A Straightforward Guide To Bathing Your Dog
Bathing your dog can be a pleasant experience or it can be the worst, most stressful event you could imagine. There is a very simple way to make that monthly bath much less of a problem, for both you and your four legged friend. The key is in taking the disorganisation out of the bathing process for the dog, as well as for yourself.
Step One: Be Prepared
Having everything that you need on hand before you bring the dog to the bath is essential. This is true if you are bathing them in the house or out in the garden. Regardless of the location, you will need to have warm clean water, a non-slip surface mat for the dog to stand on, dog shampoo and conditioner and towels for drying after the bath. If at all possible, a hand held wand type of shower head is perfect for wetting the coat, as well as providing a thorough rinse to remove all shampoo and conditioner.
Step Two: Groom First
Grooming to remove the mats and tangles in the coat is important prior to wetting the coat. This is particularly true with double coated dogs that have a dense, fine inner coat and a longer, harsher outer coat. If you fail to groom, the result will be a mass of tangled hair that is hopelessly matted together. Even for dogs with short coats or those with single coats, a good brushing with a soft bristle brush will help remove debris and dirt from the coat.
For dogs with severe tangles and mats, clipping out the mat may be necessary. However, before going to this extreme, try a dog coat detangling product that can save significant amounts of time and the need for clipping. Always work the tangles from the outer ends of the coat towards the body, and hold the coat firmly to the body to prevent tugging or tearing of the skin.
Step Three: Make It Positive For The Dog
Avoid getting into a power and control issue with your dog about getting into the bath. Instead, use a light tone of voice and a few tasty treats to help the dog understand that he or she is going to get something for being helpful and not fighting the process. Have the dog under control with a good quality lead and collar and if necessary, get some help to keep the dog in the bath and calm while you are shampooing and rinsing.
It is important to avoid the mistake of letting the dog get out of the bath before it is over. Once the dog thinks that bath time is a game rather than a calming, relaxing routine, they will be more difficult to control in the future.
Step Four: Rinse, Rinse, Rinse
Only use good quality hypoallergenic types of dog shampoo and conditioner on your pet. Never use human hair products, as this can lead to skin irritations, allergic reactions and a dull, lifeless looking coat. Avoid rubbing the hair in multiple directions, especially if the coat is long, fine or double. Instead, wiggle your fingers down the coat in the direction of hair growth. This will be from the back down the body.
Rinse the dog thoroughly and keep rinsing until all soap and conditioner is removed. Never apply water over the head or on the face, rather use a damp soft cloth to wipe the ears, eyes and muzzle.
Once you have completed rinsing, allow the dog to shake off and towel dry, groom and spend some time enjoying your wonderfully clean pooch. By providing a walk or romp after the bath, as well as some well deserved treats and praise, your dog will soon look forward to bath time rather than running to hide.
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