We all love our dogs and the joy they bring to us each and every day. But, let’s face it. Sometimes, they need a LOT of help when it comes to cleanliness. They play in the mud, roll in something horrible, dig, run, sweat………. all of those things they think are fun, and sometimes exasperate us. And, with the holidays approaching and the time of year when a lot of us will be having company for the day, or a week, we want our dogs to put their best paw forward. Yes, there is a *proper* way to bathe your dog.
- First: Give them a good, deep-down brushing. This will remove all loose hair, dirt, dander, dry skin and any little burrs or pollen they may have embedded in their fur. This is also a good bonding experience between you and your dog.
- Gather your supplies so you have everything you need at your fingertips. Shampoo, cream rinse, towels, soft face cloths, ear cleaner and hair dryer, if you use one. The last thing you want to do is leave your dog in the tub while you dash off to grab a towel or scrubber. If bathing in your tub, a non slip surface will help your dog feel more secure and reduce risk of falling.
- Test the water first. Dogs don’t like a cold bath anymore than we do! Water should be lukewarm and comfortable.
- Use dog shampoo! This is very important. Shampoo for humans is, well, made for humans. There is a vast variety of dog shampoos from medicated to all natural. You should choose a shampoo made specifically for any issues your dog may have. Sensitive skin, fleas, dry skin, hot spots, stinky or just a good, cleansing shampoo. Also, use a good bath brush/scrubber. Most of them are designed to massage a dogs skin while removing dirt, debris, dry skin, loose hair and dander. Most dogs really enjoy the massage experience when done properly.
- Use cream rinse. This is an important step in grooming your dog, especially if they have longer hair. It will soothe their skin, remove tangles from their fur and is the perfect final step in the cleansing process.
- Don’t forget to wash their face and ears. Use a soft facial or microfiber cloth to clean their face. Wash their nose, under their chin, carefully around their eyes and don’t forget their ears. Ears should be cleaned gently with the cloth wrapped around your finger. Don’t dig too deep. A little ear cleaner will help loosen any dirt they may have in their ears and make removal much easier.
- Rinse well! A spray nozzle is very effective in helping remove the remains of any shampoo, conditioner, dirt or hair. Rinse until the water is clear and there are no signs of bubbles or loose hair. Avoid spraying water on their faces or in their ears. Don’t forget to rinse their paws too.
- Final step – towel dry. Big, soft, absorbent towels will do the trick. Start at their head and chest and work your way down their body, ending with the tail and paws. Depending on the size of your dog, this may take two or three towels to thoroughly dry your dog. I like to let my dog air dry after this step, but others like to use a blow dryer. If you use a blow dryer, it should be used on low speed, and a cooler temperature.
- Some people like to apply a flea spray or monthly flea/tick/mosquito control at this point. Dogs should be completely dry before any pest applications.
- Give her a treat when you’re done and let her know what a “Good Girl” she is! Canine Cupcakes is a perfect treat to reward your dog after their bath. They’re also a great treat to keep on hand during the holiday festivities when their normal routine will be interrupted for a few weeks.
Bath time can be an enjoyable experience when introduced at an early stage, and done on a regular basis. If it’s part of their routine, they will know what to expect and how good they feel after a good, deep cleaning. This will hopefully become something they enjoy, and not dread.