Bath time is fun time for some dogs. For others, it is a terrifying ordeal that involves soap, water and loud plumbing noises that make the animals feel panicked and trapped. But doggie baths are necessary either way, whether your pet enjoys it or not, because it reduces shedding, infections and allergies and minimizes the spread of dirt and germs in the house.
And if you re-think your bathing strategy and make some adjustments to the routine, your unwilling pet could possibly develop more tolerance to the activity and be less anxious during bath time. Here are 11 ways to bathe your dog right, and make it a more positive experience for both of you:
# 1: Sweeten Memories Of Bath Time With Treats
• By associating treats with a bath, dogs have something pleasurable to look forward to. Especially with pups, it’s a good idea to use treats to lure them into a bathroom without a fight.
# 2: Brush Before A Bath
• Matted hair retains water, which can irritate your dog’s skin. A thorough brush down will remove most of the knots, and it will calm the animal before the dreaded bathing begins.
# 3: Gather Everything You Need
• Prepare the bathroom in advance and keep everything you need close at hand. It’s hard to go get a brush or a towel at the last minute with a struggling dog already in the water.
# 4: Don’t Let Dog Hair Clog The Drain
• Put a piece of steel wool in the drain to catch all the dog hair and prevent it from clogging.
# 5: Don’t Make The Water Too Hot Or Too Cold
• Your pet cannot tell you if the water is feeling too hot or too cold for comfort, so make sure the water is always lukewarm. As when bathing babies, check the temperature on your forearm because that area is more sensitive to heat than your hands.
# 6: Protect The Ears
• A lot of dogs panic at the thought of water getting into their ears. In any case, it’s not a good thing, so protect the ears at all times. Plug them with cotton balls if your dog will allow it, or fold down the ear to keep the inside dry.
# 7: Wash From Neck Down
• Your dog will feel less anxious if you keep soap and jets of water off his face altogether. Wash from neck down and clean the face with a damp washcloth instead.
# 8: Don’t Use Your Own Shampoo
• Dog skin has a different Ph balance than human skin, so using your own shampoo to bathe your pet can leave his skin extremely dry. Mild baby shampoos aren’t a great choice either. Find a good pet shampoo, such as a soothing oatmeal, and use that instead.
# 9: Manage The Shake Off
• As soon as a bath is over, dogs give themselves a nice, hearty shake and possibly leave you soaked in the bargain. Stop him from doing this by gently holding his muzzle. If a dog cannot shake his head, he cannot shake his body either! Once he is toweled down and dry, let him enjoy shaking himself as much as he likes.
# 10: Be Careful With The Blow Dryer
• Blow dryers are a boon, especially during cooler months, if your dog does not mind it. When using a dryer, always be alert to the fact that you can burn his skin by holding the nozzle in one place for too long. Keep the dryer 12-18 inches away and move it around quickly, so the hot air is not hitting any part of his body for a few more seconds than is tolerable or comfortable.
# 11: Use Multiple Towels
• One towel is rarely enough, unless you have a really small dog. Place one towel on the floor, another on the body, and then work with a third one to dry off the face, ears and neck first. Use a gentle, massaging motion to keep your dog calm through the drying process.