10 Tips for a Better Dog Bath
By Arlo the Hound with help from Honor Tarpenning
Bathing your dog can be a huge, soggy hassle, especially if your dog has had a bad experience or is afraid of water. Keep these tips in mind and your dog’s bathing experience will be easier than ever.
1. Shower Sprayer
Rather than the old cup and half-full bathtub method, purchase a hose-type showerhead attachment. Then you can direct the stream of water wherever you want, and you may stay a little dryer in the process.
2. No People Shampoo
Fragrances, chemicals, and different pH in people shampoo are often too harsh for your dog’s skin, causing irritation and allergic reactions.
3. Use the Right Dog Shampoo
Use the appropriate shampoo for your dog’s age, skin type and coat type. There are different shampoos for puppies, flea problems, dry skin, sensitive skin, white hair, dark hair, curly hair, and straight hair to name a few.
4. Brush FIRST
Brush your dog thoroughly and remove any mats before bathing. Mats get worse when they get wet and you’ll have to cut them out. Furthermore, any dirt and grime wrapped up in the mat won’t come out when you wash. Brushing first will help dogs with any length hair because it means you’ll have less hair and dirt to worry about in the tub.
5. Washing to Remove Fleas
Fleas are clever little critters. When you wash your dog, they will run for dry land, usually your dog’s head. Before you even get your dog wet, draw a line all the way around the base of your dog’s neck with flea shampoo. This will keep the fleas from running and finding a safe zone on your dog’s head once the bath starts. Warm soapy water kills adult fleas.
6. Rinse Well
Make sure you rinse out all shampoo residue or it will cause itchy, dry, uncomfortable skin. Don’t forget to double-check armpits, between toes, and tail.
7. Dry Thoroughly
Not drying your dog completely causes chills and wet-dog-on-furniture syndrome; symptoms of which include yelling, foot stomping, and headaches.
8. Rubber Mat
Place a rubber mat, or no-slip stickers in the bottom of your tub. This will help your dog maintain his footing and feel more secure during the bath.
9. Washcloth for Dog’s Face
Using a washcloth helps keep water out of ears and eyes and causes less discomfort for your dog. Water in the ears causes infections, water in the eyes can be damaging and makes dog NEVER want another bath.
10. Don’t Over Bathe
On average, once a month is enough. Over bathing dries out the coat and strips it of its natural oils. Over bathing is especially bad for water dogs whose oils help water roll off the coat so they stay warmer and drier when working in the water.