Some dogs are absolute angels at bath time, leaving parents with minimal stress to worry about when they arrive home from a walk covered in mud. Unfortunately, those pooches are far and few between. The rest of us are often left wondering how groomers make it look so easy to get our dogs looking fresh, sparkling, and cuter than ever.
The good news? We’re about to share some industry secrets with you to make your bathing routine just a little easier. Rather than dreading every bath time frolic with your pup, try some of the following hacks and make yourself feel just like a professional groomer.
1. Prep Your Tub
First things first, bathing a dog is much easier when your tub is prepped for success. The first thing you’re going to need is either a tub or a sink with access to running water. If your dog is particularly difficult to bathe in your bathroom, you can use a children’s tub outside if you have access to warm water from a hose. Aside from a tub and water, you should also have:
- An anti-slip bath mat: Tubs are slippery and some dogs panic when they hear the sound of water. Slipping and falling in the tub can lead to a traumatic experience for your pup. Save them the stress with a cheap bath mat.
- A hair trap for the drain: Got a long-haired dog? Get yourself a hair trap to stop all of the extra fur from clogging up the drain. You’ll thank yourself for it later.
- Something to rinse with: This could be a jug you can use to pour water over your dog, or a shower head, depending on your situation.
2. Choose the right Shampoo and Conditioner
Using the right shampoo and conditioner will save you time, by ensuring you don’t have to lather and rinse your dog’s fur multiple times. Look for something specially tailored to your dog’s coat. For a shedding dog, a de-shedding formula will be ideal for removing loose fur and minimizing discomfort. For a non-shedding dog, a natural shampoo with no toxic ingredients will be a good pick.
There are special shampoos and conditioners available for dogs with skin conditions, and puppies, so make sure you look around for the right formula to suit your furry friend. Make sure you have an extra sensitive and diluted shampoo for the fur on your dog’s face.
3. Get the Drying Utensils Ready in Advance
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people rush their mucky dog into the bathroom only to realize mid-soap they don’t have a towel. We’d recommend having two separate drying solutions for your dog. The first is a dog drying bag. This is a much easier tool to apply to your dog if he or she tends to run off when you’re trying to get rid of the dampness on their fur.
You just slip your dog in the bag and snuggle them dry! It’s that simple. While many groomers use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process, this might not be ideal for your dog. For beginners, it’s best to stick with a highly absorbent towel as an extra precaution alongside your drying bag.
4. Practice Washing Techniques
If you’re new to doggie baths – don’t panic. The process is much easier than it seems once you get the hang of it. We’d recommend changing out of any clothes you don’t want to get wet, first. Once you’re ready to begin, rinse your entire dog with water, folding down pointed ears to help prevent water from going in the ear canal. Next, use a mixing bottle (just an empty bottle) with half water and a little shampoo, shake, and apply the mixture to your dog as needed. You can then start gently rubbing the soap into your dog’s fur.
Don’t forget to wash your dog’s paws, as they often get dirty from regular running around, and check your pup’s face for any dirt around there too. You can just rinse your dog’s face with water if you’re worried about using soap. Rinse the dog’s entire body again, getting rid of as much soap as possible. Careful not to get water in their nose – as your dog won’t be able to breathe properly.
5. Pat Your Pooch Dry
After double-checking to ensure you’ve got rid of all the dirt from your dog’s body, wrap them up in your absorbent towel. A microfibre towel is usually the best option as it will soak up the most moisture, while being comfortable for your dog. If you have a particularly fluffy dog, make sure your towel is big enough to soak up a lot of moisture.
Don’t rub your dog’s fur vigorously with the towel, as this can cause knots and matts. Instead, simply pat your dog down with the towel, then wrap them in their doggy drying bag to get rid of any extra moisture while your pooch relaxes. Easy! If you’re feeling particularly brave you can use a high-velocity dryer, but it’s best to get guidance direct from a groomer on how to use one of these.
6. Brush your Pooch Post-Bath
Wait until your pup is totally dry from their bath, then give them a quick brush over their entire coat. This will help to get rid of any loose fur you’ve dislodged with the bath. It’s also a great way to ensure your dog’s fur doesn’t end up with matts from drying incorrectly. Remember to give your dog plenty of praise and cuddles to thank them for a good bathing experience.
You can also provide a dog with a treat during the brushing section of the grooming session, as this will give them something positive to look forward to when they’re nervous about bath time.
Take Your Time: You’ll Get There
On average, you’ll usually need to wash your dog every 6 to 12 weeks. Bathing them too often can strip their coat of their essential oils, so be careful not to go over the top. If you find your dog isn’t too thrilled about the idea of bath time, plenty of patience is key.
Talk to your dog gently as you bathe them and try to keep them relaxed. Introduce each aspect of the bath slowly, following up with plenty of treats. Don’t worry if you end up a little wet at the end of your first few bathing sessions, that’s what your extra towel is for.