Written by Doris Donnerman (last updated February 17, 2009)
Bathing your dog can be a hassle, a task that most people dread and probably most dogs dread it too. Is there a way to make dog baths more enjoyable for both parties? Is there a way to shorten or simplify the process? There are a few tips you can put into practice for giving dog baths and fortunately they aren't too hard.
Something easy you can do is to walk your dog before bathing it so that it won't go outside wet. If it goes outside wet, it will just gather more dirt and the bath will be rendered completely pointless. Something else that's good about the walk-before-the-bath plan is that you can get the dog in a good mood and maybe the dog will be more amenable to the bath idea.
You could get in the bath with the dog. I'm not saying you should have a bath yourself, but wear dumb clothes that you don't mind getting wet and soapy. The dog will likely be more apt to get into the bath with you, allowing you to do the requisite bathing and the dog probably won't be too frustrating. If, however, you decide not to get into the bath yourself, you'll want to prevent you getting wet (or at least minimize how wet you get). To prevent your dog from splattering you, wash its head last; a wet head makes the dog want to shake itself dry. Wrap the dog in a towel before lifting it out; this will also greatly reduce the water it shakes off. Towel your dog dry immediately after its bath.
There are also a couple of tips to utilize regarding the soap of the dog bath. No one likes soap in their eyes and dogs are no exception To keep soap out of a dog's eyes, gently apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly over its eyebrows and around its eyes. To minimize soap film, you can add vinegar or lemon juice to the rinse water. Rinse your pet thoroughly. You might want to add an extra soap wash in there to wash the vinegar smell off—a pet that smells like vinegar is gross.
When you're finished you probably don't want a wet dog traipsing around your house, so use a blow dryer. Set it on warm, not hot, and hold it at least six inches away from your pet. You don't have to blow the fur completely dry, but at least try to get the sopping wetness out of the dog.
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