How to wash a Dog

Bathing a dogMost dogs loath them, but some dogs can’t get enough of them. A bath can seem like a dramatic time of the month for your dog, but keeping them clean is very important to ensure their skin and coat is kept shiny and clean. More importantly, it ensures they don’t get any skin irritations, infections, or have any loss of fur.

Below we have put together a premium guide to washing your pooch, especially if you have trouble with getting them in the bath in the first place! These hints and tips will give you an idea of how to get them in the tub in the first place, how to wash them and how often. After reading this guide you might find bath night a lot easier to handle.

Before the bath

The first thing to think about is getting your dog comfortable with the bath itself. A lot of dogs link the bath with punishment if they aren’t particularly fond of water, so rather than just throwing them in and getting them wet, take some time to familiarise them with the bath itself. Get them to go near it, place them in it and generally keep them calm and relaxed around it by talking to them softly.

Most of all, give them a treat once they’ve been in or around it, and they should link the bath with a positive experience. Once they are comfortable going in the bath, follow these steps:

  • Brush your dog to get rid of matted hair. This should make the bath easier, and also stop your drain from getting clogged up with dog hair.
  • This is a good chance to groom your dog in other ways, such as cleaning their ears out with a cotton pad and clipping their nails
  • Prepare a measuring jug of dog shampoo mixed with warm water. Never use human shampoo as this can be harmful to a dog’s skin. Keep the jug on the side ready for use during the bath.
  • Put towels down on the floor and keep a clean towel on one side to dry them afterwards.
  • Shut the bathroom door if possible to stop them escaping and soaking the house!

During the Bath

Dogs will react differently to having a bath, with some wriggling around and being tough to handle whilst others will just stand still and accept their fate.

Either way, try and be patient with your dog and keep them in the bath. It might be that you’ll need another person to keep your dog still whilst you wash them, depending on how much they hate the bath! Also make sure you wear clothing that you don’t mind getting wet. Once they’re in the bath, follow these steps:

  • Make sure you only use warm water on your dog, rather than a hotter temperature that you might be used to when showering. Too hot and it could burn your dog’s skin. AT the same time, too cold and they’ll be left shivering
  • Most importantly, never wet your dog’s head. This can lead to excess water getting in their eyes or ears, causing infections and leading to much bigger problems down the line. If you need to do the top of their head, be very careful and tilt their head back
  • Rinse all other parts of the dog carefully with warm water before pouring on the dog shampoo. Pay specific attention to stomach, paws and legs where they can get the dirtiest. Make sure to lather in the shampoo as much as possible before rinsing thoroughly.

After the Bath

Your dog should be thoroughly washed, and smelling a lot fresher than before. Once the bath is over, try to get them warm and dry again as quick as you can. If your dog is shivering don’t worry, just make sure to have the towel on hand. Follow these steps once the bath is over:

  • Give your dog an initial rub down with the clean towel while they’re still in the bath. Stick to their back, stomach, chest, tail and the tops of their legs. Their first reaction will be to shake, so you need to get them as dry as possible before they get out
  • Once they are reasonably dry, carefully lift your dog out of the bath and place them on the towels you put down. They may try and jump out on their own, but as much as you can don’t let them. This can be dangerous and can result in injury due to the slippery surface.
  • Use these towels to dry their paws one by one. Give them one more rub down to get them as dry as you can. Whatever you do, don’t use a hairdryer unless it is meant for a dog, this can harm their skin
  • All done! Lots of praise and make sure you treat them appropriately for being a good girl or boy

Remember that on average, a dog only needs a bath around once per month. Since there are so many breeds with different coats, this can change depending on whether they are short or long-haired, or even if they have water-repellent coats. The more hair your dog has, the less bathing and more regular brushing you need to do.

Puppies generally rely on their natural oils to stay healthy, so it’s best to keep bathing to a complete minimum. If you would like specific advice for your breed of dog, it’s always best to consult your vet or a local groomer.

For more dog advice in general, head over to our Simpsons Premium Advice Centre for more information. If you would like to ask a question regarding any of our healthy products, then use our contact us page to get in touch.

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