How To Wash A Dog ( A Step-by-Step Guide )
Bathing your dog is a regular grooming practice that keeps your dog’s coat clean and healthy. It removes dirt, parasites, or other elements that can get stuck in the fur. Bathing can be scary for dogs, but with a little knowledge and preparation, you can make it a good experience for both of you.
How Often Should You Wash the Dog
In general, bathing once a month works for most dogs, and the longer the coat, the more often the dog will need a bath. However, how often you need to wash your dog depends on a variety of things, including the dog’s size, breed, type of coat, activities and environment.
For example, if a dog has an active lifestyle, they might get dirtier and faster. This will mean more baths. Dogs who are mainly indoor pets may not need to be bathed as often. If your dog lives in the country and does a lot of rolling in the fields, then you may want to bath more frequently.
If you are not sure how much bathing is apporpriate for your dog, speak to your vet to get some advices.
Where to Wash the Dog
If you own a very small dog, you can just bath him/her in a kitchen sink or a bath tub. If you own a larger dog, you can bath him/her in showers or bathtubs. If you have a big yard and it’s not too cold outside, then an outside dog bath is the obvious way to avoid a trail of muddy footprints to the bathroom.
Besides, your dog may get anxious or upset during his bath and try to esacape. So you’d better choose a location that is confined. For example, shut the bathroom door if you use the bath tub. If you are washing your dog outside, make sure to do it in a fenced area so your dog can’t run away.
How to Prepare for a Wash
Make sure you get everything ready before you take your dog to the bathroom.
- Brush your dog before washing - it is important to brush your dog’s fur thoroughly, especially when your dog has a thick, shaggy or double coat. Make sure to remove any tangles or mats as these are harder to deal with once your dog is wet. to remove any angles or matted areas.
- Trim your dog’s nails - If your find your dog’s nails are too long or sharp, trim them before you give him a bath. This will help keep him from accidentally scratching you if he gets agitated or fussy. (Note: DO NOT cut the nails too short. You can easily cut into your dog’s quick, which can cause bleeding and infection.)
- Get all the supplies you need close to hand - including towels, cotton balls, dog shampoo, treats, and a washcloth or sponge. If you don’t have a hose or detachable showerhead, you will need a bucket or other vessel for rinsing.
- Remove your dog’s collar - To get his neck area clean, you will need to remove the dog’s collar. If you need a collar to keep hold of your dog while bathing him, use a nylon collar. Leather collars can shrink when wet, and could choke your dog.
- Protect your dog’s eyes - Apply a strip of artificial tears ointment or a few drops of mineral oil to each eye. This will help protect the eyes from shampoo.
- Protect your dog’s ears - You may want to put a cotton ball in each ear of your dog to keep water out. It helps prevent ear infections and irritation.
- Get a helper - If your dog tends to be nervous in the bath, you may want to have a helper, who can help keep your dog steady while you wash him.
How to Wash the Dog
Here's a step-by-step guide to wash a dog.
- Get the temperature right: Dog skin is different from ours, and hot water can burn dogs more easily. Bath water should never be hotter than what you’d run for a human baby. Keep it even cooler for large-breed dogs who can easily overheat.
- Wet your dog: Wet your dog with water, and wash from from the neck down to keep your dog's ears, eyes and mouth safe. You can use a bucket or cup to help you achieve it. You can even find sprayers specifically designed for bathing a dog in the market. Use a damp washcloth to wash your pup’s face.
- Apply the dog shampoo: Work the dog shampoo into a gentle lather and massage it all over your dog’s body. Be careful not to get soap in the dog's eyes. If you don't know which is the right shampoo to your dog, you can turn to the vet for advice.
- Scrub and Massage: Massage the shampoo onto the whole body except for the head. You can use your fingers, just like shampooing your own hair. Your dog will probably actually enjoy this part. You can also use a rubber or plastic dog scrubbing tool with small nubs, which provides an extra massage for your dog's skin and helps lather up the shampoo.
- Clean your dog’s face: If your dog’s face gets dirty, use a damp washcloth to wipe the dirt away. DO NOT pour water directly to the dog's fac. That may hurt his eyes and ears.
- Rinse your dog: Apply a stream of water to your dog's coat, avoiding the eyes and ears. It’s important to rinse all of the shampoo residue from your dog’s coat. Any shampoo left in dog fur can irritate your dog’s skin once your dog is dry.
- Dry your dog: You can use a highly absorbent dog towel to make the drying process quicker. Many people swear by dog blow dryers, but the noise and feel is definitely something that you have to get him used to. Be careful to avoid burning his skin, and NEVER point a hair dryer at your dog’s face. Also, be prepared for the inevitable "shake" as your dog dries himself off.
- Reward your dog: Don't forget to give your dog a treat every time you wash him. Praise him for being a good dog. This way, your dog will learn that bathtime is not a time to dread but a fun time that involves treats and praise.
Grooming Your Dog After a wash
Don't forget to clean your dog’s ears after the washing. Remove the cotton balls from his/her ears, then clean his ears of earwax to help avoid irritation or infection. You can use a specially formulated ear rinse recommended by your vet.
If you see tear buildup on the face of your dog, you should wash it away to avoid irritation or bacterial infection. Perhaps, you can asked your vet to give you some advices.
Don't forget to give your dog another treat when all washing and grooming are done!