Would you like to set up a new bath routine with your pet and do not know how to get started?
Here are some simple steps you can take to begin the process with less stress.
Grooming our pets is a very important process for the health of their skin and fur, it keeps them clean and helps keep away pests and prevent itching.
Before we start the bath routine with our pet, it is important to establish a strong foundation of trust among us. Our pet needs to sense our confidence and feel safe. Creating a new routine requires patience. Do not be disappointed if not everything is perfect from the first bath. The most important thing is to develop a consistent bathing routine that our pet will gradually become familiar with.
Create an as calm and relaxed environment as possible. Prepare properly before you start in order to reduce stress to a minimum, and start the process slowly without rushing movements, especially on the first few attempts.
Before we get into the process, it is important to know how often we should bathe our pet.
When do I bathe my pet?
There is no golden rule here, as the frequency depends on various factors such as the type of fur, its size, and its daily routine. Your veterinarian could advise you based on the breed and possible special conditions, but here are some rules of thumb:
- For most dogs 1 to 2 times a month is enough (during the summer they might need more frequent baths as our beloved four-legged friends feel hot and spend more time outdoors).
- Breeds with more oily coats or unpleasant odors may need more than 1 to 2 times a month.
- Of course, if our dog likes to swim, rolls into the mud, or lives in the countryside and rolls on the dirt, then maybe the program requires adjustment to the frequency. Trust your nose, if things smell funny get the water running.
- Finally, we should avoid bathing our dogs a few days after vaccination in order to give the body enough time to adjust after the stress of the vaccine. The same applies in cases of application of anti-parasitic treatment (ampules, collars).
Where can I bathe my pet?
Our bathtub or shower is the ideal place, having definitely made sure to use a non-slip surface (special mat or towel). A piece of woolen cloth or a drainer helps prevent clogging from the dog’s hair.
During the warmer months we can bathe our dog in the garden, but remember that our fur friends – like us – do not like to feel cold, and some dogs might feel stressed at the sight of the hose because of the pressure and the volume of the water poured down at them.
Preparing for the bath!
- We reward our pet by giving him his favorite treats before and after the routine.
- We prepare the bathing area and gather the necessary tools and accessories in advance:
- Before starting the bath, it is good to brush our pet with a special soft silicone brush so as to get rid of dead hair and dust. However, take caution on the following: If our pet is very dirty or has a long or double coat with several knots, it is better to avoid this step. It will be painful and we might injure the animal during combing, or even worse we run the risk of infecting the skin with germs and bacteria that have settled on the hair.
- We never use water to clean the inside of the ears and we are careful with the direction of the water to avoid accidentally doing it. If our pet has long ears we hold them down gently. Water in the ear, in addition to being extremely annoying, can cause inflammation. If we do not feel confident, we can use a cotton cloth that does not leave fluff (be careful: not plain cotton) to cover the ear opening before starting (we don’t push the cloth down the ear canal). Do not forget to remove the fabric when the bath is over.
- We try to identify any sensitive spots in time and make the necessary corrections immediately. We identify if there are parts of the body where our pet is particularly disturbed/painful, what is the ideal temperature of the water, or if it feels nervous about certain accessories. Finally, using the soft part of our fingertips (not the nails), we can gently “comb” our pet’s coat so we locate any bumps, dry skin, or foreign objects.
- Dogs’ skin is different from human skin and a seemingly good temperature of water for us can be too hot for them. So, we test the temperature of the water on the inside of our wrist before we start wetting our pet. Lukewarm water is ideal.
- We always use shampoos specially designed for pets. Cleaning products designed for humans are not suitable for our pets. For more information please read our article The pH in dog shampoos – Myths and Truths
- How to apply the shampoo
We read the instructions on the package regarding the dilution of the shampoo. We place enough on our palms, we gently spread it using the soft part of our fingertips (not the nails) and we then lather the whole body (not the face) with calm massage-like movements. We can repeat the process for an even cleaner coat.
- Using conditioner
A good practice after rinsing the shampoo is to also use a conditioner to help keep the skin hydrated and have a lasting effect of the grooming.
- Pay close attention to proper rinsing!
It is very important to rinse your pet very well and not leave any soap residue. If we observe our pet scratching excessively after the bath, it may be an indication that we did not rinse well. We must see clear no bubbling-foaming water coming off our dog.
- Dry very well!
Remove as much moisture as possible with a towel and then finish drying with a hairdryer. Pay attention not to use the high temperature and don’t have the hairdryer very close to the dog’s hair. Use the medium temperature range on the hairdryer and carefully dry the whole body.
- Brush carefully!
Finally, we brush our dog, ideally using a special spray and by combining it with the suitable accessory (brush, comb) we can easily and painlessly remove the remaining free hair or knots. We are ready for hugs!
We don’t forget to talk to our pet in a calm and relaxed tone, the important thing is to try and turn the dog bath into another moment of fun and interaction with our pet!