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reading by the water

Dog Washing Basics

Posted by: Mira Roberts
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You and your pet probably share heaps of wonderful moments together each day, from running along the trails outside to playing in our on site bark park or just cuddling up on your patio to catch some afternoon sunshine. It's great to get out and get active and dirty with your dog, but for some pet owners and their pets, the clean up process is less enjoyable. Giving your dog a bath can be stressful-for you and your pet. Some dogs are nervous around baths, and some owners are, too (hey, we get it!).

If you use a good system, lots of positive reinforcement and some loving touch, bath time can be fun for you and your furry family members. We have a basic, practical method for prepping, washing and rewarding your dog that will keep you both in your happy place so you can get back outdoors without worry.

When it's time to give Fido a good scrub, you'll have options for places to clean him safely and comfortably. We offer convenient dog wash stations on property, but depending upon your breed and your pet's personality, you may want to simply wash him at home in your tub or in your sink (but, please don't try to cram your 75 lb. lab into your kitchen sink).

Preparing for the Wash

Before you begin the wash, you'll want to do a bit of prep work by brushing their hair, trimming their nails and gathering all of your necessary supplies. Nail trimming may not be something you're comfortable doing just yet, and you can always leave this to your vet or a local groomer. If you do choose to trim your pet's nails, be careful not to cut them too short and cut to the quick. 

Brushing Hair

Brushing your dog can be a simple way to relax your dog and also help you to notice any spots, marks, ticks or cuts your dog may have on his or her skin. If your dog's hair is matted with sticky substances, we recommend using a bit of original Dawn dishsoap as a good way to remove even the greasiest of scum. Once your baby's hair is brushed, it's time to gather your supplies and begin the wash!

Washing Fido!

When you wash your dog, you'll want to begin by gathering a gentle shampoo (choose a shampoo that is safe and designed for their breed and coat), washcloths or sponges and dog treats as rewards. Once you have your supplies, bring your dog to the washing station, tub or sink and begin by removing their collar and running the water to check for temperature (warm water is ideal). Place your dog in the tub and fill the water to just around their knees. Wet their body from the neck down. Avoid washing their face and head, as water can get into their ears and cause infection, or shampoo can bother their eyes.

Once your pet is wet, use your hands to apply shampoo on his or her body from the neck down, and give a good rub to work up a lather. If your dog has long hair, massage the shampoo in the direction of the hair growth to prevent tangles. Avoid putting any shampoo on your dog's head or face.

Use a wet washcloth or soft, wet sponge to carefully and gently wipe your dog's face to remove gunk and dirt. Clean inside the folds of their skin, but be careful to keep any moisture away from their ears.

Now that your furball is scrubbed down, rinse his body completely until the water in the tub runs clear. Depending on your dog's coat, this could take a while, but it is important to wash all shampoo out of their coat to prevent irritation of their skin. Remember NOT to pour water over their head or face.

Dry Your Doggie

If you have a soft, microfiber towel, it will pull moisture away quickly from your dog when it's time to get dry. If not, a household, bath towel will suffice. Pat your dog's hair dry, and avoid rubbing to prevent matting and tangles. We do not recommend using a hair dryer, but if you choose to, be sure to keep the temperature on cool to prevent injury to your pet's skin and coat.

Comb it Out and Offer a Reward

If your dog has long hair that requires further combing, try to do it while their fur is still wet. You can use a detangling spray to help you get through the fur, if necessary. Once your furry friend is combed and dried, it's reward time! You'll want to give your dog a treat, right away to help them create positive associations with bath time, and share your appreciation by offering as much praise as you like. They earned it (and so did you)!


About the Author
Mira Roberts Gravatar
Mira Roberts

Mira Roberts studied writing at New York University, graduating with a BA in English Literature before pursuing a career in media, marketing and management with PARADE Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, AltDaily, skirt! and lululemon athletica. A full time mother, writing instructor and part-time freelance writer, Mira lives and laughs with her family in Norfolk, VA. 

 

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