Making Bath Time a Splashing Success for You and Your Dog

In this blog, Arden will share with you the best tips and tricks for making bath time a splash!

Beckoning mud puddles. Threatened skunks. Tempting duck poo. Itchy flea infestation. These are just four reasons your dog needs a proper bath without delay. But dogs of all hair coats also benefit from an occasional “just-because” bath from you. It’s a great bonding opportunity and conditions your dog to welcome being handed. Let me share these tips to make bath time welcoming for the both of you: 

* Size up your canine. Small dogs are best bathed in a bathroom or kitchen sink. Medium to larger dogs fare better in bathtubs or walk-in showers. Place a nonskid mat down so your dog won’t slip and slide.

* Prep the bathroom in advance. Bring in thick towels, the proper brush, a hand-held hair dryer and plenty of bite-sized treats. 

* Get into the right mindset. Dogs can smell our emotional states, so do not be impatient or in a rush at bath time. Speak in an upbeat, can-to tone to make bath time less stressful. 

* Perform a pre-wash brushing. Brush your dog’s coat before getting it wet to remove excess hair and tangles.

* Stick with shampoo made for dogs. Do not use your shampoo as it may contain some ingredients than can cause serious skin issues in your dog. Human shampoos, yep, even ones safe for babies, are too acidic for a dog’s skin. Consult with your veterinarian about picking the right shampoo for your dog’s skin needs.

* Be gentle around your dog’s face. Consider using a wet, warm washcloth to clean your dog’s face to reduce the risk of soap getting into his eyes or ears.

* Rinse, rinse and rinse. Avoid skin irritations or even hot spots by rinsing thoroughly before toweling. You know his coat is completely rinsed when you hear a squeaky-clean sound when you squeeze his wet hair. 

* Distract with cheese or xylitol-free peanut butter. Squirt cheese or smear peanut butter on a small plate taped on a bathroom wall at your dog’s eye level. He focuses on licking this yummy treat while you focus on finishing combing or brushing his coat. What A Great Dog! Training Center also carries bathing products for spreading treats on!

To avoid getting splattered by soaping water from your dog, here’s a great bath time tip from Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Family Veterinarian” and founder of Fear Free Pets program. Just gently place one finger on top of your dog’s nose and one below it, in sort of a horizontal peace symbol. This prevents your dog from getting his head turning in that whipsaw motion that is integral to the shake. Once you’re ready and have him in a suitable spot, let him shake all he wants. 

— Arden Moore is the founder of Pet First Aid 4U, best-selling author of host of the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio. www.ardenmoore.com.