Washing Your Dog

by Julia Woodbury
(last updated August 3, 2020)

Although there is a great variety of dogs out in the world, there are generally just two ways of washing them. Depending on what you know about your dog (How big is it? How thick is its fur? How much does it like water? How likely is it that it will shake off?) you can decide between these two options: indoor bath or outdoor bath. For any doggy wash you will want to collect the following items for yourself and your pet:

  • Clothes that can get wet (sweats and a tee shirt)
  • A dog brush
  • Pet shampoo or baby shampoo
  • A tether (especially for large dogs)
  • A large cup or pitcher, or a hose or shower attachment
  • Towels

If you are planning on working outdoors, find a large basin or kiddie pool that your dog will fit in.

Before you begin, you will want to thoroughly brush your dog in order to remove dirt, burrs, and matted hair. If your dog's fur is badly matted or tangled when it gets wet, the mats and tangles will just get worse.

If your dog is uncomfortable around water, fill the tub or sink in advance so that the sound of running water won't disturb your pet. Coax your dog into the water and, if you can, tether your dog so it can't escape in the middle of the bath. Begin to pour water over your dog. This is when it would be handy to have a shower attachment so you can have a continuous flow of water going over your pet. If that is not an option, a cup or pitcher will do the job.

Once your dog is wet, rub a sufficient amount of shampoo into your dog's coat. The amount will depend on the size of your dog and the thickness of its coat. Check your shampoo for more specific instructions. In general, you should rub the shampoo in the direction of your dog's hair growth. This is especially useful for dogs with long hair because it will keep the hair from getting tangled.

Next you will need to rinse your dog thoroughly using the shower attachment or water pitcher. It is important to get all the soap out of your dog's fur, otherwise it will make the skin itchy and flaky. Residue shampoo might also be ingested by your dog. A good way to check if you have gotten all the shampoo out is to press your hand along your dog's fur. If you see bubbles, keep rinsing.

In the washing process, you shouldn't submerge your dog's head. Some dog's ears are prone to infection if they get wet inside. Wash your dog's face separately using a sponge or a washcloth.

When the bath is done, towel your dog down. If you are outside, you may want to make sure to keep your wet dog away from the dirt for a while, otherwise it might get muddy and need another bath. If you wish, you can dry your damp dog with a hair dryer. Just be sure to use the lowest, coolest setting, and don't allow the air to stay on one patch of hair too long, otherwise it may burn your dog.

One last note is to try washing your dog only when it needs it. Washing your dog too much may lead to dry, flaky skin and a loss of the natural oils that protect your dog's fur.

Author Bio

Julia Woodbury

Julia Woodbury is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University. She delights in the written word and has interests in magazine writing and editing. ...

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