Most dogs can't stand baths, as they associate the experience with being restrained or coerced into something they don't want to do. You certainly don’t want to build negative bathing associations, nor your dog(s). The tips below will help you and your dog enjoy bath time and make it a more satisfying experience for all paws involved.
Build a bathing routine
It may sound obvious, but the key here is going through bathing following a routine. The first session might be a little nerve-wracking because most dogs, especially the ones who are used to frequent baths, will resist being forced into the tub.
You need to make sure you don’t let that take over the scene. By starting with one or two baths, your dog will get used to this new tub-time routine, associating it with a positive experience – a good thing to look forward to!
Mind the frequency
How often should you wash your dog? You can often stumble upon countless discussions on bathing frequencies. The ideal timing, according to veterinarians, is from four to six weeks. But you should be aware that bathing frequency highly varies based on your pup’s breed, lifestyle, and coat length.
If you’re wondering how often should you bathe your dog, mind your dog’s fur in the first place. Short-haired breeds don’t need that much attention as long-haired ones. Either way, make sure to mind this context before filling your bathtub. After all, if your doggo is unhuggable, it’s the right time to have some spa fun.
Make it Fast and Easy
The most important tip in making bath time a good time for you and your dog is to keep the entire process fast and easy. Most dogs don't mind being bathed in principle, but they'd much rather not be restrained or have something yucky like soap forced on them.
If your pup has a long double coat or thick fur, start by brushing away any tangles with a slicker brush or wide-toothed comb. You want your pooch's hair to be in tip-top shape for the soak to come. Keep your pup focused on the good times ahead with some positive reinforcement as you make his coat shine.
Get the Right Tube
Most dogs can't handle a full-size bathtub to themselves, which can make for a stressful experience. A smaller tub can work, as long as you can kneel while soaping him up, something that will make the process a bit easier on both of you. If you have a pooch, you might try washbasin, but be sure to track the reaction beforehand.
You can also try buying a dedicated dog bath or even a dog shower to make bathing more comforting. Sometimes, pups hate bathing solely because of the bath’s surface. If you have a tube with a slick surface, don’t forget to put a towel on it. This way, your pet will feel safer while going through the entire bathing procedure.
How to bathe a puppy?
While washing a three-year-old Labrador could be a routine, giving a bath to a tiny puppy is completely another challenge. The good thing is that it is easier for a puppy to learn that the bath must be taken as an enjoyable experience than as something scary and terrible that has to be endured. When can you give a puppy a bath? Vets recommend that you can start bathing your pup when it’s at least eight weeks old to build first water associations.
On the equipment side of things, don’t apply any shampoos or conditioners until your pup is at least three months old. Your usual shampoo with a proper pH balance will work fine. The critical point on how to give a puppy a bath is to build strong and positive associations. Being gentle and attentive is vital, so be sure to make the first-ever bathing a smooth experience for your beloved pup.
Select the right shampoo
A general rule of thumb for choosing the right shampoo for your dog is simple. Consult with your vet, check out the market options, and pick the completely harmless one for your pup. Even though waterless dog shampoo is on the rise, consider starting with a regular one to bathe your pup properly. Harsh detergents or products that burn or irritate a dog’s delicate skin can make things miserable for both of you.
Choose a shampoo designed for sensitive skin according to your pet’s breed or skin issue. Have pre-measured amounts on hand so once your pet enters the tub, they can be immediately lathered and rinsed off with warm water. Avoid shampoos that contain high perfumes, chemical dyes, and artificial preservatives, which can dry out their skin and cause further discomfort.
Also, experts recommend avoiding human shampoos since their pH balance is different from the one safe for doggos. But can you use baby shampoo on dogs? Sometimes, it’s the safest alternative if your dog shampoo is over. They’re usually designed for sensitive skin, but you should still perceive it as an emergency backup option, alright?
How to give your dog a bath?
Look, if you have a long-haired dog, brushing him before giving a bath is a must. You need to do it since matted hair holds water, potentially irritating your dog’s skin after bathing. If you have little experience bathing a pup, the following step-by-step tips would be handy:
- If you have a larger breed, consider washing your dog in a particular order.
- As you start gently massaging your dog’s fur, track your pet’s reaction all the time
- In case your pet stresses, talk in a calm and reassuring manner or bring up the treats.
- Rinse your dog as best as you can to remove all soap or shampoo
- Don’t forget to bring the towels and a dog dryer
Now you know how to give a dog a bath without too much stress for all sides involved.
How to wash a dog’s face?
Washing your dog’s body is doable with some experience. But is it the same with a face, or ears? The procedure looks quite different, so you should know how to wash a dog’s face during bath time. Before you start washing the dog's face, check the cleanliness of your pet's ears. If there are bits of dirt or even ticks in them, remove them gently with a water-moistened sponge.
Washing a face itself is also a bearable procedure for any pet owner. Leave all the shampoos, grab some water, and massage your pet’s face in circles. Using a soft and clean washcloth, perform a few gentle strokes near your dog’s gum, outer ear, and nose. Mind that enough water and a soft sponge will do all the work in the blink of an eye.
Cleaning the area near the dog’s eyes could be a bit trickier. You’ve probably seen blobs near your pup’s eyes from time to time. To clean them, grab a water-moistened sponge and gently wipe this area in circles.
Warning! Don’t touch your dog’s eyes on any occasion. Don’t wipe or touch them with your hands or bathing equipment. For eyes, use only water and a soft sponge or water cloth, but not shampoos or soaps.
How about making fun?
Yes, you’ve heard it right: have fun! Turn it into a mini-spa experience for your dog! In addition to the standard bathtub, drop by your local pet store or order online (check out what Amazon has) to see what kind of items you can get your hands on — there are many grooming tools specifically designed for dogs that can make the experience of bathing a breeze for both you and your fur baby.
Some pet-owners also recommend bringing snacks and treats. If your pup is feeling dizzy or concerned about bathing, rewarding with a snack or two is totally fine. Don’t forget that praise is good, but treats can work even better. But make sure not to transform it into a proper meal since it can lead to changes in eating patterns! (Link to obesity in dogs).
How to dry a dog?
After you’ve given your doggo a proper scrub, you should also remember about drying up! It’s especially true for long-haired breeds for which towels won’t be that helpful. You should still remember that using dog dryers should be done gently, following the instructions of a dog dryer. After all the good you have done to your dog, you don't want to do any harm now, do you?
So, how to use a dog hair dryer? Well, first, you need to get your dog's fur as dry as possible. Use a towel or some paper towels to get as much moisture as possible out of the dog's fur. After the fur is as dry as possible, it's time to use the dog dryer. The best way to use a dog blow dryer is to gently blow air through the coat. You should start from the head and work your way down to the tail. Continue blowing air through the coat until it's completely dry.
It is no surprise that sometimes dogs go mad after bathing. You can see unprecedented bursts of energy you will hardly see in quite some time. The reasons behind this behavior are many. Your pup might be relieved and happy that bathing is already over. Also, mind that dogs mostly perceive the world around them through smell, so a new shampoo scent might be confusing.
With your doggo running around trying to shake vigorously to dry off, don’t mind bringing some towels. Towel-drying works for all pups, so be sure to dry your pet as best as you can. Don’t forget that brushing is a must, so let your pup dry, and brush fur to prevent mats from appearing.
Here’s your reward — a handsome and clean pooch that smells and looks fresh. After proper brushing, your pet will shine bright for quite some time. So, you now know how to make bathing a more pleasurable experience for your pup. Build a habit, enforce positive associations, and make bathing a mini-spa fun for both of you!
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