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How to Bathe a Dog

Do you know how to bathe a dog? This basic skill is one every dog owner should know. So let's take a few minutes to talk about how to give a dog a bath in detail.

Almost as important as the bath itself is the preparation before the bath happens. Every dog owner should know how to bathe a dog to get the most satisfying results, and the techniques begin with a thorough brushing session to be sure your dog's coat is free from mats, tangles and debris. This is also a good time to check for fleas or hot spots on your dog before you dip him into water.

Prepare the room - bathtub or sink - by protecting items that could be damaged by water (because your dog is sure to shake and water will fly all over the room). Be sure to introduce your dog to a hair dryer, running water and grooming tools well before his first bath so he won't be afraid of them when the bath really happens.

Be sure your bathing supplies are gathered before you begin the bath too. This might include things like shampoo, brushes, combs, cotton balls, towels or anything else essential for his grooming needs. Treats are a good thing to have on hand too, to reward your pooch for good behavior.

You may want to consider buying a detachable spray hose to ensure you get all the shampoo and residue off your dog's skin. If you don't have one, use a container like a large cup or bowl to gather clean water in to use. Other items that aren't necessary but that you may want to consider are a dog muzzle (if your dog bites) or a tether to keep it in one place.

During the bath, be sure the water is warm and don't fill the tub or wash basin too full. Place your dog into the bath very gently and then lightly spray or pour the warm water over his back to get him used to it. Try not to scare your dog during this process - otherwise he'll be more resistant at the next bath. And if that happens, no matter how much you know about how to bathe a dog, you'll have problems in the future.

Once your dog relaxes a bit, gently wash his face, but never direct the spray into his face. You can use a washcloth to wet the area around his mouth, eyes and nose. Massage the shampoo all the way down to your dog's skin so that it lathers, but try and prevent it from getting into the dog's eyes and ears.

If you're going to use dog grooming tools such as a rubber curry brush, now is the time to use it to remove loose hairs and any other kinds of debris. Use a soft brush or wash cloth to clean around the dog's paws and other possibly sensitive areas.

Now, it's time to rinse. Using luke warm water (not too hot), gently rinse the shampoo lather from your dog's coat and skin. Make sure that you rinse all the shampoo out otherwise your dog will be itchy and scratch later on. After the shampoo, you may want to repeat the shampoo and rinse process if your dog is especially dirty. A detangler spray is great item to promote easier brushing too.

After the bath is over, wrap your dog in a towel and gently rub him dry in a warm, draft-free area. And if you have a really hairy dog or a big dog chances are high that you'll need more than one towel. Use a hair dryer (on low heat) if your dog is not traumatized by it to finish off the drying process.

Learning how to bathe a dog correctly is something you should learn in order to keep your pooch healthy and happy. If done correctly, it's an experience you'll both enjoy and one that you will be able to replicate in the future time and time again.

Return From How to Bathe a Dog to Dog Grooming Page

"Breed a Pointer with an Irish Setter, you get a Pointsetter. A traditional Christmas Pet." -- Good Dog! magazine