Bath?

A Jack Russell Terrier should only have a bath once every 4-6 weeks unless they are noticeably dirty or have rolled in dirt or mud while outside. Bathe your Jack Russell from the neck down with dog shampoo and adequately dry your Jack Russell following the bath to ensure odor does not return.

This is the shortest and most direct way to answer that specific question.

However, I think it would be much more enjoyable and helpful for all of you new Jack Russell owners if I break this down step by step and give you a quick reference guide to give your Jack Russell Terrier a bath like a pro.

Here is how I intend to deliver just that for you:


How Do You Give A Jack Russell Terrier A Bath?

Giving a Jack Russell a bath is easy if you do about 3 minutes of preparation.

The steps detailed below will break down how I recommend giving your Jack Russell Terrier a bath and the same methods I use to provide my Jack Russell a bath.


Step 1- Socialize and Make Your Jack Russell Terrier Comfortable with Baths

The first step is ensuring that you have your Jack Russell comfortable with the bath in the first place.

Some Jack Russell’s will have no issues with the bath, and some will not like it.

The more you expose your JR to baths starting at a young age, the better.

They may be hesitant or somewhat skittish initially.

Still, after you start massaging the shampoo into their fur, they will calm down.

Trust me, I went through the exact same thing.

In all honesty, compared to giving my yellow lab a bath, I would choose to give my Jack Russell every time.


Step 2– Prepare the Bathroom to Give Your Jack Russell A Bath

Preparing the bathroom before you get your Jack Russell into the bath is also recommended.

Mainly because once you have your Jack Russell in the bath itself, they tend to want out or will jump out of you need to walk away to grab something such as a towel.

This is obviously going to track water all over the bathroom and just a pain in general.

It is much easier to get a towel to dry your Jack Russell out and ready to go.

I would also place an additional towel on the floor near the tub and have your shampoo and everything ready to go before placing your JR in the tub.

Doing this can make it a quick 5-10-minute bath and make it easy to transfer your Jack Russell out of the bath and into the drying phase when you are done.


Step 3- Use Your Shampoo and Wash Your JR From The Neck Down

Next comes the shampoo and getting down to business, and getting your Jack Russell clean.

I personally like the smell of oatmeal, so I use the Earthbath Oatmeal Shampoo (Link to Amazon).

One key to remember when shampooing a Jack Russell is that a little bit of shampoo goes the distance.

You do not need a lot of shampoo otherwise, you will create too many suds, which can be a pain to rinse out.

Try using a push or squeeze of shampoo that is about equal to your index and middle finger width put together.

This is about the size of a nickel.

Push and scrub the shampoo into your Jack Russell’s fur.

You can either use your fingers pushing the shampoo from the neck down to the lower legs or you can use a rubber bath brush such as this one here (Link to Amazon).

The brush is more efficient, and my Jack Russell loves it when I use this brush, and it relaxes her, but that decision is ultimately up to you.

It is also essential that you keep water and shampoo out of your Jack Russell’s ears and eyes during this process.


Step 4-Use A Damp Wash Cloth to Clean Your JR’s Face

Keeping the shampoo and water out of your Jack Russell’s face, eyes and ears is easy if you make sure to use a damp washcloth for washing above the shoulders.

The shampoo is not needed on your JR’s snout or around the eyes.

If dirt is present, use a warm washcloth to rinse it out.

Shampoo can irritate your JR’s eyes and ears, so it is not worth it to try and clean your JR’s face or above the shoulders using shampoo.


Step 5- Dry, Your Jack Russell Terrier, Adequately Following the Bath

One of your last steps is to dry your Jack Russell adequately.

Ideally, do the majority of the drying while your Jack Russell is still standing inside of the shower or bathtub.

This can help eliminate the mess of your Jack Russell tracking water on the floor or shaking off excess water onto the walls and other bathroom fixtures.

Wipe your JR’s paws and wrap them in a towel, drying as much of the fur as possible.

If necessary, you can lose a blow-dryer on a low setting to complete drying, but it is not 100% necessary.

I typically never do this and have not had any issues.

The last tip I have for you when it comes to making sure your Jack Russell is dry is to not have your Jack Russell go back outdoors until they have thoroughly dried or are at least close to fully dry.

