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Do You Know How To Bathe Your Dog?

Let's face it...for some of us bathing our dogs can be a daunting task.  Some dogs will fight us to the end of the earth before getting into the tub or shower.  In those cases a professional groomer might be the right choice. But if you think you are up to the challenge, then roll up your sleeves and get ready to lather up!  

When bathing your dog you will need 

As far as conditioners might ask if they actually need it.  The answer is YES! Conditioners are very important in that they help return natural oils to your dog's coat.  It can keep your dog's coat from getting dry and brittle in the winter or in drier months.  Don't skip this step!  

Before you get wet, make sure you take care of a few things first like cleaning their eyes and ears.  This is a very important step in dog grooming and in making sure your dog is healthy.  To properly clean your dogs ears use cotton balls and an alcohol-based ear cleaning solution for dogs.  Do not use Q-Tips no matter how tempted you are.  A Q-Tip might seem easier to use but is dangerous as it can go too far into the ear and cause damage of the ear canal.  So get your cotton ball, soak it with solution and then gently place it over the opening of your dog's ear canal.  Gently massage the dog's ear while the cotton ball is inside.  Take another cotton ball and wipe the insides of the external portion of the ear.  If you go to clean the ear and it is red or smells foul there might be an infection and you should have your vet take a look.  Clean ears should be pink inside and have no dirt or debris in it.  

For the eyes, get a soft clean cloth and wipe gently.  The white of the eye should be a bright white and the membranes around the eye should be light pink.  Generally a healthy eye should not have significant discharge, though some might be normal, especially in locations where allergy levels are high.  If your dog has typical tear stains, there are special facial shampoos that are easy on the eyes and aid in whitening of the tear stains.  


f you are able, trimming the nails is next.  Most dogs do not like us touching their feet and many dogs have had a bad experience with you or the groomer cutting the quick at some point.  If your dog's quicks are long, just tip the nails with clippers or a dremmel.  Do this a couple times a month to get the quick to recede.  Your dog's nails should not be touching the floor when they put weight on their feet.  If you nip the quick put pressure on it immediately and dip the nail in flour or use Quick Stop if you have it.  

Lastly, thoroughly brush your dog before you bathe him/her.  Gently brush or cut all mats out.  Wet mats are harder to work with than when they are dry.  Never let mats air dry as it makes the mats tighter!  

Ok, now time to lather up!  Water temperature should be luke warm.  Thoroughly wet your dog.  Adding a little shampoo along the spine can help water penetrate the oils on the rain coat easier than just water alone. Allow the hair to get wet all the way down to the skin.  Pour some more shampoo down the spine and with your hands work it into the coat starting at the head and working down towards the tail.  Hands are quite beneficial in helping remove oil and dirt from the hair.  Plus some dogs find it very soothing. Try not to get water in their eyes or ears.  You should wash ALL areas of your dog including the genitals and anal area to make sure your dog is completely clean.  Now it's time to rinse!  Allow your dog to shake off water if it wants to do so as it is instinctual behavior.  Repeat the shampoo process one more time and then rinse again.  Make sure all of the shampoo is out of the coat.  There should be no suds left and the hair should squeak as you pull your hands across.  Now you can use your conditioner if you aren't using a Two in One.  Same thing...rinse thoroughly.

Drying is not always a pleasant process for your dog.  It can be darn right frightening.  Use a slicker brush as you dry using the same pattern you would for normal brushing.  The slicker brush will help separate the hair and speed up the drying.  Start at the back end and work your way forward.  Dry your dog's head last.  This will give your dog time to adjust.  At the end, praise your dog and reward with treats!  Try to make this a good experience for your dog and then you won't meet as much resistance the next time you want to give him/her a bath!  

Here are some bathing products I really love:

Barklogic 2 - 1 Shampoo and Conditioner in Mint - has tea tree oil in it - makes the coat really shine - $12-14

DakPet Pet Grooming Deshedding too for short to long hair coats (much cheaper than the Furminator and works just as good!)  - $19-24

PortablePet Booster Bath Dog Wash Tub - great for outside and keeps you from having to bend over - Amazon usually has the best price $149



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