How to Survive Washing Your Dog
At North Paws Ranch, we offer touch ups and other services that includes bath time. That sentence probably made you say “Phew!”. Don’t worry, we know washing your dog can be tough. But we have a few tips to make bath time a great experience for both you and your furry friend. Regular washes are essential to the cleanliness of your pet and your home. It can also help reduce scratching and even some mild skin conditions.
We all use a certain shampoo which is perfect for our hair type. It’s similar with dog fur, you want to make sure you’re using the right product for your pooch. If you’re stuck, your vet will be able to give you advice on what should be best. It’s also recommended that you brush your dog’s fur first to lessen the amount of fur that could come loose during the wash, resulting in cutting down on time taken and the potential mess generated. Dry fur is also generally easier to detangle than wet, so this can also reduce your dog’s discomfort.
If you’re an owner of a small dog, you’re in luck! Typically, you can just plop your dog in the sink or laundry tub. But if you can’t fit your dog in the sink, use the bathtub, or get in the shower with them and use a detachable nozzle. A portable doggie tub is also an option and can be used outside.
You can use a garden hose if your dog’s truly filthy, but keep it occasional. Certain dogs don’t like being cold as much as we don’t, and they certainly don’t like being shot at by a hose.
Preparing for the Wash
Preparation is key for a successful bath time with your dog. Ensure the tools you need are within close reach, especially if your dog likes to wiggle around and try to escape during this process. Remain close to the bath or sink so your soaking wet pup doesn’t make too much of the surrounding area wet too! Also, keep the towels as close to you as possible so you’re prepared when bath time is over.
The Following Steps Should Give You and Your Pooch an Enjoyable Washing Experience:
1. Using warm water (ensure it’s not too hot), fill the tub about knee length. Gently place your dog in the water. After that, provide them with a treat, speak to them in a calming tone, and let the dog smell your grooming tools – this allows the dog to get a sense of recognition with the items.
2. Give your pooch a chance to get used to the water before beginning – spraying the water on their back and shoulders will allow them to adjust to the feel and temperature of it. Keep talking in a calm, reassuring voice and take it slow. Anything that makes your pet uneasy will only make them less likely to keep calm during baths in the future.
3. Try not to spray any water on your dog’s face. To avoid this, tilt the head so the water will run down behind them. Use your fingers or a damp washcloth to wipe the areas around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Unless your veterinarian has suggested doing so, do not clean inside of his ears. Getting water in the ears is a top cause of canine ear infections.
4. Now it’s time to wash the head, neck, and chest, and keep working your way down his back. Following this direction will help wash away any fleas or other parasites they may have accumulated since their last bath. Don’t forget to keep giving them treats so the dog knows it’s behaving well.
5. Apply a line of shampoo along the back, massaging the lather down to the skin as you go. Wash each of his legs and tummy as you work your way to his tail. Using a soft-bristled brush will help in cleaning around the paw pads.
6. Gently rinse your soapy pooch. Firstly, rinse the top of his head and around his eyes, using one of your hands to shield the soap from his eyes. Don’t panic if water gets in his eyes, though. Just flush his eyes out with water and give the dog some extra treats. Now, rinse the whole body well until the water is no longer soapy. Don’t forget to rinse his toes! Don’t skimp on the rinsing; this is where many pet owners mess up, and leftover suds can lead to dry skin.
Gently pat the dog down with a towel. Begin the drying process at his head, all the way down to his toes.
After bathing your pooch, make sure you praise them and give them a few treats to ensure them they were on their best behavior.
Here are a few more tips to ensure the best experience when cleaning your best friend:
- Take your puppy for a long walk first, this will tire them down so he’s not as hyper during bath time.
- Have bath time before the dog eats, this way you can reward them with food afterward.
- Place a non-slip mat in the bathtub. This can prevent injury from a slip, and also shield the enamel from scratches.
- To avoid having water roll down into the ears, place a large cotton ball in each ear.
- Be patient and avoid yelling at the dog if they resists to being groomed; this will just make the dog hate baths.
- Put a steel piece of wool in the drain to catch the dog hair and prevent it from blocking your drain.
Always remember to remove your dog’s collar prior to bathing them and give it a quick wash with soap and warm water. Some collars can be washed and dried in the clothes washer. This removes dirt, oil, and bacteria from the collar.
Fun (and relieving) fact! Your dog doesn’t need to be washed as frequently as you think! Your dog has natural oils on his coat, and over bathing can dry the pooch out. Most dogs can go months without a bath if they’re not dirty. The one exception is small breeds with hair, not fur, like Yorkies and Maltese. They need baths every 1-2 weeks or their hair will get oily, just like ours.
If you would like to make sure your pooch is always clean without affecting the natural oils in his fur, you can use waterless shampoo products, quick bath wipes, or freshening sprays that can be used during regular brushing.