It may seem like a simple thing to do, but if you have never bathed your dog before and don’t know where to start, there are some hints and tips which can make it the experience a better one for both you and your dog!
When considering how often to wash your dog, always check breed facts, as some breeds (such as the Border Collie) shouldn’t be washed more than 2 or 3 times a year, and only in the summer months, never during the winter. With these types of dogs you can use special dog dry or no-rinse shampoo, which you sprinkle or spray onto the coat, then massage or brush through, leaving him cleaner and smelling sweeter.
Also considering your dog’s activity (for example how often he runs through the mud or the salty sea!)’ a good frequency would be once a fortnight to once a month. Any more frequently and you may run the risk of irritation as you remove the natural oils, especially if your dog has sensitive skin.
Most dogs will take to baths quite readily, as long as you make sure it is a relaxing and enjoyable experience. You can do this with encouragement through talking to your pet, keeping your calm. Offer a treat to coax him into the bath, and afterwards make a fuss and offer a treat again.
Which dog shampoo? Again, this depends on skin type, coat type and other factors such as whether you have a puppy.
Get everything ready first – This saves stress during bathtime! You’ll need shampoo, towels, scissors (for hair matts), comb & brush close at hand. Not forgetting your dog, and maybe someone else to help! It’s also a good idea to use an anti-slip mat in the bath.
Run a little warm water in the bottom of the bath, just enough to cover the feet. If you don’t have a shower attachment over your bath, have a small plastic jug to hand for wetting and rinsing.
Brush your dog’s coat thoroughly, then comb with a wide-toothed comb. Check for any skin problems, matted hair, fleas or ticks, and generally make a fuss of your dog so that he knows bathtime is not stresstime!
Now it’s time for the water. Using either the shower attachment or plastic jug, wet your dog’s coat thoroughly, all the time talking to him to maintain a calm, relaxed atmosphere. If this is his first bath then next time hopefully he’ll remember that it wasn’t a stressful or scary occasion.
Wash the head and face first only if the shampoo is a ‘non-sting’ type for eyes. Use warm water and a flannel or sponge, not forgetting under the chin. Also check the ears as these can get grimy and fleas & ticks like to hide in them, but bear in mind that damp ears are prone to infection so only use a slightly damp cloth and dry thoroughly.
Apply the shampoo, firstly to the back and tops of legs, then the neck, legs and tail, using massaging stroking movements of your fingers. Don’t forget his belly and chest, and make sure you wash all his creases and folds. Be careful not to matt or knot the coat by being too vigorous.
Rinse with clean warm water using the shower attachment or plastic jug. It is very important to make sure you rinse thoroughly, as leaving soap suds can cause skin irritation. Rinse the face gently, using your hand or a sponge if necessary.
After draining any water away, get a small towel and rub your dog as dry as you can while still in the bath, preferably before he has time to shake all over you and the bathroom! Remember to dry the inside of his ears as well, and all his folds and creases.
Once out of the bath, finish drying, and if tolerated use a hairdryer in the winter before he goes outside.
Make a fuss of your dog and give him a treat to let him know what a good boy he’s been 🙂
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