There are times when you may have to bath your dog at home. Like when your dog is dirty all over after a muddy walk. Or after he or she rolled in something disgusting, or if your dog groomer can’t fit your dog in…
Depends on the size of the dog and its temperament it can be an easy peasy and enjoyable task. You are happy, your dog is happy and you’re both having a good time… or it may require the whole family to participate and hiring a cleaning squad afterwards. Because your dog is not only jumping all over but also shedding excessively and you are all too exhausted after bathing him.
Before you actually start make sure you have all your dog’s bathing accessories ready and handy:
✅ Non slip mat or a towel that you place on the bottom of the bathtub
✅ Shampoo – if you use a concentrate dilute it beforehand
✅ Calming Floral Spray to make bathing a positive (or at least less stressful) experiece
✅ Brush and comb – not necessary but I explain later why it’s a good practice to brush your dog after a bath
✅ Apron – if you think you may get wet
Before you start bathing it’s up to you if you need to leave a collar, or even a short lead, on your dog. Sometimes it is easier to handle but it’s not necessary. Or you can get a suction cup and security noose.
If you are worried about your dog’s ears put cotton wool inside but do not press it in too hard, too deep. With more practice, you will learn how to keep the inside of the ear dry. And if you use cotton wool don’t forget to remove it straight after bathing!
Place a rubber mat or a towel on the bottom of the bath. It will help your pet to feel more comfortable and prevent from slipping. Just make sure you don’t block the drain hole.
Set water temperature. The water temperature should be lukewarm, not too cold, not too warm, comfortable to the touch.
Start wetting the coat by placing the showerhead on the body, on the back of the neck. Keep moving the showerhead down the spine towards the tail. Keeping the shower head close to the body will ensure the water will easily and quickly penetrate the coat, and also the area around the bath won’t get wet.
After wetting the tail come back to the shoulder area and wet the side of dog’s body including the legs. When you start wetting your dog on the top of his body the gravity of water will help you to wet him faster. If your dog has an extremely thick and heavy coat make sure his coat is thoroughly saturated.
Wet the head. When washing dog’s head you have to be careful not to get water in the dog’s ears, nose, and eyes. If you can lower the water pressure. You can use your hand as a shield to protect your dog’s eyes, ears, and nose.
Apply shampoo. Most dogs need more than one shampooing. The first shampoo breaks up dirt and the second allows better shampoo saturation into the coat. That’s what dog groomers do, but at home, it’s up to you.
If you have a long hair breed like a Yorkshire terrier, Shih Tzu, or other in full coat… you don’t want to scrub the coat back and forward as it can create tangles.
Start applying shampoo on the top of the neck, back, tail, front of the dogs, side of the body and legs. Same on the other side. Then massage the shampoo into the coat. Leave the head till last. This will minimise the impact of the shampoo on the nose and eyes.
Pay more attention to the dog’s paws, under the tail, long ears, beards, and under the eyes where dirt can accumulate easily.
Start rinsing the same way as when you were wetting the coat. But this time rinse the head first. Keep the shower head close to the dog’s body and rice with fast-moving strokes, forcing the shampoo away from the skin and coat. This way you will work quickly and efficiently.
If needed apply a second shampoo, massage, and rinse thoroughly. Keep rinsing until you are sure there is no shampoo residue in the coat. If you think you’ve finished, rinse one more time to be sure. The coat is clean when it feels “squeaky”. Shampoo residua will make the coat feel “oily” to the touch and may cause skin irritation after bathing.
When bathing short-muzzled dogs (Shin Tzu, Pug, and puppies) you have to pay extra attention to the nose, and you have to be extremely cautious not to get water into the nasal cavity and into the dog’s lungs.
Use an aquasorb towel to remove excess water. Again if you have dogs with a long coat do not rub the coat but gently squeeze. Then squeeze the towel and repeat. About 3 – 4 times all over the body. Now use an ordinary towel to dry your dog even more. Personally, I like Dogrobes UK towels.
After bathing it is easier to see if your dog has any tangles in his coat. It’s also a good practice to brush your dog in this stage to prevent further matting. You can use the line brushing method I described in my YouTube video.
What’s your bathing experience at home like?
Keep safe, Jitka xx