I read an entire article by respected Illinois veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker, the other day on how to give your dog a bath. Initially, I thought it funny that an entire article could be dedicated to such a basic activity. I mean, in classes, we talk about how to get your dog used to be touched everywhere and having their ears and teeth examined, even how to associate your dog’s bath with good things. We don’t talk about the mechanics of giving a bath because, well… don’t you just wet them down, soap them up, rinse them off and then dry them with a towel?
Then I thought back to a summer when my Golden had four, count ‘em four, run-ins with our local Pepe Le Pew. It was always at night, right before I was about to climb into bed and, if I must cast blame, my husband’s fault. (I can feel him glaring at me as I write!)
Anyway, my dog’s baths entailed me in the shower with her, using the special skunk smell elimination concoction that I got after a panicked call to the Emergency Vet Clinic (see recipe below), and about an hour’s worth of my time. It wasn’t easy; I was very wet and now smelled like skunk and wet dog. It also wasn’t pretty.
Had I had even two of the many valuable tips from this article, we would have been better off. Here are the two that would have helped me the most:
1. Put a towel down in the bathtub so that your dog doesn’t feel insecure in her footing.
2. For dogs with dense coats, mix the shampoo with water so it spreads through the coat more easily and doesn’t just stay in one spot. (My Golden had one heck of a clean back of her neck where I put the soap initially.)
I mean, brilliant, right?
Then I got to thinking about how important this information would be for my puppy clients. The fact of the matter is that a bad bath can make a puppy afraid of baths for the rest of their lives, and though it’s not something that you might do every day, a battle for every bath isn’t fun and can be scary. Since our dogs don’t speak our language, and we usually have to bathe them before we’ve really developed a relationship, it’s good to know what to do to make the first experience with a bath, a good one. Dr. Becker does a nice, clear and simple explanation of how to go about this daily to weekly to monthly regimen, depending on your dog’s coat. Check out her article.
I hope you get at least a few things that will make your dog’s bath time easier on you and them!
Be aware – the peroxide could potentially bleach your dog’s fur. It didn’t mine, but just so you know.