Does the thought of giving your dog a bath make you have nightmares? Fear no more! We've pulled together some of the best tips and tricsk to make bath time a breeze. Soon, your dog's bath time will go from being a stressful situation to a calm cleaning session!
Start with the Right Products
Before you take fido into the bath, you'll want to make sure that you are equipped with all of the right products. First and foremost is a good quality shampoo. The shampoo that you use for your hair won't work—humans and dogs have different ideal pH levels for their skin, so using human shampoo on your dog would damage his skin and coat. Choose a shampoo specifically made for dogs and one that's right for your dog's coat type and skin needs. These days, you can find a shampoo that's right for long fur, short fur, sensitive skin, and everything in between!
Does your dog have sensitive skin that's prone to itching? Choose a shampoo with gentle, soothing ingredients like oatmeal and honey. Try:
Dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors can benefit from flea- and tick-preventing shampoos and shampoos specifically formulated for deodorizing. Try:
Is your dog's white/light colored coat lacking it's usual luster? You can even find shampoos that are formulated to brighten your dog's coat. Try:
Overwhelmed by your options and not sure what to choose? A basic, hypoallergenic shampoo is always a good bet. Try:
You also may want to consider using a good quality conditioner on your dog. Not all dogs will need conditioner, but it might be helpful if your dog has a very long coat, no undercoat, itchy skin, or bathes more than once per month. If this is the case, you might find that a conditioner is worth purchasing.
Before your dog dips his paws into the water, there are a few steps that you can take beforehand to make the actual bathing process as smooth and quick as possible. Brushing your dog beforehand will help to take out tangles from his coat so that shampoo is easier to apply, and it will loosen up fur that is already aready about to come out. This way the fur will come out when you shampoo your dog, and it won't end up all over your couches and carpets. To that note, you'll also want to put some sort of hair catcher in your drain so that your pipes don't get clogged with dog fur.
Another important step is getting your bath station prepped before bringing your dog in. Have your towels handy and your shampoo within arm's reach. If the bottom of your tub is slick, putting a towel on the bottom will prevent fido from slipping and sliding around. You should also bring some of your dog's favorite treats into the bathroom, espeically if your dog is an unwilling participant when it comes to bath time. Using positive reinforcement will reassure your dog that taking a bath is a good thing and that he can tolerate the experience if not enjoy it.
The time has finally come! You've picked out the best shampoo, you've given your dog a thorough brushing, and your towels and treats are on standby. Now for the main event—bathing your dog. That's the easy part, right? Maybe not, but there are some tips to remember to help your dog through bath time if he's not jumping into the bath with excitement. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm. If you start to get frustrated when your dog is not cooperating, he will sense your energy and become more distressed. Use a treat or two to coax your dog into the bathroom and into the tub, and if he resists, simply do your best to calmly get him into the tub and get to work. If your dog could use some distractions in the bath, you can find treat mats that will suction to the side of the tub. Smear a bit of peanut butter on one of these, and you'll have to start convincing your dog to get out of the bath instead of into it.
Once fido is in place, quickly get to work with the shampoo. Use a cup or a bowl to pour water over your dog to get him wet, being careful to avoid getting water in his eyes or ears, then squeeze on the shampoo. Starting at the neck, create a good lather (you can even purchase a bathing brush to help with this, especially if your dog has a thick coat), making sure to get down to the skin. This will ensure that your dog's skin will have a barrier to protect against ticks and fleas. Go all the way to his tail, and then apply conditioner if necessary. Now it's time to rinse. Make sure you thoroughly rinse your dog with clean water from the tap. Properly rinsing out shampoo will make sure that your dog's bath lasts longer and that his skin won't flake from leftover shampoo residue.
After rinsing, throw a towel over your dog to prevent the dreaded shake that will spray your whole bathroom with water (including yourself!). Take care to dry his face, ears, and paws, then towel off his body. If your dog has a shorter coat, you may be fine just letting him air dry. If he has a thick or long coat, taking the extra time to blow dry his fur will speed up the drying process. Make sure your hair dryer is set to the coolest setting, or use a blow dryer specifically designed for dogs that will blow room temperature air. Finish off with a treat and lots of praise, and also give yourself a pat on the back for successfully giving your dog a bath!