Your dog brings you endless joy and amusement, the least you can do is make sure they look and feel their best from time to time. A great bath with plenty of high-quality shampoo, a claw clip and even a fur trim can help your pup feel revived.
Of course, you won’t always have the time or money required to take your pooch to the groomer for a special spa session. The good news? You can set up your very own spa-style experience at home, and it doesn’t take as much time, effort, or cash as you might think.
If you’ve been planning on pampering your dog for a while now, the following tips will help you create a spa-style experience perfect for some much-needed bonding.
Step 1: Have a Workout First
As fun and relaxing as pampering sessions can be for your pooch, they’re not always the best idea when your pup is in hyper mode. If your dog hasn’t had his daily walk, or he’s full of energy after eating his favourite meal, he’s not going to be in the right mood for a dip in the tub.
Exercising with your dog for an hour or so before you plan on starting the grooming session can make the whole thing feel a lot smoother for both of you. Your dog will burn off the excess energy which can sometimes make bathing problematic, and they’ll get the extra benefit of a great run with their best friend. If you’re planning on doing a nail trim or clipping your dog’s fur, this will be much easier when they’ve already had their exercise too.
Step 2: Try a Massage
After your dog’s done exercising, let them know how much you appreciate their companionship by helping them get rid of any unwanted knots in their muscles and shoulders. Remember, your dog spends a lot of time on his feet, running around and looking after you. A gentle massage can help get the blood flowing into your pooch’s muscles and joints, ridding them of unwanted discomfort.
To prepare for the massage, make sure you’re in a space that’s comfortable for both you and your dog. Start with the top of your dog’s head, and work your way gradually down his neck, making circular motions with your fingertips. Stay away from the stomach unless it’s for a good scratch.
Step 3: Clip the Nails
If you’re clipping your pooch’s nails as part of this spa session, keep the session as short and sweet as possible. Even the best-behaved dogs don’t always like having their paws restricted for nail clipping, so keep this in mind. You might want to have a treat ready to distract your dog from what’s going on – particularly if you know they’re likely to be nervous.
Sitting on a flat surface with your dog, grip your dog’s paw firmly (but not too tight), and hold the clippers ready. You should have your thumb on your dog’s paw pad, to help spread his toes so you can better see the nails. Remember, don’t clip too far, as you could risk hurting your dog by trimming too close to the quick.
Step 4: Bath Time
Bath time is likely to be the best part of the spa session for both you and your pooch. Before you even start running the water however, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared. Grab the shampoo and conditioner you’re going to be using. Make sure you choose something suitable for your dog’s specific type of coat. If you’re bathing a puppy, stick to something gentle.
Grab a few towels so you’re ready to wrap your pup up warm after the bath, and a comb or brush so you can work out any knots or matts in his fur. If you know your pooch has a tough time with water, you can consider using treats to soothe them. Alternatively, simply replace your full bathing session with a quick brush if your dog doesn’t need a bath yet. Whatever makes your pup the most relaxed should be what you’re doing for a spa session.
Step 5: The Snuggle Session
Once you’re done with the bath, the next step is the simplest. Wrap your pup up in a towel you can trust to soak up all that extra moisture. If you’re not sure which towel is best, or you want to bring your pup downstairs quickly to snuggle with you on the sofa, you can always consider a drying bag instead. These bags are great for life on the go too.
Don’t scrub your dog dry, as this can make knots worse, and cause discomfort for your dog’s skin. Instead, try to simply soak up the excess water by patting your dog down with your towel. Try to focus on getting rid of extra moisture around the ears and face, so it doesn’t irritate your pup.
Once you get most of the moisture off your dog, the next thing to do is simply snuggle up for a spot of relaxation. Pull your pup onto your knee and spend an hour watching your favourite show together. A good snuggle is one of the best ways to finish a long day and a pamper session.
Creating your Own At-Home Spa Day
An at-home spa day can be a wonderful experience for you and your pup. Don’t forget, if your dog is nervous, it’s a good idea to provide plenty of support in the form of soothing words throughout the bathing and grooming session. You can also offer a handful of treats from time to time – after all, your dog probably deserves it.
Once you’ve learned to master the at-home spa session, you might find you spend less time visiting the groomer and more time bonding with your pup at home instead.