Before the Bath
Wait 48 Hours After Applying Flea & Tick Medicine
Before giving your dog a bath, make sure it has been at least 48 hours since applying a topical flea and tick treatment. Bathing a dog too soon can diminish the effectiveness and make them more susceptible to a flea infestation or Lyme disease from a deer tick.
Brush Your Dog
Take care to brush out any mats, knots or tangles in your pet’s fur before getting them wet. This will not only make it easier to lather and rinse your pup, but it will also make brushing them afterward a lot more pleasant.
What You Will Need
- Shower Drain Protector: To ensure your dog’s fur won’t clog the bathtub drain, invest in a shower drain protector or hair catcher. You can also place a mesh sponge in the drain to keep your pet’s fur from getting stuck in the pipes.
- Pitcher or Large Cup: Some dogs can be fearful of water that comes out of the faucet or showerhead. Use a pitcher or cup to gently rinse your pet.
- Dog Shampoo: Use a pet shampoo that’s specifically made for dogs. People shampoo and soap can dry out your pet’s skin, which can cause irritation; however, if you’re in a pinch, baby shampoo can be gentle enough to use on your pup.
- Wash Cloth: Rather than pouring water over your dog’s eyes and ears, use a damp wash cloth to wipe their face.
- Towels: Have a couple warm and dry towels within arm’s reach to shield yourself from occasional wet dog shakes and to be prepared if your pup climbs out of the tub. Your dog will also want to be dried off as soon as possible after they have been thoroughly rinsed.
Tips for Bathing a Dog
Close the Bathroom Door
In case your dog wiggles their way out of the tub, make sure the bathroom door is closed to prevent escape.
Use Warm Water
While some people appreciate a nice hot bath, our furry friends prefer warm water. Not only is hot water uncomfortable for your dog, but it can also increase shedding.
Dilute Shampoo for Dogs With Thick Fur
It can be difficult to rinse all the shampoo off your dog, especially if they have a lot of hair. To avoid soap residue on your pup, dilute their dog shampoo with water. You can also rinse them as you lather to make a final rinse easier.
Mind Their Eyes and Ears
Pouring water over your dog’s head can cause water and soap to get into their eyes and ears. Instead of washing their face with shampoo, use a damp wash cloth to wipe their eyes and the outside of their ears.
Once They Are Out of the Tub
Do Not Use Cotton Swabs in Their Ears
Just like ear cleaners can rupture your eardrum if used inside the ear, cotton swabs can damage your dog’s inner ear. That’s why it’s a good idea to avoid using ear cleaners and instead wipe the inner flap of their ears with a warm wash cloth.
Do Not Use a Blow Dryer
Many dogs are frightened by the loud sound of a hairdryer. Blow dryers can also cause burns – even when they’re on a low setting. As long as you properly towel off your pup, most dogs are content to air dry or take a snooze in the sun after a bath.
Medium and long-haired pets need a good brushing after their bath to remove loose fur. Do this once they are mostly dry, as wet hair can be harder to brush and more susceptible to damage.