Washing your dog is an essential part of being a pet owner, and it has the potential to be a great opportunity to bond with your pet. However, if you don’t bathe your dog properly, you risk not only having to deal with a smelly animal, but also allowing him to develop rashes or other skin conditions. These tips can help make bath time enjoyable for you and your furry friend.
1. Brush before you bathe.
This step serves to calm your dog before bath time, which can be a very stressful time for dogs who don’t look forward to being washed. Brushing his coat makes him feel relaxed and content and will make him more likely to cooperate during the rest of the bath. Additionally, this removes the majority of the loose hair that could otherwise end up clogging your drain or coating your shower walls, and it gives you a chance to check for any fleas or ticks that may have taken up residence on your pet.
2. Human shampoo is a big no-no.
Many people believe that using human shampoo on their dog is harmless, and while it is true that the occasional bath with your shampoo might not harm your dog, it can cause serious adverse effects if used often. This is because dogs, obviously, are not humans and therefore have a different skin makeup than humans do. First, dogs’ skin is more sensitive. Humans’ skin is about 10-15 cell-layers thick, but a dog only has about 3-5 cell-layers. This means that dogs are much more prone to irritation. Additionally, dogs’ skin has a different PH level than ours, meaning that their shampoo needs are very different. A dog’s PH of about 7.5 is much more alkaline than ours (about 5.5), meaning that our heavy, acidic shampoos feel much harsher to a dog’s skin. Acidic shampoos also hinder the fur’s ability to protect the skin by stripping the hair of necessary oils, so if you use your shampoo on your dog, you risk over-cleansing and severely irritating his sensitive skin.
3. Don’t forget the face!
Because many dogs shy away from having their face washed, many pet owners ignore it altogether. This is a huge mistake, however, as eye and nose secretions can build up quickly, causing a smell that will bother you and irritation that will bother your dog. If your dog does not tolerate water splashed directly on his face, use the corner of a wash cloth to wipe these sensitive areas with warm water. Or you could also use cotton swabs to do the job. His ears should also not be overlooked, but be careful when cleaning them. Just as it is important to be cautious when cleaning your own ears, it is essential that you do not go too deep into your dog’s ear, or you risk injuring him. Also, because moisture can easily and quickly develop into a painful infection, make sure that you dry his ears thoroughly when you are finished.
These tips can help you turn bath time into something you and your dog look forward to together. In time, even the most anxious of dogs can learn to love bathing, but you must learn to be responsive to your dog’s needs. Also, following a successful bath, remember to give your dog a treat to reinforce the importance of good behavior during bath time.
K9 Kingdom is located in Wexford, PA and serves neighboring communities such as Cranberry, Bradford Woods, Allison Park, McCandless, and north Pittsburgh. Contact us today at 724-935-DOGS (3647) or visit our website at myk9kingdom.com for more information.