Do-It-Yourself Dog Baths

by Pauline Gill
    Don't use human shampoo. The pH is wrong for your pup.

    Don't use human shampoo. The pH is wrong for your pup.

    Chris Amaral/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Giving your dog a bath offers a window of together time to bond with him. With planning, you can familiarize your pup with the idea of tubs and water. Add enthusiasm and positive reinforcement, and bath time can be fun -- not a struggle for you or your precious pet.

    Preparing Your Dog

    If your pup has only experienced a bath with a groomer, a bath at home may make him nervous. To adjust your dog to the experience, begin by touching your pup's paws, ears and mouth. Do this for a few days before the bath. Place a rubber mat in the bathtub. This will stop your dog from slipping and put him at ease. Bring him into the bathroom and place him in the bathtub. Talk to him and reward him with a treat as you take him out of the tub. Perform this activity for a few days before you turn on the water and test that it is lukewarm. Let it run for a few minutes while he sits in the tub. Give him a treat and take him out of the tub.

    Groom Your Dog

    Before the bath, brush your dog's fur. If he has long hair, look for tangles and mats. Even short-haired dogs may have tangles in their tail. Brush out or cut mats before the bath or they will become more difficult once wet. Run a flea comb through her hair. If she has fleas, apply a flea shampoo and shampoo from the head to the tail, so the fleas don't run toward his head.

    Prepare the Bathroom

    Check that the bath mat remains in place. Open the shampoo so you don't have to fumble with it while concentrating on your pooch. Attach a shower-spray nozzle to the showerhead. If you don't have a spray nozzle, get a pitcher to use for rinsing. Place nearby a large towel for drying your pup, a washcloth to clean around his face and cotton balls for his ears. Put treats in your pocket.

    Shampooing Your Dog

    Place your dog in the bathtub as you talk to him enthusiastically. Put a cotton ball in each ear and turn on the water. Wait until the water is lukewarm and adjust the sprayer so it's spraying in a wide stream. Wet your dog around his hindquarters and move up to his head but avoid water around his face. Run a line of shampoo down the middle of his back. Lather it up and work it into his skin. Work from the back to the front. Completely rinse from the front to the back. Finish by washing his face with a wet washcloth. Towel him dry. Give him a treat and let him out of the tub. Let him air dry or brush his coat and dry it with a hand dryer.

    Photo Credits

    • Chris Amaral/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.

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