Dog Bath Time


This article was written for Pet Guardian Angels of America by Emma Williams

Simple Tricks to Make Bathing Your Dog Easier

Most dogs hate getting into the tub, but bathing plays an important role in their hygiene and wellbeing. As well as helping keep their coat clean and free from parasites and tangles, regular baths also keep pooches happy and healthy.

The unfortunate news is: most dogs would rather skip bath time. With that in mind, here are some expert tricks and tips to make bathing your dog easier, faster and a more enjoyable experience!

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How to prepare your dog for bath time

1. Teach your puppy or dog to be comfortable with handling

If you are bathing your new dog for the first time, you need to ensure he is comfortable. The RSPCA give some useful advice on how to do so:

“[Start by] patting and stroking different parts of their body. Praise and reward them for being calm and allowing you to handle them. Go slowly, patting them on the chest area, shoulders, sides and along the back, gradually working towards other areas such as each leg. Once they’re comfortable with this, try briefly lifting up a paw, one at a time. Overtime you can extend this to gently touching the footpads and nails and also other areas such as the ear flaps.

Continue to praise and reward (e.g. with tasty dog food treats) for calm behaviour and when your dog allows general handling. This will make your dog less likely to react when you touch them in these areas while bathing.”

2. Brush your dog before bathing him

When it comes to bathing your dog, preparation is key. It is essential to brush your dog before bathing him to remove tangles and tame matted fur. This will also loosen any dirt from your dog’s fur and skin, and potential parasites, which will be much easier to wash away. After all, it’s a nightmare to try and untangle wet, matted fur!

Brushing also helps to distribute healthy natural skin oils which helps promote a shiny coat.

Top tip: Brush your dog’s fur with caution to avoid nicking the skin of your dog. In case you see any ticks of foxtails, remove them with tweezers. If the dog has something sticky like paid or pine sap on the fur, use a dab of mineral oil or vegetable oil to get it off. If it does not work, you might need to trim or shave down the stained fur.

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3. Make sure the water isn’t hot but ‘lukewarm’ and have all the products ready

If your dog is a little nervous, it’s also important to introduce the bath equipment you’re going to use slowly and patiently, such as towels, shampoo containers and the shower hose. When they are ready, add lukewarm water then get your dog into the tub. (You can actually find a specific bath tub for large dogs online.) Hot water scolds their skin so it’s imperative that you test the water first. Fill the water up to the knees of your dog and not above that level.

Rub some dog-specific shampoo on their body and use a soft brush to produce a rich lather. Clean the fur using a soft dog cleaning brush. After one or two minutes of brushing and cleaning, you need to rinse the lather with clean water. Rinse thoroughly to remove the soap and dirt from your dog’s skin and fur. You can use slightly warmer water in winter and lukewarm water in summer.

Top tip: Put a piece of steel wool in the drain to prevent it clogging up with dog hair.


How to bathe your dog correctly and with care

1. Protect the eyes and ears

This is a really important point you need to be mindful of when bathing your dog. If the water enters the ears of a dog, it can cause infection. Insert cotton balls into the ears to avoid water from entering into the ears. You can clean the ears of your dog using dog cotton buds before or after the bath. Also, you need to take care that water should not enter the eyes. It’s best to clean the general head area with a wet face cloth.

2. Make sure your dog can’t slip

Making sure you have a non-slip surface for your pooch to stand on critical. This can be just an old towel in the bottom of the tub or sink or a rubber mat. Not being able to stand without slipping is an extremely stressful situation for a dog, so providing them with a slip-free surface will help ease their anxiety about bath time.


Dry your dog properly

Make sure to dry your dog properly post bathing, especially during the colder months. Throw a towel over your pooch then use another one to dry the face, ears and feet. You can then use a blow-dryer to speed things along on the cool setting if your dog isn’t scared of the noise. (This is very handy for dogs with long-coats.)

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How often should you bathe your dog?

So there you have it, our top tips on how to bathe a dog correctly. So, how often should you do so? Interestingly, veterinary dermatologists are now saying that bathing your dog weekly isn’t a bad idea:

“Forget the old idea that bathing strips the oils from the coat and should be done only every six months or even less often. Information presented at recent cutting-edge veterinary conferences suggests that there are benefits for some dogs to weekly bathing including reducing allergies (yours and your dog’s), treating skin infections (at least as effectively as some medications) and reducing the itching and scratching that drives everyone crazy.”

If you have any more questions regarding bathing your dog, it’s best to ask your veterinarian. Moreover, if you cannot find time to bathe or take care of your dog, there are options available to you, such as hiring in home pet sitting services.

Emma Williams is a professional writer who enjoys spending her spare time blogging about pet behaviour, pet health and pet lifestyle topics. She has two furry friends of her own.