How to Build a Dog Washing Station

Make bath time more comfortable and convenient for you both — and keep the mess out of your house.

Time

Multiple Days

Complexity

Intermediate

Cost

$501-1000

Introduction

Make bath time more comfortable and convenient for you both — and keep the mess out of your house.

Tools Required

  • Circular saw
  • Cutting guide
  • Drill
  • Finish nailer
  • Jigsaw
  • Miter saw
  • Plumbing tools
  • Router
  • Table saw
  • Tiling tools

Materials Required

  • 1-1/2" brad nails
  • 1-1/2” trim-head screws
  • 1-1/4" magnets
  • 1/2" PEX pipe
  • 1/2" x 3' x 5' GoBoard
  • 1/2" x 4' x 4' Baltic birch plywood (1)
  • 1/4" aluminum channel
  • 1/4" x 12" x 30" plexiglass
  • 1/8" x 1-1/2" flat steel (for step catches) (16")
  • 10" drawer slide (pair)
  • 18" drawer slide (pair)
  • 2" trim-head screws
  • 20" drawer slide (pair)
  • 28" drawer slide (pair)
  • 2x4 x 10' (7)
  • 2x4 x 8' (6)
  • 3" exterior screws
  • 3/4" x 4' x 8' Baltic birch plywood (4)
  • 30" drawer slide (pair)
  • 32" x 48" shower pan
  • Miscellaneous plumbing fittings & pipe
  • Mortar
  • Polyurethane caulk/sealant
  • Shower fixture
  • Tile (24 square ft.)
  • Wood glue

Our dog frequently returns from her outdoor romps with a big helping of dirt. Sure, I could haul her to the bathtub, getting my clothes and the floor filthy. But now that I’ve built a dog washing station in the garage, the mess never has to come inside.

A pull-out staircase makes it easy for my dog to step up to a comfortable working height, so I don’t have to stoop to wash those dirty paws. And all my cleaning supplies store neatly inside the steps

Getting Started

Every house’s plumbing is different. To see the basic plumbing, check out Figure B. Aside from that, this is a pretty straightforward project: standard wall framing and some tiling. I eliminated the hard part of tiling by using a preformed shower pan. The stairs require precise measuring and cutting, but we’ll walk you through the details. 

The size of the dog shower depends on the shower pan you buy, which depends on the size of your dog. So before cutting any parts, buy a shower pan that will comfortably hold your dog. Next, determine the shower pan height. For your comfort working, it should be about the height of your wrists when your hands are at your sides. 

To find the height of the walls, measure to your dog’s shoulder and add three to six inches to that. That total gives you the height of the walls above the pan. Keep in mind that design changes might be needed to accommodate the specific shower pan you buy.

I used high-end materials on this project, so don’t let the price tag scare you. You can substantially trim the cost by choosing home center plywood, inexpensive fixtures and tile (or plastic wall panels). You could also skip the stairs, which would save you a bundle on drawer slides.

Project step-by-step (16)

Step 1

Build the Frame

With the dimensions and design finalized, build and assemble the walls — 2x4s 16-in. on center — and deck frame (A – F). Support the deck at the desired height while attaching it using temporary blocks on the wall framing. Screw on the deck platform (G), and then cut the drain hole. Size the hole generously so you have extra room if you ever need to work on the drain.

Step 2

Set the Pan

A standard fiberglass shower pan forms the dog wash basin. Install the drain in the shower pan ($250 at home centers), then apply construction adhesive to the decking and set the shower pan in place. Typically a shower pan is set in mortar, but this pan won’t have to support a person so I skipped the mortar. Screw through the pan’s flange into the wall framing to fully secure it.