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How to Bathe a Dog

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Dogs don’t mind wandering around all dirty and smelly — in fact, they actually like it. That’s why it’s sometimes hard to get them to willingly take a bath. It’s important to show them that activities that involve water can be pleasant, helping them create a positive association. This won’t be that hard to accomplish if you’re well-acquainted with some basic rules and just a few tricks.

5-Minute Crafts wants to make the lives of dog owners easier and will describe the best way for them to bathe their beloved pets.

What you’ll need

  • Dog nail clippers

  • A wool comb

  • Cotton

  • A rubber mat or a piece of cloth

  • Dog shampoo (it’s not advisable to apply the same shampoo that humans use)

  • A large terry towel

  • A hair dryer (optional)

  • A treat

The preparation phase

1. Get your dog used to the bathroom. If your pet is afraid of bathing, try to create positive associations along the way. There are several tricks that will help you:

  • Every now and then, go to the bathroom and call your dog. Once they get there, offer them a treat. Repeat this exercise until your pet feels this is a safe place.

  • Get your dog to hop into an empty tub. Don’t run the faucet. Let your dog get used to it. Speak softly and reward them with a treat for their good behavior.

  • Once the dog feels at ease, you may gradually add water. Pay attention to how they react. If they seem comfortable, then you may start washing them.

Tip: The sooner you get your dog used to the water, the better. Start bathing your dog at a young age. This habit, when reinforced with positive experiences, will make bathing your dog easier during their development.

2. Comb your dog’s fur. Before washing your pet, you should get rid of any excess hair. This is particularly true for long-haired breeds. Untangle the hair and remove any clumps.

3. Trim their nails. Carefully trim only the tips of the nails so as not to hurt any blood vessels. Trimming the nails is really important — otherwise, if your pet gets too excited, they could accidentally hurt you. If you’re not sure how to do it, seek professional help.

4. Stuff cotton balls into your dog’s ears. Infections may develop if water gets in their ears. Don’t overdo it or push the cotton in too deep. Only stuff the balls in superficially so that they won’t fall out.

5. Remove their collar. This will make washing their neck easier, and the collar won’t get ruined. If you need it to hold your dog still while you bathe it, use a nylon collar. Leather collars aren’t advisable since they shrink when they get wet, and this could cause choking.

6. Take the necessary safety precautions. Place a rubber mat or a piece of cloth on the floor of the tub. This will not only help your dog keep their balance and not slip, but it will also protect your tub or shower from scratches.

How to bathe your dog

1. Check the water temperature. Dogs are sensitive to hot water, so it’s better to use lukewarm water. Ice cold water won’t work either since it can cause chills, which is especially dangerous for puppies.

2. Get your dog in the bathtub. Pour some water on your dog’s fur. Check that the water pressure isn’t too strong. Work your way from the neck to the tail. You shouldn’t wash the head to avoid getting any water in your dog’s eyes, mouth, or ears. Make sure the fur is completely drenched.

3. Apply shampoo. Spread the shampoo onto their fur and massage it. The resulting lather should be evenly distributed over the whole body. It’s not necessary to use any washcloths or sponges, just use your hands. In fact, washing your dog this way is better since it will allow you to check if there are any lumps or swollen areas.

Tip: If your dog is long-haired, rub in the shampoo in the same direction as the hair grows. This will avoid any tangling.

4. Rinse off the lathered soap. It’s vital to remove any shampoo residue so that the skin doesn’t get dry or irritated. This may take a long time, especially if the fur is thick and long.

5. Wash the animal’s face. Use a damp washcloth and be careful around their eyes and ears.

6. Dry the dog. You may use a large terry towel for this. If your pet doesn’t get scared, then you can use a hairdryer. Be careful not to hold it too close to their body and set it at a low temperature. Don’t aim the dryer at the dog’s face. With long-haired breeds, you’ll have to spend some extra time combing their fur.

7. After this experience, your pet deserves some praise and a reward. Make sure that you offer some words of comfort, like calling them a good boy or girl and saying that you’re proud of them.

How often you should bathe your dog

It’s recommended to bathe your dog at least once every 3 months. However, more frequent baths may be needed because of skin problems or much time spent outdoors.

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