If you're like a lot of pet owners, when it comes to bathing your dog it can be a real battle. In fact, there have been numerous videos that have gone viral highlighting the outrageous lengths dogs will go to in order to avoid the process. While there are new products on the market to make the ordeal easier and less messy, there are a few things that you can do to make bath time smoother and safer for both of you.
Before we dispense with the tips, you should know that the ASPCA recommends that you give your dog a bath at least once within a three month period. That's a minimum of four times a year. A lot of this, however, depends on breed and skin conditions. Many veterinarian dermatologists suggest a more regular schedule, and for some as frequent as once a week. Again, this depends on the dog.
Before you begin, it's a really good idea to brush your dog thoroughly to remove any excess fur or snarls before wetting them. This will make your job easier and lessen the amount of hair in your drain. If you have a small sieve-type drain basket, put it in place before putting him or her in the tub. While you're at it, place a non-slip rubber mat in as well to ease fears of falling.
It's also a good idea to stick cotton balls in their ears before bathing in order to keep water out. This is especially important for dogs with deep ear wells and those prone to ear infections. You can try putting a small amount of Vaseline on them first so they don't absorb water during the bath.
Make sure you're using products specially formulated for dogs. If you use flea prevention products, you can choose shampoos/soaps that won't strip it away. You should also consider shampoo/conditioners free of allergens your pet might be susceptible to and products created for certain types of skin conditions.
Finally, have all your towels handy for drying off so that you can remove your dog quickly after they've shaken off as much water as they can (if you sit with them for a moment after turning the water off, they'll do this on their own).
Ready, Set, Go! It's Bath Time
Now that you've prepped, it's time to get started. Shut the door to the room they bathe in so they can't try and escape and to keep any drafts from creating a chill. Next, remove their collar. If they're really hesitant and just hate having a bath, try giving them a treat and some extra affection first. Maybe bring a tug toy in and get them riled up with excitement. This positive reinforcement can eventually lead to a smoother experience.
If the sound of water rushing into the tub agitates them, fill the tub first, always using warm (not hot) water. Once they're in, start by shampooing their neck, chest and throat working backwards to the tip of their tail and then down the legs to the toes. Pay special attention to areas fleas congregate, like the base of the tail, shoulders, throat and neck. Use a washcloth on their face and head to avoid getting soap in their eyes and water in their ears.
Once the sudsing and conditioning are complete, rinse thoroughly with more warm water. A spray shower attachment hose will make the entire job quicker and easier.
Tips for Drying Your Dog
If your dog is small enough, you can scoop them up and wrap them in a towel. Have two on hand, because after the first soaks through you can finish buffing them dry with the second. For larger dogs, you may want to bring three. Throw the towel over the dog and begin drying. You can do this while they're still in the bathing station. If you don't have a rug on the floor for them to step out onto to finish the job, then place a towel on the floor first.
If your dog will tolerate the noise, you can blow dry them, as long as it's placed on the lowest setting. Be sure and remove the cotton balls, if you used them. Regardless, dry their ears thoroughly. For dogs prone to ear problems, you can use an ear powder to absorb excess moisture. Follow the directions carefully.
Final Bathing Tips for Dogs
If you bathe your dog in a bathtub or shower, make sure the curtain is drawn throughout the bath and leave it shut until the final shake takes place. This will confine the water and any loosened dog hair from covering your bathroom walls.
Last but not least, don't put their collar back on until they're completely dry. The fur around their necks is usually the last place to finish drying and putting the collar on too soon could lead to chaffing and hair loss, which can lead to hot spots. During the damp period, don't let them outside either, because their instinct will be to immediately roll around in the grass or dirt, plus you don't want them out without their tags.
By following these simple tips for bathing your dog you can save you and your pal a lot of grief and hassle.