Most people look forward to a luxurious bath after a long day, armed with a favorite book, a candle or two, and a few precious undisturbed moments. Sadly, the family dog doesn't feel the same way. He approaches bath time fearfully parked with eyes the size of saucers, but bathing is a necessary part of grooming.
So, it's time to get Sparky into the tub. You've donned your Kevlar, rid the bathroom of anything remotely breakable, and have a mop on standby. Now what? Once Sparky has accepted the inevitable, it's time to make certain you've chosen the right shampoo to make bath time a success. Products are available for dogs with sensitive skin or certain allergies, and specialty shampoos are available for your dog's particular coat color. Making the right choice is important, as some shampoos can alter the appearance of your dog's coat.
Shampoos containing optical brighteners, bluing and bleaching agents are available to improve the appearance of a white dog's coat. For best results, these products should only be used on dogs with white fur. The improper usage of these products can result in your black dog looking more like Halloween orange. Read the labels, ingredients and instructions carefully. If the bottle indicates the product is best for a white dog, and your dog isn't white, don't use it. You wouldn't use the wrong hair care products on yourself. Applying that same practice to your choice of dog grooming products can avoid the canine equivalent of your worst beauty salon disaster.
Products are also available to improve the appearance of other coat colors. The coats of black dogs, in particular, can take on a dull appearance, as dust and dirt lingers along the hair line and on the fur itself. Many specialty products are designed to alter the appearance of the coat as it is seen by the human eye. As with shampoos for white dogs, the same practice should be applied to dogs with other coat colors. If a shampoo is designed specifically for a black dog, optimum results will only be achieved if the dog's coat is black. Some shampoos contain dyes to improve the appearance of a dog's coat. Tie-dye looks great on a shirt, but is far less appealing on a dog.
If Sparky has a reaction to a particular product, see a vet as soon as possible, and discontinue using the product. Similar to their human counterparts, dogs can develop allergies or intolerances to certain ingredients. If you're not sure what product is best for your dog's skin care needs and what will keep him looking great, ask your veterinarian. The key to bath time success is preparation. Do your research, read the ingredients, choose the best shampoo and be prepared to get wet.
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images