Washing Your Dog
How Hard Can it Be?
Author, Darlene Wagner for Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
You let Rover in from outside and, as he enters your home, a waft of unsavory doggy smell follows; you know, that scent of must, dirt and body odor all rolled up into one. The smell may be completely normal for a dog, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant for you. Providing your dog with regular grooming and bathing from a young age, and having fun while doing so, will ensure you have a happy, healthy and sweet smelling four-legged family member.
So, what should you know to bathe your dog?
Probably the most important element of a good bath for Rover is the proper shampoo and conditioner. Did you know a dog’s skin is half the thickness of human skin? This makes it very sensitive, so human products aren’t ideal for Rover. Find a good quality, gentle shampoo made especially for dogs in a variety that meets his needs, such as relief for dry skin, greasy skin or itchiness. If you’re uncertain which shampoo would be best, ask your vet.
As for conditioners, they are not really necessary unless your dog has particularly dry hair, in which case a leave-in treatment applied after his bath while is coat is drying may be best.
Sure, bathing may seem like a simple task, but it can often end up with a soaking wet dog escaping from the tub and running around your house, shampoo and hair sticking to your walls as Rover takes a cue from Taylor Swift and “Shakes It Off,” or even a petrified pooch who does nothing but whine and cry the entire time. No matter which location you choose for bathing ~ the tub, sink, outside under the hose ~ keep a hand on your dog at all times while bathing him. This will make it less likely that he will shake all over and attempt to break free. Have everything ready before you begin, and keep treats on hand to reward and encourage good behavior. Include a good massage while shampooing and towel dry gently yet thoroughly as this will not only result in a squeaky clean canine, but it will enhance your emotional bond. Do all you can to make the whole experience pleasurable for both you and your pooch.
Bath time is a great time to check your dog’s nails, ears, teeth and skin for any lumps, bumps, bruises, abrasions, breaks, etc. Systematically feel all around Rover’s body, perhaps while you are massaging the shampoo into his coat.
- Remove any tangles and debris from your dog’s coat by brushing thoroughly.
- Wet your pet, avoiding the head.
- Apply shampoo, lathering up all over.
- Massage your pet’s entire body, with the exception of his head, to lather and check for any injuries.
- Leave the shampoo on your pet for the recommended length of time.
- Meanwhile use a small sponge or cloth to wipe down your pup’s face with water (no need for shampoo, unless you’re using a tearless variety).
- Rinse thoroughly, ensuring all shampoo residue has disappeared.
- Stand back (very important!) and allow your pet to shake.
- Towel dry.
- If desired, use a hairdryer on low heat or take your pet for a walk in the sun to dry his coat.
- Check your dog’s ears to see if additional cleaning is needed.
- Check his nails and trim if necessary.
Extra Smelly Dogs
Dogs with a persistent, foul odor may smell bad due to allergies or dermatitis. Take Rover to your vet for a check-up to identify any possible underlying problems, such as bacterial or fungal skin disease or dental disease. Dogs with fleas often develop itchy, smelly skin, so ensure your flea control routine is current, even if you don’t see any visible fleas on your pooch. As well, if Rover develops a smelly odor between baths, along with a slightly red or itchy skin, he may have allergies.
You may opt to try a supplement product such as Dermoscent, which increases the fatty acid balance in your dog’s skin and improves smell.
Secondary to a fresh smelling pooch, the next best part of bath time for Rover is that both of you enjoy the time spent together. This quality time can become very important to you both, and by doing the job yourself, you can save a great deal of money over your dog’s lifetime and build a healthy bond.
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Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional. She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History.
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