For most humans, taking a bath or a shower is a calming, relaxing experience. But for your dog, it can be anything but relaxing and calming. It is common for dogs to run in the other direction when they hear the noise of the water and may try to run again in the middle of their bath.
Grooming is a necessity, not only for keeping their coat healthy, but to also help reduce allergies and the possibility of infection from dirt and germs. While you dog may resist the idea of a bath, as a pet owner it is your responsibility to make it as positive and stress free as possible for your pet.
Bath-time Mistakes to Avoid
Wrong Water Temperature
Many pet owners make the mistake of bathing their dog in water that it is too hot or too cold. The bath water should be lukewarm, because water that is too hot or too cold cause create a negative stimulus and lead them to resist taking a bath. Spray the nozzle on your forearm and/or your elbow to check the water temperature; the water shouldn’t have a shocking feel. It should feel comfortable and remember your dog’s skin more sensitive to temperature than what your hand is.
Spray is Too Rough
It is best to use a hand-held nozzle or spray in a sink or the tub to bathe your dog. The water jet should always be sprayed directly on his fur because the loud noise of running water combined with the water pressure can scare and upset your dog. First, let the water spray on the back of your hand to make sure the spray isn’t overly intense, then move the nozzle across the body of your dog. Once your dog is at ease, you can wet the entire coat.
Using the Wrong Shampoo
You should never use human shampoos on your dog, even if the product is an all-natural solution or a mild baby shampoos. Your dog’s skin has a distinct pH balance that is much different than humans, so these types of shampoos will dry their skin. It is best to ask your veterinarian for a recommendation of the best shampoo for your dog. One of the best products to use for dogs is an oatmeal-based shampoo designed for pets. If your dog has a skin condition, you should only use a vet recommended medicated shampoo. If your dog has sensitive skin, test the shampoo first on a spot on the back of the leg, wait and check to see if there is any irritation from the shampoo before using it in a bath.
Wrong Application of Soap
Applying the soap to fur of your dog, and then letting it soak in for a few minutes won’t get rid of the dirt and oil, but it will help to loosen the grime. You need to knead the soap on your dog’s fur with your fingers and hands for about five minutes. Start with their legs and then move to their face. Clean their face with soft wash-cloth or cotton ball, being careful to not disturb their eyes. Use your finger, a cotton ball or wash-cloth and a small drop of shampoo to clean the outer part of the ear. Tilt the dog’s head down before you rinse to prevent the water from entering their ear canal. Rinse the shampoo with a shower nozzle going in reverse from where you started shampooing. For example, if you started with the legs for shampooing, start with the face when rinsing. Make sure the water runs clear before you stop rinsing.
Dogs naturally groom themselves, so there isn’t a need to bathe your dog more than once a month. In fact too may baths may strip away the natural oils from their coat, which can cause skin irritations. It’s best to talk with your veterinarian about the best grooming schedule and shampoo for your dog.
Contact New Hope Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment if you have questions or concerns about bathing your dog, possible skin irritations or about which shampoo is the best for your dog.