Every pet owner needs to know how to bathe their dog. Even if you send your dog to a professional pet groomer, you may still need to give him an emergency bath once in a while. Learning how to give a dog a bath is must-know information for any owner.
How hard can it be, right? Well, you might be surprised to find out that there is more to bathing a dog than most people realize. It's not just about wetting your dog down, rubbing in a little shampoo and then rinsing him off.
What kind of shampoo are you going to use? Where will you bathe him? What other grooming products will you need? Is there anything that you should do before you start bathing your dog?
As you can see in my video guide, I bathe my dogs right in our shower. I'm able to do this thanks to the MIU PET Multi-Functional Pet Shower attachment seen in my video guide. It allows me to wet and rinse my dog without the struggle of pouring water from a cup, and its bristles allow me to get the water all the way through the coat and onto the skin.
It is common for pet owners to use the bathtub/shower in their own personal bathroom to wash their pets. You could also use an outdoor hose, which is especially handy if your dog is muddy or has rolled in something stinky.
If you have a small/medium breed, it may be beneficial to invest in a dog grooming tub. These tubs are more expensive, but they are on raised platforms so you don't have to bend over the entire time you're scrubbing and rinsing your dog.
No matter where you bathe your dog, it's knowing how to give a dog a bath that really matters. Follow my step-by-step guide and you're sure to have a great experience with this home grooming task.
How To Give A Dog A Bath
1. Choose the right products
Obviously, you're going to need shampoo and possibly conditioner. But, are you using safe products? Some dog owners think it is okay to use human shampoo on their pet. A dog's skin has a different pH than human skin, and it's important that you use a shampoo formulated specifically for dogs.
If you use human shampoo on your pooch it will dry out his skin and coat. It could even do permanent damage to his coat, leaving it dry and brittle for the rest of his life.
When learning how to give a dog a bath, not only do you need to find a shampoo that is made specifically for dogs, but it has to be safe too. Many of the cheap shampoos you'll find on the shelves of big box stores are made with harsh chemicals, toxins and artificial ingredients.
Over time, these harmful ingredients can leech into your dog's blood stream through his skin and cause serious health problems. Instead, look for a shampoo made with natural ingredients that will be gently on your dog's skin and coat.
Find a shampoo that is made with your dog's needs in mind. If he has dry skin, search for a formula that will help with that condition. If his coat is prone to mats and tangles, look for a dog shampoo that will help with that.
You may also need conditioner for your pet, depending on his coat type. Consider other products that might be helpful as well. I already discussed the MIU PET Multi-Functional Shower, but you may also need a drain hair catcher (this is the one that I use) or a Lick Lick Mat to keep your dog from wiggling around.
2. Brush him first
Before your pup even gets in the tub, you'll need to give him a thorough brushing. This will help to remove any loose hair that may clog the drain and also get rid of any mats and tangles in his coat.
3. Set the right temperature
Setting the right water temperature is also very important. Your dog is more sensitive to heat than you are, so a temperature that feels good to you is going to be too hot for him. Set the temperature like you would if you were bathing an infant. Lukewarm water is best when learning how to bathe a dog.
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4. How to give a dog a bath
Now it's time to wash your dog. First, you'll need to give him a thorough rinse to ensure his coat is wet all the way through. Apply a small amount of dog shampoo down his back. If you're using a quality shampoo a little will go a long way!
Start massaging the shampoo into his fur, making sure to reach all the way through the coat to his skin. Next, wet the dog's underbelly and apply a small amount of shampoo to your hands in order to wash his belly and legs.
Make sure to work the shampoo over your dog's entire body, except for his head. You can wash his neck, but you don't want to risk getting shampoo in his eyes, ears, mouth or nose. If necessary, you can wash his face with a wet washcloth or grooming wipes after giving his a full bath.
Once you have covered his entire body in shampoo, you'll need to leave it for at least 10-15 minutes. Keep massaging your dog and working in the shampoo. This will help the shampoo do it's job and help to keep your pup calm.
Now it's time to rinse. One of the most important parts of learning how to give a dog a bath is understanding the need for a very thorough rinse. Don't rush this step, or you'll leave shampoo in the fur.
This leftover residue could irritate the skin or even give your pooch a rash. At the very least, it will leave him itchy and lead to an especially oily coat. Take the time to properly rinse him while running your fingers through his coat. By doing this, you'll be able to easily feel if there is any shampoo left behind.
5. Dry your dog
Drying a dog isn't as simple as rubbing a towel over your pet and calling it good. You have to be gentle and make sure you dry his entire body. By this point in the bathing process, most dogs and owners are ready for it to be over with. Take your time and make sure you dry your pup properly.
Towel dry his entire body – including his belly, in his armpits, and his legs and paws. The more water you can get out of his coat with the towel, the less there will be on your floors and around your home.
Be sure to reward him after he gets in the tub, throughout the bathing process and after he's finished. This is a good habit to keep even after your pet is well trained. You need to be sure to associate bathing with a positive experience, or your dog will never want to get back in the tub.
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