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Bathing Your Dog
"Splish Splash I was Taking A Bath" - Author: Chris Chamberlin
Bathing a dog doesn't have to mean you and your bathroom will get soaked! Preparation is the key. Gather the necessary equipment first.
You will need :
1. Mineral oil
2. Cotton ball
3. Rubber mat for tub
4. Hand-held spray attachment for shower
5. Shampoo (tearless/flea/and/or pH-balanced for dogs)
8. Blow dryer
Step by Step to Bathing A Dog
First things first. If your dog is matted, it is essential that you brush out the tangles before the bath as, once wet, these tangles clump together like a thick felt and become impossible to comb out or pull apart. Next, to avoid discomfort for your beloved pooch, it is wise to apply a little mineral oil or Vaseline around his eyelids. This will help avoid eye irritation from soap and water that can get into the eyes. With a bit of practice with the sprayer, you will be able to avoid such mishaps. Before the bath, you can use some cotton balls in the ears, which will provide protection from water getting into the ear canal. (Retained moisture is the most common cause of ear infections). Finally, place a rubber mat in the tub to help prevent slipping and to gain better control. If you have a cloth leash and can secure it in the tub to the taps or towel rack, putting your dog in it will help keep him in control and actually make them feel more secure. Doing this allows you to have both hands free to do a good job.
Where to Bath Your Dog?
Where do you do the deed? Well, the most common place is the family bathtub, but if your dog is small enough, the laundry tub is preferred as it is raised and will save strain on the back. If you have a large dog and double laundry tubs, you can put the front legs in one tub and the back legs in the other, having the dog straddle the two.
Now that you dog is in the tub and secured we can get to it. Run the water away from the dog to reach a warm temperature. Dogs don't like cold water out of a hose inside any more than they do from a hose outside. Of course, too hot is not good either. Male dogs react quickly to water too hot on their private parts. :) Start at the back end of your dog and work up to his head. Most dogs dislike water on the face and getting to it gradually may ease some of his tension.
The exception to this is if you are bathing him to rid him of fleas. It is important then to start at the top (head) and work down. Once your dog is thoroughly wet you start applying the shampoo in the same order. Work the shampoo in with a squeezing motion as rubbing and scrubbing can cause mats to occur on longer-haired breeds and even cause skin irritation on any of them. Be sure to clean between the toes and under the front and back legs. Face too! You can use a face cloth to wipe away any tearstains without getting soap in the eyes.
Not everyone will be comfortable with expressing the anal glands. They are two small glands, about the size of a pea, that are located on both sides of the rectum. These glands can become full and uncomfortable for the dog and if you notice him scooting his bottom on your rug, he probably needs them emptied. The glands are scent glands and create quite a strong odor.
Have you ever noticed when two dogs meet for the first time they greet each other by checking out the others rear end? This is to help them determine if the other is aggressive or afraid etc. Anyway, down to the task at hand. Using your thumb and pointer finger, get behind the little gland and gently squeeze up and out to express the fluid out of the rectum. Sometimes the fluid will be thick and pasty and sometime thin and watery. Any time it is green, there is a good chance he needs to see the vet as it indicates an infection.
Rinsing is important. Make sure you get all the soap off as it will leave the coat dry and dull and in some cases, can even cause itchy dandruff. A creme rinse is a good idea if you have a longhaired breed or a conditioner if your dog's coat is dry. Again, be certain to remove all residues.
Drying can begin with squeezing excess water out and then towel blotting. This will reduce blow-drying time. Long coated breeds must be blow dry as leaving him to dry naturally will promise a matted dog in the end. Try to train your dog to lie on his side to be brushed while drying. This will make your job much easier and you will do a far better job. A warm setting and a soft brush can relax the dog and may even put him to sleep while you and he have time for silent communication.
Once your dog is dry and brushed out he will be ready for the next steps of good grooming. Next month I will go into the procedures of Nail, Ear, and Tooth Care. Happy Grooming !!