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Dog Baths 101: Tips for a Pleasant Pooch

Bathing your dog makes them a lot more pleasant for your nose, but it is also an important part of caring for your dog. It is a lot easier to see unusual bumps, scratches, and fleas when the fur is wet and flat against their body. Some dogs really enjoy bath time and others not so much. We’re going to share some tips to make bath time go smoothly for you and your pup.

How Often to Bathe Your Pup

Recent veterinary guidance suggests there may be some benefit to bathing your dog weekly. It can help with both your allergies and reduce itching and scratching from your dog.

How often you choose to bathe your dog likely depends on their coat type and outdoor activity level. If your dog likes to roll in mud puddles, you likely will want to bathe them more often than a dog that prefers rolling on a soft bed. Use your best judgement based on your dog’s odor and greasiness of fur.

Before the Bath

To make bath time go smoothly, it’s important to prepare and make sure you have the right supplies. Preparing in advance will make bath time a lot more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Get a Dog Shampoo

Shampoo made for people (even baby shampoo!) can dry out a dog’s skin and do more harm than good. It’s a good idea to invest in a shampoo that’s specially made for dogs. Since your dog doesn’t get bathed very often, you’ll find a bottle of dog shampoo can last for a few years.

Brush Your Dog Ahead of Time

A thorough brushing ahead of a bath removes tangles and excess hair that might clog up your drain. Matted fur can hold water and irritate your dog’s skin, so try to brush or cut them out of your dog’s fur before bath time.

Gather Supplies Ahead of Time

Make sure all the supplies you might need are in reach ahead of time, such as dog shampoo, a cup for pouring water, and clean towels. For dogs that are prone to ear infections, you may want to put cotton balls in their ears to prevent water from getting in.

Consider Optional Supplies

There are a few optional supplies that may make bath time easier. Handheld sprayers made for bathing dogs easily attach to a faucet and make bath time go by fast. A nonstick rubber mat at the bottom of the tub or sink can make dogs feel more secure.

Dog Baths 101: Tips for a Pleasant Pooch

During the Bath

Small breeds can be easily bathed in a sink or small tub, but larger breeds will likely need to be bathed in a bath tub or shower. Dogs don’t enjoy cold water just like us, so most dogs do not enjoy being bathed with the cold water from a garden hose unless the weather is especially warm.

Use lukewarm water for your dog’s bath. Never use hot water as dogs have more sensitive skin than we do.

Talk to your dog in a calm and reassuring voice during the bath. If your dog is especially uncomfortable getting bathed, feeding them small treats in between rinsing can make the experience more enjoyable.

Start shampooing your dog starting with their feet and make your way up to their face last. This will stop soap from dripping in their eyes. Start rinsing your dog starting with the head first and go back down the body to the feet. Make sure to thoroughly rinse all the shampoo off your dog’s body as any soap left behind can lead to itching.

After the Bath

Dog Baths 101: Tips for a Pleasant Pooch

Of course, after the bath is done, your dog will know what to do next: shake off all that water! Tossing a towel over your dog’s back can prevent them from spraying water all over the house.

Ideally, you should use some old towels to dry off your dog. If the weather is cold, you can use a hair dryer set on low to help speed things up. If the air is too hot, it can hurt your dog’s skin and cause itching and dandruff.

Your dog doesn’t appreciate the scent of shampoo quite as much as you do. In fact, if you let them outside before they are fully dry, your dog might decide to find a new scent to cover up that nasty shampoo smell. So be careful about when you let your dog outside next.

After the bath, give your dog some time to let loose. They will likely have some pent-up energy at this point and will enjoy some playtime. This also helps build a positive association that bath time leads to play time.

If you’re looking for more tips, check out this video!

Do you have any tips for bathing your dog? Leave a comment below!

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