Before giving your dog a bath, it’s important to get them used to having their fur handled. To help your pup feel calm for their spa day, see our article on the basic rules for pet hygiene. Don’t wait until Fido rolls in mud to give him his first bath. Like all pet care, preparation is key!
GETTING YOUR DOG USED TO THE TUB, THE WATER, AND THE DRYER
Before you get your pet all wet, soaped up, rinsed, and dried, you need to make sure your canine companion is comfortable with the tub, the water, and the dryer.
Place your dog in the dry tub and give them some treats. Do this a few times to create a positive association in your dog’s mind. Next, turn on the tap and let a little water run into the tub. Gradually get your dog’s paws wet. Wipe their paws and that’s it! If your pup seems comfortable with that and not stressed (e.g., tail down, ears back, pupils dilated, etc.), start getting more of their body wet. If your dog isn’t happy, take a break and reassure them.
In addition to these mini baths, get your dog used to the dryer. A few times a day, turn the blow dryer on and offer your dog some treats. If they seem scared, turn the blow dryer on but place it farther away from your dog. When your dog is comfortable, gradually bring the dryer closer while continuing to reassure your pup.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Your dog’s favourite
- The right shampoo for your dog’s skin, which you can get from your local vet. Do not use products for humans. Your dog’s skin is very different than your own and the wrong product could cause long term discomfort.
- Brush your pup to work out any knots or matted fur.
- Wet your dog’s fur with warm water, apply the shampoo, and work up a lather. To make it easier to spread the shampoo, wet your hands, put some shampoo in your palm, work it into a lather. You can also dilute the shampoo with water and put it in a spray bottle to spray over your dog’s coat.
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Once your dog is rinsed off, rinse them again! Your pooch’s fur is much denser than your hair, making it more difficult to rinse all the product out. Here’s a tip to check if you’ve got all the product out: Turn the water off, run your hands over your dog’s fur, and rub your hands together. If this creates bubbles, you need to keep rinsing.
- Dry your dog with a towel and comb out their fur. If your dog has short hair, you can let it air dry. You can also dry off your dog with a blow dryer set to a low temperature. If your dog has a thick undercoat, using a blow dryer will speed up the drying process and help prevent any complications caused by moist skin.
- If you use a blow dryer, turn it on for short periods of time and give your pup lots of pets or have some play time in between.
- The first time you give your faithful friend a bath, clean just a small part of their body so the experience is quick and fun for both of you! For example, you could start by just washing their paws.
Now you’re ready to dive in, and don’t forget to have fun! Bath time is also a chance for you to spend some quality time with your pet, and it should be a positive experience for both you and your dog. If you take the time to make baths more enjoyable, your dog will be eager to hop in the tub in no time at all!