Preparing a bath for dogs doesn’t always have to be dreadful for either one of you.
While there are some canines that naturally dislike the water, there is still hope for them to enjoy the occasional bath – especially if you put in the effort to make each session a positive and safe experience!
If you prefer to wash your own dog instead of bringing them to a professional groomer, we have 5 tips for bathing a dog safely and properly below:
Tip #1: Brush Your Dog’s Coat
Before getting your canine in the water, brush your dog’s fur to remove all the loose and/ or tangled hair. This ensures you properly clean off any dirt trapped within the fur, and also prevent discomfort on your dog’s end since tangled hair can start to mat when wet.
To make the brushing experience more positive and pain-free for your dog, start at the base of the tail and push the fur against the grain towards your dog’s head. Be careful not to be too aggressive or scratch your dog’s skin.
If you find that there are stubborn mats on your dog, it is best to shave them off for both your dog’s health and comfort.
Tip #2: Pick A Proper Place
Choosing a bathing spot depends on some factors. Smaller dogs for instance can be easily bathed in the sink or laundry room, while bigger dogs may need to be taken to a washtub outside.
A few safety factors to consider when choosing a proper area to wash your own dog are:
- Is the space big enough for your dog?
- Are there no sharp objects or other harmful things that may pose a problem during the bathing process?
- Is it an environment they feel safe in and/ or are familiar with?
- Does it have a hair catcher so no drains will be clogged?
- Is there an area you can tether them to avoid them running off in the middle of the bath?
If your dog is new to bathing, one of the best dog bath tips you can follow is being patient as they grow accustomed to the area first – without turning on the water. Once they feel safe in the environment, you can slowly introduce water and the bathing process. This way, your dog will not feel stressed during the cleansing process.
Tip #3: Test The Waters
An indoor bath for dogs makes it easier to control the temperature of both the environment and water you are using. While outdoor baths are perfectly fine, ensure that it is not too cold or hot out – this also applies to the water temperature you will be using.
Run the bath on lukewarm water and be mindful of the water pressure as well, keep it on low to make sure it does not cause discomfort or pain for your canine.
Cold water does not clean well, so best to stick to lukewarm or warm temperatures (but never hot!).
Bonus Tip: If Your Dog Hates The Water
As briefly mentioned, there are some dogs that just naturally hate the water. There are also some who absolutely LOVE it; in fact some breeds are known to enjoy water (hello, golden retrievers).
If your dog tends to run or cry at the thought of bath time, try practicing positive reinforcement in the form of praises, treats, and lots of cuddles! Surely, the next time you reach out to grab the shampoo, he will associate it with all those good things and have a healthier mental state.
Tip #4: Use Quality Dog Products
Another important dog bath tip for safety is using quality products made specifically for dogs. These are formulated to address common canine concerns and since dogs have a different pH level than people, using products made for humans may irritate their skin. We highly recommended trying these two dog shampoos:
This premium oatmeal and aloe dog shampoo contains a mild formula that is perfect for general bathing and grooming. It is mainly made of aloe and oatmeal, and is then infused with cucumber essence with ripe melon extract.
It not only boasts of a pleasant scent, but it also has the following benefits:
- Free of soap
This medicated dog shampoo was formulated by veterinarians and designed to include a broad range of antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It contains 1% Ketoconzaole and 2% Chloroxylenol to combat multiple dermatological conditions and ensure your pet’s skin is healthy.
Tip #5: Practice Proper Washing and Drying Methods
In order to keep your dog safe during bath time, practice the proper washing and drying methods below:
Proper Dog Washing Method
- Once you have thoroughly brushed their fur, start by slowly putting water all over the dog’s body, avoiding his head, face, and ears.
- Start by applying shampoo to their hind legs, tail, and continue on to the chest, stomach, and front legs.
- Cup your hands over their ears to prevent water from seeping in, and then slowly apply water on their head and face.
- Lather these areas with utmost care since even tearless shampoo can cause discomfort to their eyes.
- Rinse thoroughly and repeatedly.
Proper Dog Drying Method
- Quickly wrap them in a towel to prevent them from feeling too cold.
- Make sure to towel-dry every part, most especially dogs with heavier coats since these are susceptible to damp spots in the undercoat, which lead to an unhealthy dog. Leaving areas damp can cause sores, pain, and acute moist dermatitis.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?
Now that you know the best safety tips for giving your dog a bath, how often should you do it?
Rule of thumb would be once a month, but it depends on some factors.
For instance, dogs with longer coats may require a bath more than once a month, and definitely more frequent grooming sessions. Dogs that also play in the dirt often will need regular cleansing.