Pearls of Wisdom on Bathing Your Dog (Rather than Yourself)

Jack Russell dog taking a bath in a bathtub

Soap, check; large towel, check; vet-approved doggie shampoo, check; a towel and shower cap for you, check and check. If your dog hasn’t been through dog obedience training, chances are that every dog bath means an extra shower for you. Even if you try getting out of this task by entrusting your pooch to a groomer, you’re bound to be spending a fraction of your monthly income if your dog is the rowdy, messy type. To help you save your money, bathe your dog AND stay dry, read on.

Lucy, It’s Bath Time

One of the first things you should know is whether you need to go through the hassle of bathing your pooch. The following are three valid reasons for you to draw ol’ Fido a bath:

Max Rolled in Something Stinky – Obviously, this is the first reason you’ll consider bearing the process in the first place. Until you get professional dog training and prevent your dog from wading through smelly stuff, spare yourself and others from obnoxious smells by shampooing him twice if you must.

Lassie Smells like a Dog – Some dogs have a bad odor cloud around them. This may be because of dry, irritated or oily skin. Another cause can be allergies, which cause itching and ultimately smelly sores. In addition to controlling the stench, a good bath can counter the causes of her skin conditions.

Daisy Has Fleas – Whether it’s mites, fleas or lice, shampooing your pooch will fight those pests on your pet. Just remember to ask your vet about the best products you can use on her.

The Right Way to Bathe Rover

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), there are three stages for bathing your dog, each of which are divided into multiple tasks.

Stage I – Pre-Bathing Rituals

First off, ask your vet or groomer to recommend a good shampoo and conditioner for your furry friend. NEVER use human shampoo, especially since it can dry his skin and cause itching. Next, gather all your supplies and place them in the bathroom beforehand. If your dog tends to slip and slide while getting in your tub, add a thick rubber mat inside it. After preparing his bath, brush out loose fur or tangles and him to the tub. Just remember to avoid calling your dog when you’re about to bathe him. If he comes to you and is surprised by something as unpleasant as a bath, he’ll learn never to come whenever you call him. Get your pooch in the tub and place a large cotton ball in each ear to prevent moisture from going in them. You can skip the latter if he seems upset due to this step.

Stage 2 – The Bathing Process

Turn on the water and thoroughly wet your dog using a cup or small bucket. Meanwhile, make sure to prevent water or shampoo from making its way to his ears, eyes and/or mouth. To clean these sensitive areas, use a damp washcloth and gently wipe the dirt away. Next, apply the shampoo from the neck down and massage the product into his coat. Touch your dog all over to check for new lumps, bumps or signs of inflammation. Finally, rinse his coat thoroughly while passing your fingers through it to remove any shampoo residue that can cause your pooch to scratch.

Stage 3 – The Post Bath Party

After her bath, you should thoroughly dry your ol’ gal. You can use super-absorbent towels available at pet stores or use a blow dryer. Be sure to keep your blow dryer on a low heat setting to prevent your pooch’s skin from drying. If you want, you can confine Lady to a safe area such as your kitchen to prevent her from wetting your possessions or getting dirty again. To wrap up the bath fun, give your dog some treats right after her bath. This will keep her in check the next time.

How to Keep Max Clean Between Baths

Dogs and people don’t see eye to eye when it comes to hygiene. So don’t expect ol’ Rover to take a bath daily like you. Instead, practice the following measures to keep him clean in between baths.

Brush and comb his fur daily and check for skin conditions and pests.

Learn about the waterless bathing options you and your pooch have, including using a damp cloth or foam-based dry shampoo.

Add fatty acid supplements to your dog’s diet to maintain the health of his coat.

Consider trimming her hair in order to prevent her from getting dirty so often.

Enlist a dog whisperer to have her obey your commands, trust you, and resist less while you bathe her.

So who’s the smelly doggie? Definitely not yours once you follow the recommendations of this guide.