WHEN TO BATHE YOUR DOGBathing your dog too often is not good for his skin, so keep it down to when he gets into something greasy, when company is coming, or when he gets to smelling just too darn doggy. If you leave mud on a dog, most of it will dry up and fall off on its own (and with his help as he lays on his back and wiggles around). Obviously, the "mud rubbing" is best done outdoors!
PREPARATIONBefore you bathe the dog, have a blanket laid out on the den or living room floor; two towels by the shower or tub; his shampoo, conditioner and a washcloth in the shower or tub; and a brush, comb and trash bag on the blanket. You might try a special chamois (SUPER absorbent towel) for dogs.
If your dog's coat is matted, bathing him first will make the mats much harder to deal with (see Brushing Your Dog).
WHERE TO BATHE YOUR DOGSome dogs get pretty scared in the bathtub. They jump around, slip and fall, shiver and shake, and are simply miserable. In the process, you can get even wetter than they do, and you spend most of the bathtime pushing and pulling just to keep him in the tub. Instead of a bath, try giving him a shower. This is especially good if you have one of the hand-held shower heads. Your dog should feel much more relaxed and less scared standing on firm ground than in a tub of water. You will probably stay much drier, and you may even get less of a backache. Your dog can get just as clean and get a cleaner rinse, and the wetting and rinsing process is so much quicker this way.
If you do bathe your dog in the tub, you will need a rubber bath mat inside the tub (or a towel or non-slip stick-ons). This will prevent him from slipping and will make him feel much more secure.
Some people like to bathe the dog outside with the hose and a bucket. This may be fine on a nice hot day.
HOW TO BATHE YOUR DOGIn the tub or in the shower, wash his face with a washcloth instead of pouring lots of water over his face because his ears shouldn't get too wet inside - not to mention that he won't usually like getting doused over the head.
Use a good dog shampoo if you can, or you can use a baby shampoo or a good herbal shampoo. Either of these two human shampoos should be mild enough to use occasionally for a dog. If your dog has long hair, you might even want to add a conditioner to help with tangles. If your pet shop doesn't have a conditioner made just for dogs, you can find good herbal conditioners that are kind to skin. Some of these herbal shampoos and conditioners meant for humans will even safely prevent lice and fleas on dogs (see Cure and Prevent Fleas Naturally).
Several stores carry a line of special shampoos for bringing out the best in a dog's coat color: White on White, Black on Black, or Gold on Gold. Or you can get sample kits to try several products, which are also perfect for traveling or taking to dog shows. Their Ice on Ice spray creates a protective barrier locking in moisture, repelling rain, dirt, dust and urine. It fortifies and protects the coat cuticle on the outside while counteracting damage from the inside creating liveliness, a healthy texture and a high sheen. And, they have a Peace & Kindness spray for topical use on: Cuts, Scrapes, Infections, Fungus, Itchy Areas, Hot Spots, Abscesses, Burns, Parasitic Infections (viral & fungal), and Dermatitis. It is tasteless, odorless, non-stinging and non-burning to sensitive tissues. Will not discolor coats or leave behind any residue. (This is only for occasional use.) These are all from the Chris Christensen line, and they have other lines of shampoos for skin conditions, calming, and other special needs - including waterless shampoo.
After getting him lathered up and clean, you need to rinse and rinse and rinse. Shampoo residue will make him itch. Even with a no-tears shampoo, try to keep shampoo out of his eyes.
When you least expect it, your soaking wet dog will give a good shake which can soak you and the whole bathroom. If you bathed him in the shower, most of this will stay inside the shower instead of getting all over your bathroom. When you want to dry him off, you can prevent him from shaking off the water by keeping a towel over his head. (We end up using one end of a first towel over his head and drying him with the other end and a second towel to pick him up with.)
Dry your dog as much as possible with the towels. We lay our dog on an old blanket while we are drying him. This helps keep hair and water from getting on the carpet. We bring him out onto the blanket immediately after drying with towels, we lay him down, and we kind of sit on him to keep him there. His first instinct is to run and find a good place to rub every inch of his body. But, his idea of a good place is on the couch or on the new bedspread!
Check More Dog Tips for tips on tear stains.
If you give your dog a bath (or shower) to kill fleas, you must start with his face and ears or you could have tons of living fleas inside his ears before you're done.
TipTry one of these to help or possibly eliminate doggy odor:
Stubborn Doggy OdorMay not really be doggy odor at all. See More Dog Tips to find out what the real problem could be and how to fix it once and for all.
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