Bathing a Dog


Let’s face it: Fido likes to get filthy. Whether it’s swimming in a lake, running through the mud or playing in the outdoors in general, our dogs have a tendency to get dirty and smelly. It’s nice to take them to the vet or to the groomer for full baths, but who has the budget to do that on a weekly basis? Not me, that’s for sure. Follow these DOs and DON’Ts for effective dog bathing in the comfort of your own home.

DO remove matted fur before bathing. Once your dog’s coat is wet, matted spots will only become more tangled and pull tighter. You can use a small brush to remove mattes or even cut the knots out before bathing.

DON’T allow water to get into their ear canal. If water gets trapped in their ears it can cause yeast infections and other severe inner ear infections to form. The health of a dog’s ears is very important to their overall health. Avoid pouring water directly over your dog’s head. Use wet washcloths instead to remove soap from the head and neck area.

DO use products with gentle formulas. Even dog breeds that are not prone to issues with skin sensitivity can develop dry skin and bald patches if you use products that have too many harsh chemicals. Look for formulas with all natural ingredients. You can even try waterless shampoos like the ones made by our good friends at NAVA Pets. Remember, if you don’t know what an ingredient in a dog shampoo is and the person you’re buying it from doesn’t know either, then maybe it’s not the product to be purchasing. Ask questions about ingredients. Find out what they are and how safe or unsafe they can be for your pups.

DON’T pour water or soap near the eye area. You wouldn’t want soapy water going directly into your eyes and your dog doesn’t either.

DO brush your dog’s fur post bath. You’ll want to give your dog a good pat down with a towel so that the fur is no longer soaked. Then take a brush or comb and gently run it through your dog’s fur. For dogs with longer coats this can be a bit of a process, but it needs to be done or they will end up with matted fur all over that will need to be cut or shaved off.

DON’T leave your dog alone in the bath tub. This one is simple. You don’t want a soapy, watery mess trailed through your house, but your dog won’t stay put if you don’t.

DO massage your dog’s fur and skin while bathing them. You want to work soaps and shampoos into your dog’s skin to get a good clean. While doing this you are also going to be feeling their skin for any lumps or unusual masses. If anything unusual is found, you will need to consult a vet immediately.

DON’T take your dog out of the bath until you are absolutely sure that all soap and soap residue has been rinsed from their fur. If any soap is left behind it can cause dry patches on the skin as well as itching and even some uncomfortable inflammation. A good way to check is to use your fingers to gently rub the different areas of their fur and skin. If even the tiniest lather forms they need another rinsing. If dogs lick their fur and there is still soap or shampoo left behind it can give them an upset stomach.

DO use gentle conditioning treatments post-bath to keep their coats shiny and their skin hydrated. You’ll want to use conditioners that can absorb quickly so your dogs do not lick the product off of their fur. Using conditioning treatments before brushing can supply the best results.

Regular bathing contributes to the overall lasting health of our furry friends. Even though they’re just going to get dirty again as soon as you let them outside, they deserve the courtesy of a deep cleansing at least a few times a month. When you keep them clean you keep them healthy.

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