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Top Tips on How to Bathe A Dog at Home

Words By Martina

Martina is a wellness and skin-health writer, blogger, teacher, mother to twins and world traveler (not necessarily in that order). She believes that life is all about balance and has a special way of taking complicated topics and making them a pleasure to read. Her words are honest, informative and warm. Learn more about your skin health from Martina.

The idea of having to bathe your dog might sound fun and exciting for some while for others, it’s a nightmare! Bathing your dog can be time consuming, difficult (if your dog is one of those dogs that hates getting wet) and very messy! Yes, you can bring your dog to the ‘’doggy spa’ but you can also do it yourself. Learn how to bathe a dog at home to save you a trip to the pet grooming salon with these handy tips.

Challenge Accepted!

For us humans, it’s easy to bathe. We label having a bath as a luxurious and relaxing experience. For dogs, not so much! While some dogs do love being washed and scrubbed, most dogs would rather jump in the nearest puddle or roll around in the dirt over being bathed. The next time you take on the challenge, to make the task of bathing your dog at home as easy as possible, follow these top tips.

Top Tips

  • Brush your dog’s hair before washing. This will get rid of any loose hair and matted clumps. It will also help you spot any bumps or parasites before you scrub them down.
  • Choose your location carefully! It’s easiest to wash your dog outside – if you have access to warm running water – but you can also use your bathtub or shower. It’s OK to be in the shower with them, just don’t sit in a filled tub with them!
  • Use lukewarm water. (Never use cold water outside if the weather is cold.) Just like humans, dogs don’t like being cold and using cold water on a cold day is extremely unpleasant. You can definitely get away with it on a hot summer’s day but keep their wellbeing in mind. As for temperature, use the same temperature you would use for a baby or young child - never hot, just warm and soothing.
  • Talk to your pet in a calm and reassuring way. If you want your dog to trust you, make sure you use a calm and soothing voice when trying to coax them into the bath. Don’t force them or use a frustrated or aggressive tone as that will make the process that much more difficult for both of you.
  • Use a doggy shampoo. Don’t be tempted to use human shampoo on your dog’s coat. A dog’s hair or fur is different to the hair on our heads and needs different care. Human shampoo can damage their coat and dry out their skin, making it more prone to irritation and inflammation.1 (There are even conditioners just for dogs!)
  • Rinse off the shampoo thoroughly. The last thing you want is to spend all that time washing your pet only to leave them feeling irritated and itchy. Rinse off all the product so that it doesn’t end up sitting on their skin.
  • Avoid getting water in their ears. Cover their ears when rinsing off the shampoo near their face to avoid causing a possible future ear infection.
  • Aim for washing your dog once a month. Over washing your dog can damage their fur and strip away their natural oils.2 You may have the odd ‘pleasure’ of having a dog covered head-to-toe in mud and you need to give it an extra wash but don’t make it a habit of bathing it too often.
  • Be prepared for the shake-off! No matter how well you dry your pet after a wash, they will do ‘the shake’ so be prepared to hold up a towel to shield your walls (and yourself) if you’re inside!
  • Brush your pet one more time. Once all finished, brush through your dog’s fur one more time to get out any remaining loose hair or clumps and detangle it from all that scrubbing.
  • Protect your skin! Even though bathing a dog is all about them, don’t forget to protect your skin as well. Use a water-repellent shielding lotion like Gloves In A Bottle before you wash them to protect your hands from all that water and possible contact dermatitis from your dog.

Even though they may not always show it, your dog will be grateful to have clean and healthy fur that keeps them comfortable and protected – and you will be grateful to have a pleasant smelling pooch! 

1https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/shampoo-for-your-pet-which-kind-should-you-not-use

2https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/bathing-a-dog-at-home

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