For new dog owners – and even long-time dog owners – bathing a dog can seem like a daunting task. As long as you follow a few key steps and get the right tools, your dog’s bath time should run relatively smoothly.
Get the right shampoo
Your dog’s shampoo is important, especially if the dog has any infections or sensitivities. The Durvet No-Bite Flea & Tick shampoo is great for dogs who like to be outside, especially if it’s summer. If you have a dog with a thicker coat or dry skin, you can opt for a moisturizing shampoo like Tropiclean’s Aloe Moist shampoo.
Use all the towels
Bathtubs tend to be very slippery so, it’s always helpful to line the tub with an old towel to prevent your dog from slipping. You’ll also want to keep a towel at the ready for when the bath is over and it’s time to dry. Additionally, if your dog tends to shake the water off throughout the bath, you can grab a third towel to place over the dog in between rinses and shampooing.
Protect your dog’s ears
A dog’s ears are very sensitive and prone to infection so, it’s best to gently place a cotton ball into each ear prior to the bath to prevent water from entering the ear canal.
Make your dog feel comfortable
For many dogs, a bath can be a strange, sometimes scary experience. It’s important to make the dog feel comfortable and safe because bathing is necessary on a regular basis. If your dog is visibly uneasy or scared, ask someone to help you comfort the dog or provide treats while you do the washing.
Avoid the head
Your dog’s face is a very sensitive area and water can cause significant harm if it gets into the ears, eyes, or stuck in a facial fold. The best way to handle this is to avoid pouring water on the dog’s face completely. Instead, at the end of the bath, wipe the face gently with a wet washcloth. Make sure to target any problem areas where bacteria may get stuck and grow.
Don’t forget the details
Most dog baths are the same. However, if your dog has any special needs, such as a skin infection, sensitive skin or acne, you’ll want to treat those conditions deliberately. Often, this means simply taking extra care to wash a certain area. This also might mean applying a special shampoo or ointment at bathtime to treat the area. If your dog is exhibiting a problem area, consult your vet to be sure you treat it properly and safely.
Towel-dry or blow dry
Blow drying your dog can be a hassle, and is most often best left to the professionals. But, if your dog is generally calm and you think you can both handle it, it’s definitely worth it.
It’s important to make sure your dog has plenty of time to dry off and isn’t running around outside in the cold just after a bath. It’s best to let the dog sit with a warm towel or blanket (after being thoroughly dried off). You also risk your dog getting just as dirty as before the bath!