So things around your home are getting a little funky? Is your dog leaving a less than pleasant aroma wherever they go? Maybe you caught her in the backyard putting on her perfume (in other words, rolling on something dead and squishy). Needless to say, it’s bath time!
Fortunately, dogs don’t need baths often. Depending on their coat, they only need one to two baths a month - unless they find something to roll in, of course. Baths are important to keeping your dog’s skin healthy and their coat shiny. Bathing helps remove dust and dander that brushing can leave behind. They can help prevent itching in allergy prone dogs, and kill fleas and ticks before they get too comfortable. A bath is also a great time to do a pest check, and clean your dog's ears.
Maybe you usually go to the groomer, but they’re booked up. Or you’re a novice dog owner ready to combat the stink. Chances are, you need some help. Dogs aren’t always the biggest fans of bath time, which is often due to mistakes we don’t even know we’re making. Don’t worry, you can give your dog a bath without injuring yourself or traumatizing the two of you.
We’ve put together 5 tips to make bath time a more pleasant experience for you and your dog. Use these tricks the next time your pup gets pungent, and you may even be able to make bath day something to look forward to!
5 Tips For Bathing Your Dog
For a lot of us, bathing our dogs usually goes something like this:
Fill the tub, wrestle dog into tub, the dog escapes, wrestle dog back in the tub, dog rolls like an alligator pulling you down, you escape, attempt to shampoo, shampoo covers you and dog, rinse the entire bathroom, remove the dog from the tub, dog runs outside and finds a muddy hole to roll in.
We’ve been there. But dog bath day doesn’t have to be a terrible experience. You can follow these tips to help make bath time easier.
1) Have all of your supplies ready- There’s nothing like having a wet dog flailing in the bathtub and then realizing you’re missing towels or shampoo. Gather everything you’ll need before you wrangle your dog into the tub. If you plan on making dog baths at home a routine, put together a bath caddy so you have everything you need. Some important items to have on hand are:
- Brush- Be sure to choose the right kind of brush for your dog’s unique coat.
- Shampoo- Select a shampoo that addresses any skin concerns your dog may have.
- Conditioner- Optional, but conditioner adds shine and makes fur silky.
- Towels- Towel drying is recommended unless you own a professional pet dryer. A regular hair dryer can cause burns.
- Non-slip mat- This will make your dog feel more secure in the tub, and keep them calmer as a result.
- Cotton balls- Cotton balls in your dog's ears while bathing will help keep the water out. This will help prevent ear discomfort or infection.
- Cup or hose sprayer to rinse- Always rinse from the neck down.
- Treats- Bribery will make this easier for everyone involved.
2) Brush your dog before you wash them- Giving your dog a thorough brushing before tub time does several things. On long-haired dogs, it removes knots and tangles that could become matted when wet. For dogs with shorter coats, it removes loose hair and keeps it from sticking to you and the bathtub, and prevents bathtub clogs.
3) Ease them into it, and don’t forget the treats!- Don’t just rush your dog into the bathtub. Start slowly, and don’t be afraid to bribe them with treats. Let them get wet outside. If your dog is used to water from being allowed to play in sprinklers or a kiddie pool, bathtime won’t be as difficult.
Don’t just run the bath and throw your dog in. Make sure the water is a comfortable temperature. Bath water of the wrong temperature can cause a stress reaction that will further cement your dog's hatred for baths. Lukewarm water, between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, is the temperature at which dogs are most comfortable. You may find that your dog prefers the water slightly cooler, or slightly warmer, so be sure to watch your dog's cues and adjust accordingly.
Rewarding your dog for good bath time behavior will help them associate baths with something good. This will make your next bath time easier. Keep the treats nearby so you can reward your dog for getting in the tub, staying still while you scrub, and being calm while you rinse.
4) Use bath products designed for dogs- Human shampoos can strip the natural oils right out of your dog’s skin and hair. They may also contain ingredients that are not gentle enough for a dog’s skin. Use a good quality dog shampoo, and also keep any special skin concerns in mind.
If your dog has allergies, find a shampoo designed for allergies and sensitive skin. Dog bath bombs or soaks can also add soothing ingredients, like essential oils and oatmeal, and address concerns like itchy skin. Simply pop your dog’s bath bomb into the water for an added boost of beneficial skin-soothing ingredients!
5) Keep calm and bathe on- Your dog will pick up on your stress and anxiety. The calmer you stay while giving your dog a bath, the calmer they will be. You can even add products to the water to help your dog stay calm during bath time. A dog bath bomb with calming ingredients, like Fido Fizzies Zen Puppy, doesn’t just help make your dog smell better. They’re infused with essential oils that will help make your dog’s bath more like a spa night.
Don’t worry if your dog doesn’t turn into a bath lover right away. Keep working on it. If you make it a fun routine, instead of a dreaded chore, your dog will start to adapt. Plenty of treats, an unstressed pet parent, and luxurious bath goodies will help your dog start looking forward to bath time.
Want to check out more bath time must-haves? Visit the Fido Fizzies shop to pick out your dog’s next spa necessity!