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26 Oct

Bathing Dogs 101: Maintaining your dog’s hygiene

Tips to keep them Clean and Healthy

Maintaining your dog’s hygiene is of utmost priority as proper hygiene will ensure his as well as the entire family’s health and wellbeing. While there is a big laundry list of jobs that need to be checked in order to ensure your dog’s hygiene and grooming, like bathing, nail-filing, paw-cleaning, teeth cleaning, cleaning his/ her ears and eyes and cleaning their bedding and collar; bathing is the biggest and most demanding tasks of the lot.

Dogs have a lot of great qualities and bring a lot of positivity in our lives but being hygienic isn’t one of them. Therefore, bathing your dog is very important as it helps them avoid skin diseases and rashes. It also acts as the first line of defence against ticks and fleas. In addition to that, bathing regularly with a good dog shampoo will help them maintain a shiny and healthy coat and will keep them smelling pleasant.

Maintaining your dog's hygiene

While you don’t want a dirty dog around the house, around your bed and kitchen, it doesn’t mean that you over-bathe your dogs. Dogs don’t need to be bathed as often as humans, of course, once every two months is sufficient to keep a dog clean. Active dogs, dogs who play in the mud and those with long hair can be bathed more often, say once every 1-2 weeks. Frequent washing can irritate their skin and cause issues like a dull coat, flaky skin etc.

While bathing your dog is a huge exercise, it is inevitable. Therefore, if you are resenting the impending bath, here are a few ways to make the experience smoother and more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Before bathing

  • Brush your dog’s fur first to get the mats out. This will make washing easier later. It will also help get out other debris. However, do this gently, don’t pull on the knots or attempt to yank it.
  • If there are too many knots, let go of some of the knots. You don’t want to upset your dog even before the bathing has begun, especially if he isn’t too fond of it.
  • Always test the temperature of the water before letting your dog into the tub or washing area. Ensure that it is lukewarm so very cool water can give them chills and hot water can burn them.
  • Don’t try tough love when it comes to getting them into the water. Rather, ease them into it with small amounts of water, starting with the toes and gradually moving on to the rest of the body. You don’t want them to hate the experience and resist more strongly to bathing in the future.    

Before bathing dog

During bathing

  • As mentioned, it is better to ease him into the water, so use a shower head or jug to slowly cover him in water. Also, watch out, as he will try to shake it off, and shower you too in return.
  • Be very gentle, with both the water you put on him and the reassuring words of encouragement you offer to him. Keep praising him when he does something good like allowing you to clean him without resistance.
  • Once he looks comfortable with the water, begin to apply the dog shampoo, starting with the neck, ending the tail. Work your way down and massage deeply into his fur to ensure deep cleansing. Then you can wash the head, avoiding his eyes, mouth and ears. You can also them give small treats during the process, if the shampoo is making him/ her restless.
  • Once you have thoroughly massaged the shampoo, rinse it off well. Ensure that you don’t leave any of it, as it may later cause irritation and harm the coat.
  • Next, you can apply a dog conditioner. This can be ignored if your dogs are short-haired. Conditioners help avoid matting and knotting in the future and make the coat shiny and smooth.
  • Rinse off the conditioner thoroughly and you are done with the arduous process of bathing, although your job as a pet parent is still not complete.

After bathing

  • Use an absorbent towel to pat your dog dry as soon as you get your little one out, and ensure that you are gentle.  
  • You can also use a hair dryer if your dog is comfortable with it, but ensure that it isn’t set on a temperature too hot and isn’t taken too close to your dog’s body.
  • Ensure that you shower him with praise and a reward so as to keep him motivated to bathe the next time as well.
  • Don’t take him outdoors till he is completely dry. Firstly, you want to ensure that he/ she is in a warm, cosy environment. Also, you don’t want all the mud and dirt outside to stick to him/ her and throw away all your hard work.
  • You would also want to keep him in a room which you wouldn’t mind getting damp, as your dog will definitely want to shake and get rid of the water on him.

Bathing your dog can be difficult, however, a little strategy can always help make it bearable, and maybe even fun. Here are some other tips and tricks that you can use to make the experience more enjoyable.

  • Bathe after he/ she is done with his morning walk or preferred form of exercise. This way they will be less restless or hyper during the bath.
  • Bathe him/ her before the meal, so that you can use the meal as a reward to keep him motivated.
  • You don’t want water to get into your dog’s ears, so it would to better to place a large cotton ball in each ear.
  • Always be patient and keep your cool. Yelling or punishing will just make them hate the experience more.
  • Never use shampoos or conditioners meant for humans. Human skin is acidic and needs shampoo to be under pH 5, while canine skin needs shampoo to be close to pH. Therefore, human shampoos and conditioners can cause allergies in dogs.

Though this seems like a long and arduous process, you don’t have to do it frequently and in return, you get a clean and good selling dog. Hygiene is as important for dogs as it is for humans.

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