Giving a dog a bath may prove to be a difficult task at first, but with these helpful tips, a dog’s trust will be earned and bathing will become a more simple process with time. It is important to understand that dogs may not understand why they are being put in a tub full of water and scrubbed with suds, so be patient and do not hurry. Here are some steps to follow for successful bathing:
1. Prepare For Bathing
Selecting a good shampoo is important. Many small dogs may have sensitive skin, so checking with the vet for recommended shampoos is best. Dogs with longer fur will also need a good conditioner to prevent tangles in the fur. Wearing clothes suitable for dirtying and getting wet is advised, as it is sure the owner will also get part of the bath. Place cotton balls loosely in the dogs ears before bathing to prevent water from entering the ear canals; do not jam the cotton balls in. Fill the bath to a level no higher than the top of the dog’s legs. After soothing the dog, place it in the water and continue to soothe it. Giving the dog a treat is also recommended. Dogs will often make positive associations to activities involving treats over time.
2. Wash & Rinse
Using a low pressure bath hose or cup, wet the dog’s fur thoroughly, but do not pour water over the dog’s eyes. It is important to soothe the dog and reassure it with a calm voice during the entire process. Once the dog’s fur is wet, scrub its fur with shampoo thoroughly. Make sure to massage the skin just as done in washing one’s hair in the shower. After the shampooing is complete, rinse the dog’s fur until all shampoo and residue are gone; leftover residue may result in itching.
3. Condition & Comb
After shampoo has been rinsed, if necessary apply conditioner to the dog’s fur. Massage the conditioner through the fur well. Most conditioners will need to remain on the fur for about a minute or two. To minimize shaking, placing a hand on the dog’s back and patting it gently will often reduce the urge to shake as much. Rinse the conditioner out until all residue is gone. Carefully comb through the dog’s fur, starting at the ends and working upward if the fur is very long. While brushing, it is important to praise the dog by giving positive words, pats and another treat.
4. Dry & Comb Again
Remove the dog from the bath water and dry it off gently with a towel. It is important not to rub hard because the fur may catch in the towel and pull, causing discomfort. After the fur has been patted dry fairly well, comb through the dog’s fur again. Most dogs will be scared of a hair dryer, so using a dryer is not recommended. Also, the hot air from a dryer will often dry out the dog’s skin and cause irritation.
5. Clip Toenails & Clean Ears
After the dog has stood in the bath its nails will be somewhat softened, making nail clipping much easier. Carefully clip the nails, avoiding the quick. Do not cut too close to the quick, only trim off a tiny amount of nails colored too dark to see the quick clearly. Carefully file the nails to avoid sharpness. Lastly, clean the dog’s ears carefully. Only clean inside the ear flap with a warm wet washcloth; do not clean in the ear canal. Give the dog another treat for job well done!