Dog Grooming for Beginners
However, veterinary guidelines suggest that it is a bad idea to bathe a pet too often, as it removes the natural oils from the coat and fur, leaving the dog looking unhealthy, and removing the protective barrier all dogs naturally have against harsh weather conditions, cold and water.
There are a few simple ways to ensure a dog is bathed correctly, minimising oil removal and ensuring that the dog looks and feels great.
Preventative Measures – Does the Dog Really Need Bathing Again?
There are some tricks for making sure a dog who returns from a boisterous walk can get away without being bathed before it jumps on to furniture or wanders around on a beige carpet – try some of these techniques first:
Wet wipes – use these to remove small amounts of dirt and grime; available from most pet shops.
Dry shampoo brushing – rub the shampoo powder in, and brush out to remove odours and dirt.
Sponging down – a ‘half-way house’ between a brush and a full bath, useful after a long walk where paws and legs are a bit grubby.
How to Bath the Dog Safely and Effectively
Many pet stores and supermarkets now sell dog shampoos which provide a number of functions: anti-flea shampoos, shampoo for sensitive skins with aloe vera and chamomile to name just a few. However, there is no reason why a dog cannot be bathed using a gentle human baby shampoo which contains a high level of moisturiser.
Many shampoos designed for dogs can be very harsh on the coat and skin, leading to dandruff-type scurf which shows irritation of the skin and coat troubles. Brands such as Johnson’s or Pantene are actually quite effective – select a brand for the dog in the same way as you would for human hair. If your dog has sensitive skin, dry skin or is prone to infection then choose accordingly. However, be very careful when choosing the shampoo as a treatment that can strip moisture out of the skin or perhaps may irritate can be exceedingly uncomfortable.
Don’t Be Afraid to Use a Conditioner.
- Place the dog in the bathtub and rinse well with a warm shower
- Make sure that all areas of the dog are thoroughly damp. Do not be afraid to get the face wet – it’s a misconception that wetting the face can cause problems, as long as the owner always remembers to dry out the ears thoroughly with cotton pads after the bath
- If the dog threatens to shake, place a hand on the neck of the dog and give a firm ‘no’
- Make sure that the eyes and ears of the dog are not running with water – these are the sections which cause the dog to get the urge to shake
- Lather the dog thoroughly with shampoo, running a hand down all legs and lifting the feet, and not forgetting the groin and belly areas. Do not let shampoo get into the dog’s eyes or ears
- Rinse thoroughly and repeat
- Condition the coat with a mild conditioner and rinse well
- The rinsing process is critical when bathing a dog, to make sure that all chemicals are thoroughly removed.
- Run your hand over the dog’s fur to push out excess water and lift the dog out of the bath with a soft warm towel
- Run the dog thoroughly (this is the fun part for both dog and owner!) This may involve lots of rolling about and praise to get the job done!
- Blow dry the fur very carefully on the lowest setting, using a brush to fluff and separate hairs
- Replace the dog’s ID collar and reward with a big hug, and the best biscuits available
With time and care, a dog will actually grow to enjoy the bathing process, and can be encouraged to jump into the tub without persuasion, and stand without shaking throughout the process. Usually, the promise of a great reward and having fun during the towelling process should restore the dog back to a great frame of mind as earlier ills are soon forgotten.