Dogs are a wonderful addition to our families and homes. Despite the love and companionship they bring, they also bring the lovely scent of dog into your home and furniture. Washing your pets regularly is not only crucial in maintaining a clean home, but it is also important for their health. Here are some tips and tricks to washing your dog that will make the process easier and more efficient.
Selecting a shampoo that is best for your dog’s skin and coat-type is the first step in properly bathing your pooch. Depending on the type of coat your dog has, he may require specific conditioning products that keep his coat shiny and smooth. Your dog also may have skin allergies to certain products that contain popular allergens such as eucalyptus or tea-tree oil. Being informed of allergies is good to know for the overall health of your dog.
After you’ve chosen the right shampoo, washing your dog in an enclosed space such as a bathroom, particularly a bathtub is the best location to contain him before and after his bath. However, if you do not have an enclosed bath or shower, an outdoor space such as a small outdoor pool will also work. Being prepared with several towels, and even putting a towel or sheet down around the bathing area can make cleanup easier and more efficient; you can just throw it all into one sheet or pile and toss it in the washing machine—because no one likes the lingering smell of wet dog in their towels. Its also important to make sure the area is as slip-resistant as possible; your dog may come flying out of the bathtub at any time.
If you want your dog to enjoy the experience, and return willingly to bathing, it is preferable to use warm water. A dog’s internal temperature is higher than a human’s, so it tends to like warm water. However, don’t make the water too warm; it can cause him to have dryer, or even flaky skin. It is also useful to have a detachable faucet or hose so that you can maneuver around your dog—he won’t do the work for you—and this can cut bath-time in half. Also, be sure to put either a hair-strainer or a drain-block in your tub to avoid clogging. If you brush your dog ahead of time removing most of the excess fur, the mess in the tub will be far more manageable.
Again, it is important that you make bath-time a relaxing and desirable experience for your dog—future bathing will become easier, and it establishes a more trusting bond. This may involve treats, and a lot of affection and praise, but it will be well worth the effort. The more hyper your dog is, the more difficult it will be to contain them; try taking your dog on a long walk before a bath—that way they will be drained of any excessive energy or anxiety. Sometimes a leash in the bath is helpful, especially if your dog likes to move around a lot. There are specific leashes designed for washing dogs that keep your dog secure and contained in the tub with supervision.
Even if you purchase tearless shampoo, it is imperative that you refrain from getting water or soap in your dog’s eyes or ears. While it is important to clean around their face and their outer-ears, these are areas that can be washed with a warm, soapy washcloth—do not spray the dog in the face or on the head without first covering his eyes, or without closing his ears for him by holding them against his head, and only spraying from the back of the dog’s head, not in front where water can easily enter. If you do get water or soap in your dog’s eye, use cold water to flush the eye area. If you get water or soap in your dog’s ear, you’ll know it; he will vigorously shake his head, which is the best solution for getting the water out. If your dog continues to shake his head, or if the eye area remains irritated by soap, you should consult your vet to soothe the irritation and provide relief to your dog.