Scrubb-a-dub-dub … is it time to pop your pooch in the tub? Before you grab your towels, run the bath water, and give your four-legged love a good cleaning, check out this list of common bathtime mistakes!
1. Not Checking The Temperature
You know how you don’t like getting sprayed with freezing cold or scolding hot water? Well, neither does your dog! Before you pop your pup in the tub for a bath, make sure to adjust the temperature until you reach a nice lukewarm water. Test out the temperature by spraying the water on your forearm first, since that area is more sensitive to hot/cold than your hands.
2. Not Protecting Your Dog’s Eyes and Ears
Even dogs who seem to enjoy their time in the tub don’t want water sprayed in their eyes and ears.
The Eyes – If water gets in your dog’s eyes, it can be extremely uncomfortable and even a bit painful. To avoid a potential accident, when it comes time to wash your pups face, I recommend sticking to a wet washcloth. That way you have full control over where the water and shampoo wind up.
The Ears – If water gets and stays in your dog’s ears, they can get infected. To keep your dog’s ears clean, use either a damp washcloth or ear wipe made especially for dogs and wipe the ear clean. Don’t go too far into the canal and never stick q-tips down the ear canal.
3. Using A Super Strong Spray
Many of us rely on a handheld showerhead or bath faucet to wash our canine companions. The only problem? If you have super strong water pressure then it may frighten your pooch and/or cause some discomfort. For my two small dogs, I usually spray the bathtub faucet water into a cup and then dump the cup of water onto my dog’s body. But, an easier solution for large dogs is to let the water hit the back of your hand first, reducing the pressure before it hits your dog’s skin.
4. Not Using The Right Shampoo
As tempting as it is to share your human shampoo with your pooch, groomers advise you to stick with a formula specifically for canines. In this interview, my good friend, award-winning groomer, and dog shampoo line developer explains how to pick out the perfect bottle! Read the full interview here.
5. Washing Your Dog Too Much (Or Not Enough)
This really depends on what products you use. If you use a harsh shampoo weekly then you can actually strip away the natural oils in your pet’s coat and cause skin irritation. However, there are products on the market that make regular baths easier on your pooch. Speak with your groomer or veterinarian to determine the best products and schedule for your dog’s breed!
6. Not Drying Your Pooch Well
When bathtime is over, it’s important to take the time to dry off your pooch. Start with a towel, gently squeezing your dogs fur (not skin) to pull out as much water as possible. For short-haired dogs, the towel will likely be enough. But if you have a long-haired dog, you may want to invest in a professional grooming dryer to finish up the drying process. I use one on my poodle. While I try to avoid her face because of the loud noise, I feel safe knowing my blower won’t get too hot. If you’re working with a hairdryer meant for humans, it’s hard to regulate the temperature of airflow, which increases the risk of skin burns. So, stick with a dryer made for pet grooming needs.
7. Yelling or Scolding Your Pooch
Bathtime can be stressful for your pooch. And, while I understand that dealing with a fussy pup can be frustrating, yelling only makes matters worse. Instead, work on positive reinforcement with praise and yummy treats. Oh, the power of food!