Going outside while damp can produce a musky odor.

Not to mention, if any dirt areas are outback in the yard, their damp paws may grab dirt relatively easily compared to if they could fully dry.


Step 6-Use Cotton Balls on Your JR’s Ears

This is also an optional step when giving a Jack Russell a bath.

Check your Jack Russell’s ears and see if they need to be cleaned with cotton balls.

Usually, dirty ears will appear with some gunk or dirt.

If you notice this after a bath, take a few cotton balls and clean the inside of your Jack Russell’s ear gently.


Using the Best Shampoo for A Jack Russell Terrier

When it comes to shampoo for a Jack Russell, it comes down to personal preference.

Most shampoos will get the job done, but one recommendation I have for you is to use a hypoallergenic shampoo.

This can help any of you with mild allergies to your JR’s and great scents are available.

I personally like the oatmeal shampoo made by Earthbath (Link to Amazon).

It comes in a few different scents, including Oatmeal, in addition to vanilla or almond.


How Often Do You Need to Give A Jack Russell Terrier A Bath?

Something many Jack Russell owners may not understand is that baths that occur too frequently can be counterproductive and remove natural oils from your Jack Russell’s coat.

I recommend giving your Jack Russell a bath every 4-6 weeks unless a dirty day permits a bath to take place sooner.

There is no need to bath your Jack Russell anymore than this unless they find themselves covered in dirt, mud, or other debris that they have found a way to get into.

Stick to every 4-6 weeks, and you will not have any issue and should not have a problem with your Jack Russell producing any odor.


Other Grooming Considerations with Jack Russell’s

Of course, giving your Jack Russell Terrier a bath is not the only grooming consideration you need to have in mind.

You have other things you should be completing or at least checking on.

One of those can include your Jack Russell’s nails.

When I give my Jack Russell a bath, I typically spot check the length of her nails to see if they need to be trimmed after the bath.

You can refer to my guide about how to trim your Jack Russell’s nails here.

If they need to be trimmed, immediately after a bath is a great time to get it done.

Otherwise, wait until they need clipped and worry about it later.


Itching Skin

Another time you may want to be expediting the time gaps between baths for your Jack Russell is if you notice anything different about their behavior.

If they are overly itchy or it appears their fur is bothering them, you may want to give them a bath and clean them well to see if this can help.

If it doesn’t take care of the issue, you need to contact your vet to ensure they don’t need any additional medications or have a more severe problem, such as fleas that need to be taken care of.


Do Not Irritate the Eyes or Over Sud The Shampoo.

In my video that I placed in this post above, you will notice how I stress never to wash your Jack Russel’s face with shampoo.

I recommend using a damp washcloth to complete this step and want to stress one more time not to overdo the shampoo around the eyes or mouth.

Shampoo can irritate your dog’s eyes severely, and it is also not good to allow water to get in your dog’s eyes or ears.

When washing your Jack Russell in the bath, stop the water and shampoo at the shoulders or the front chest on the other side of your JR and finish cleaning your dog above the shoulders with a washcloth.


Do Not Forget the Teeth With Your Jack Russell

The last step in the grooming that deserves to be on this list is dental care.

You have a lot of options for providing a little TLC towards your Jack Russell’s teeth.

First, you can brush your Jack Russell’s teeth if you prefer.

You can also just be sure to keep a healthy stock of teeth/dental chews around for your Jack Russell to chew on.

Jack Russell’s love to chew.

If you can use one of their favorite toys to promote healthy chewing, even better.


Giving A Jack Russell A Bath Is Easy, Do Not Stress It

Learning how to give a Jack Russell Terrier a bath is easy and is nothing to get to concerned over.

Stick to every 4-6 weeks for your JR’s bath and stick to the tips we have laid out here in this post, and you will be in great shape.

A clean Jack Russell is much more enjoyable to cuddle with.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your new Jack Russell’s and the journey ahead of you.


Share Your Thoughts About Giving A Jack Russell Terrier A Bath

Do you have any further recommendations you can provide the readers about giving a Jack Russell Terrier a bath?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Luna and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today, and we will see you again next time.

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded TerrierOwner.com to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

Recent Posts