How to Wash Your Dog: Simple Tips & Tricks
Everybody loves a clean dog. But suggest a bath to yours and she'll insist she is just fine and dandy skipping it—when push comes to shove she actually enjoys smelling like the offensive thing she just rolled in. Many dogs resist bath time tooth and nail if they think there is the remotest chance this strategy will let them off the hook..
How often should you undertake the dreaded dog bathing routine? And can you make it any more pleasant for all parties involved, yourself included? We have answers to these questions and more; read on for bath time tips to make the ritual of dog washing as simple and painless as possible. And who knows? You and your dog might even come to enjoy it.
Quick Tip: Bad news for the bathing-averse dog—science has upended the old notion that frequent baths damage her skin and coat by stripping away natural oils. It’s safe to give her a bath whenever she needs one.
How often should I bathe my dog?
How about now? It's really a matter of personal preference: if you want her smelling freshly scrubbed all the time, once-weekly bathing is probably sufficient. If your dog leads an active lifestyle that includes rolling in unmentionables or taking regular dips in lakes, rivers, and puddles, routine bathing is a necessity. And if she has skin allergies or a minor skin infection, a regular bath can help her avoid antibiotics. But once-monthly bathing is often enough for most dogs, and manageable for most of us who are willing to undertake the chore of dog washing at home. If nothing else, use the sniff test as the ultimate bathing barometer: when your dog stinks, she needs scrubbing, stat.
Bath Time Benefits: Three Excellent Reasons to Scrub Your Dog
What dog washing and grooming supplies do I need?
Must-Have Dog Bathing Supplies:
Nice-to-Have Dog Bathing Supplies:
Gather your dog bathing supplies in one accessible spot near the tub or shower (or sink if she is compact), and make sure you can reach them all, including her towels—leaving a soggy dog standing in the tub while you sprint down the hall for them is a sure recipe for a watery mishap.
Now prep your dog, yourself, and the bath:
Quick Tip: You will never be able to detangle densely matted hair once it’s wet. Always do this when your dog is dry.
How to Bathe a Stinky Dog: Getting Down and Dirty
This is an excellent time to use her favorite toy and a small treat or two to lure your dog to the bathtub. If she resists, leash her and gently lead her to the bath. But never use anger to motivate her: she'll hear it in your voice immediately and learn to loathe bath time. Likewise, she can sense when you're anticipating an ordeal. Instead stay calm and positive, and use treats as rewards—you want her to associate her bath time with pleasure. And bring a water toy into the tub to distract her if you think it will help. Note: Always close the door once you're in the wash room—she may escape the tub, but will at least stay confined to a smaller area.
Quick Tip: Liquid shampoo applied directly to a long-haired dog can lodge in one spot. Diluting it with a little water ahead of time will help you distribute it more evenly.
Finish your dog's bath time with an amazing, delectable treat: offer the same irresistible prize every time so she ultimately connects her bath with this trophy. And if she never thrills at the notion of a bath, strategic planning and a calm demeanor on your part can at least help get you both through the dog wash with minimal fuss. Bath time can be enjoyable—wash your dog clean, but never wipe the winsome grin off her face.
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