How to Properly Bathe Your Dog

Got a dirty dog? Bathing your puppy isn’t difficult, but it’s not the same as throwing a grubby kid in the tub.

Your puppy doesn’t mind getting dirty. They actually like it. So don’t be surprised if they fight every effort you make to get them clean.

Make it a point to give them a bath as young as possible. As long as you make it a positive experience, this will make it easier later on.

With daily brushing, you shouldn’t need to bathe your puppy more than once every few months. Too many baths can cause skin irritation. Dogs can get up to 160 skin disorders. Don’t make it easier for them to catch one by bathing them too much.

However, newer studies show that regular bathing can help with allergies, treat skin disorders and helping with itching. If you’re unsure, check with your vet.

Dogs need a little extra attention at bath time. Take advantage of the power of positive association to make cleaning a fun experience. Once your pooch sees it as enjoyable, they’ll be begging to get in the bath.

Start Off on the Right Paw

Prep is important. Start by brushing your dog to remove extra debris and dirt from their coat. In addition to removing debris and dirt, it’s a great way to bond with your dog.

Shampoo your pooch before getting in the tub. The cleaning agents in the shampoo bond directly to dirt on dry fur, making cleaning easier.

Get Your Puppy Used to the Tub

To get your pooch used to the tub, let them sit in it for a couple of minutes with no water. Give them plenty of attention and treats to reward them for a job well done.

Before running water, place a towel in the bottom of the tub to prevent slipping, dampen the sound and keep the water from spraying. It will also help with your dog’s anxiety.

Keep water out of your dog’s ears by only pouring water from the neck down. Use a damp washcloth for cleaning the puppy’s face. Your pooch will be most comfortable when washing from the tail forward.

Use Pet-Friendly Bath Products

Shampoos made for people may contain perfumes and chemicals that irritate your dog’s skin. Stick with gentle shampoos and conditioners created for animals from natural ingredients. Stay away from flea baths, as they can contain irritating chemicals as well.

Great ingredients for doggie shampoos and conditioners include:

  • Oatmeal (moisturizing)
  • Rosemary Oil (great for skin)
  • Lavender Oil (flea repellant)
  • Coconut Oil (makes a shiny coat)
  • White distilled vinegar (deodorizer)

Like people, dogs do best with both a shampoo and conditioner. Shampoos attach to and remove dirt, while conditioners moisturize and soften fur for a shiny, healthy coat. Two-in-one products don’t do as good a job.

Rinse your dog thoroughly to get all shampoo and conditioner out of your dog’s coat. Poor rinsing can cause itchy skin.

Blow Dryer Optional

If your dog can tolerate the sound of the blow dryer, you can use one on low or no heat.  While there are dryers designed specifically for pets, a human blow dryer will do the trick. But it’s not necessary.

It’s perfectly acceptable to use a towel (or two) to pat your dog dry.

Once your doggie is all dry, don’t let them outside for a little while. Dogs don’t like the smell of shampoo as much as we do, and they’ll be itching to roll in the mud and ruin all your hard work.

It’s a Wrap

To avoid getting soaked from your dog’s attempts to shake the water off, wrap them in a towel between washing and drying.

Don’t let your dirty dog get you down. Now that you’re armed with the knowledge and tools necessary to make bath time less stressful for both of you, it’s time to get down to business. Stay calm and carry lots of treats.

Give your puppy plenty of attention, use pet friendly products (or make your own), and skip the blow dryer if the sound stresses your dog out.

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