American households keep 78.4 million dogs according to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. And every one of those 78.4 million dogs, at some point…well…smells like a dog. While you can get your dog professionally groomed, you can also do it yourself.
“Washing your dog doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience for you or your pet,” says Patty Mueller, pet care expert and founder of Rinse Ace brand pet products. “Bathing your pet indoors is an easy, less-stressful alternative to a groomer – or a backyard garden hose and bucket. All you need are a few inexpensive items and a little planning.”
- How frequently you give your dog a bath depends on its lifestyle and breed. Bathing too often can irritate the skin. A good guideline is to wash your dog only when its coat gets dirty or begins smelling “doggy.” Here are some tips to make bath time easier and less stressful for pet and owner:
Gather your supplies without your pet present to reduce pre-bath anxiety.
- Place a bath mat at the bottom of the sink or tub to prevent your pet from slipping and to protect the surface from nail scratches.
- Place a screened cover over the drain to catch pet hair.
- Brush or comb the entire coat before bathing to remove mats and tangles.
- Attach bathing tethers to your dog’s collar to secure them in the sink, tub or shower. This holds the dog in place and frees up both your hands.
- Use a shower hose with a sprayer that controls water flow. This will save water and keep you from “spooking” your pet. Hold it close to thoroughly soak the coat and skin. Usually, cupfuls of water can’t fully saturate a pet, especially its underbelly.
- Always use shampoo and conditioner made specifically for dogs. Never use products made for human use.
- Instead of applying shampoo directly to the dog, apply it to a shampoo mitt first for better distribution throughout the coat. Work it into a deep lather, and rinse with the shower hose until the water runs clear. Repeat process with conditioner. Make sure to rinse well, since any shampoo or conditioner residue can cause irritation.
- Let your pet shake off initial water, then squeeze out any excess water with your hands and finish by towel drying. Keep him
or her indoors, away from drafts, until its coat is completely dry.