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How to Bathe Your Dog – Keep it Simple

How to bathe your dog

Some dogs love water and bath time can be an easy and fun activity.  Some dogs can be more difficult to bathe. Bath time can include having to convince your dog to cooperate, wet dog smell that permeates the house, and the potential for messes if your pup runs around the house shaking itself off repeatedly. It is natural that pet parents can be tempted to procrastinate when it comes to the dog bath, and that doesn’t do anyone any good. Dogs need to be kept clean just like humans, which only makes the bath you ultimately give them that much more of a chore.

KONG has been working with dog owners for a half-century and we understand that the dog bath is a necessary task that’s not necessarily a ton of fun. However, if you incorporate a simple approach for how to bathe your dog, the situation can become much easier to manage and control. We’re going to provide 10 steps below to keep in mind that may help you come up with a plan for how to bathe your dog that works.

1. Proper Preparation

The first idea for how to bathe your dog involves preparation. Spend some time with your friend playing with a KONG toy and giving it pets. Brush your dog’s coat so you remove any fur tangles or potential fur tangles, as those can be a problem during bath time if you’re not careful. If you follow the same steps before your baths that include happy experiences, your dog may be in a better mindset when you proceed to the bathing.

2. Comfortable Setting

The plan for how to bathe your dog is going to include picking a place for the bath to occur. You should choose the same location every time so that your dog understands what’s happening, and make sure there’s enough space and comfort in the bathing area. You don’t want to try to cram a large dog into a small tub or sink, as both of you will need room to maneuver.

3. Watch the Water Temperature

Depending on what you read, you may find articles about how to bathe your dog that tell you to use cold water. You may find others that tell you to give it a hot bath. The reality is that you need to use lukewarm water, as your dog’s skin is quite sensitive – that’s why it’s protected under a layer of fur. If you’re going to bathe your dog outside, make sure it’s a warm day to combat colder hose water.

4. Gather Supplies

You’re going to need several different things when bath time comes around, so an idea for how to bathe your dog should be that you need to have all of those supplies ready before you turn on the water. Examples of supplies you may need include shampoo, a brush, towels, and anything else that you’re going to make use of. You don’t want to go searching for them with your friend in the tub.

5. Move From Head to Tail

After you put your dog in the lukewarm bath, use shampoo for dogs – not human shampoo – and work up a good lather on the coat by massaging your dog nicely. Start with the head and work towards the tail, getting every nook and cranny scrubbed except for the eyes, mouth, and face, as that will only irritate your friend. Let the lathered shampoo sit on the coat for a few minutes to do the job.

6. Rinse Thoroughly

This may seem like it’s unworthy of inclusion in a list of ideas on how to bathe your dog, but you need to make sure to thoroughly rinse all of that shampoo off before you’re finished. Soap that remains on a dog’s coat can become an irritant over a few days, and it can lead to clumping as it dries and turns to a crust.

7. Dry Thoroughly

This may seem like another unnecessary item on a list of how to bathe your dog, but for many of the same reasons, you need to thoroughly dry your dog with a towel or towels. If your dog will tolerate it, you can also use a blow-dryer, but keep the heat setting on low!  Wet dog hair can also dry in clumps, and skin that’s wet for too long under a coat can develop hotspots, which are extremely painful in some cases.

8. Brush It Out

After your dog is as dry as you can manage, you still need to do a few more things. The first is to brush your dog’s fur. After a bath is a time when there is more dead fur ready to be shed than almost any other time, so take your dog somewhere outside if possible and brush that fur out so that you don’t see it being dropped all over the house for several days.

9. Offer Positive Verbal Reinforcement

We all understand that our dogs know how we’re feeling and what we’re saying at least in terms of our tone and mood. When you’re bathing your dog and when you’re done drying him or her off, offer soothing words of praise and encouragement. It will help your friend maintain composure through what for some dogs is a stressful experience.

10. Offer a Reward

After all is said and done, the final step in how to bathe your dog should include a reward for your buddy. Give your friend a favorite treat stuffed inside of a KONG.  After a few baths, he or she will know it’s coming and perhaps remain calmer throughout the process anticipating the desired result. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a treat as well, as your dog is now clean and refreshed.

Overall, how to bathe your dog is something you’ll have to decide based on the details of where you live, your dog’s personality, and other factors. If you’re looking for some advice to help you with bathing and other pet care guidance, reach out to the 24/7 veterinary experts with a KONG Club membership. Happy bathing