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How to bathe your dog

Updated on September 20, 2007

Bathing our dog is always a merry affair. Nowadays he is older and much more mature, however when he was younger he had a habit of rolling around in all sorts of muck. On one occasion, I took him out for a walk after we bathed him earlier that day and the first thing he did was to find some rotten thingy (to be quite honest, I still do not know what it was all I know that it stank to high heavens) and roll in it. My neighbor advised me to just brush him, however no matter how much I brushed he still smelled.

Since we have a brittany spaniel, there was no way we could fit him in the sink. That was manageable when he was just a pup, however when he got older we had to use the bathtub. Dog owners who have smaller breeds can wash them in the sinks, however for larger dogs there is no other option then bathing them either in a bathtub or outside (it goes without saying bathing should be done on a warm day).

Before you even start bathing your dog, prepare plenty of towels and the shampoo. We would generally use 2 sheets as well, one for the bathroom floor and the other to wrap him in it to be able to get the excess water off. Have all of these things close at hand and prepared.

When it comes to shampoo regular dog shampoo worked for our dog. However if your dog is prone to sensitive skin and might react, you might want to consult your vet or a specialist at the local pet center as to what would be the best shampoo to use to avoid skin reactions. You will also need a longer shower hose and a detachable shower nuzzle.

Once you got your dog into the bathtub or sink, first test the water on your hand. It should not be too cold nor too hot, just warm enough. Soak your dog thoroughly. After you have done that, you can start with the shampoo. Take a generous amount and start at the neck and first work it in towards the top and then towards the back making sure you do not forget the legs and the tail. Work the shampoo in to get a good lather. Once you are done, it is time to rinse your dog off. You start with the neck again, but do make sure to get all the shampoo thoroughly rinsed out as leftover shampoo can also cause skin irritation and itching. During all this time be extra careful not to get any water or shampoo into your dog's eyes or ears.

If you were still dry at this point you probably will not be, as now is the time for your dog's shake off. As I said it might help to have a sheet near-by as you can use it to pat him dry with it. I would usually follow the bath with brushing of the coat, but that is optional for dogs with short hairs. Now you can leave your dog to air dry, while if you have a dog with a thick, long and double coat you should both brush him and blow-dry him (keep in mind normal hair dryer is usually to hot for dogs, so you might want to get a special one designed for dogs).

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