Dogs are gloriously, deliciously disgusting and need bathing, not just to keep the skin and hair in prime condition but because they think that powerful perfumes such as fox poo are wonderful.
Fortunately, dog hair is naturally self-cleaning but not so self-cleaning that it only needs washing once or twice a year, as some will tell you. Many dogs benefit from bathing once a month. Those with certain skin conditions may need more frequent attention. Here are our guidelines for bathing your dog.
- Groom your dog before bathing to remove mats and tangles.
- Use a non-slip rubber mat in the bath to prevent slipping.
- Ensure the water is not too hot. Run it first to get the right temperature.
- Put balls of cotton wool in your dog's ears to prevent water getting in.
- Remove leather collars but always have a collar on so you can grab it if your dog decides to make a run for it while soaking wet.
- Use a "no-tears" shampoo. When using any other type of shampoo including shampoo recommended by us take great care to avoid shampoo getting in the eyes.
- Use a hand held shower to wet and rinse your dog. If your bath is not equipped with one, get an inexpensive rubber one that fits on the bath tap.
- Have plenty of towels ready. Your dog will want to shake, not just to rid itself of all that water. It will try its best to ensure that you get as wet as it is! Use a blow drier with caution and only on the lowest temperature setting.
Bathing your cat
If we recommend medical baths for your cat we will suggest equipment and methods on an individual basis.
Shampoos and conditioners
We have a wide range of shampoos specially formulated for different coat textures and skin conditions and will advise what type of shampoo is best for your dog's skin. For urgent washes use any type of baby shampoo. In a pinch, mild dish washing detergents such as Palmolive or Fairy Liquid is fine. Here is a list of different types of shampoo we use.
These shampoos sooth the skin and are useful to help reduce itching.
These contain skin antiseptics and other substances that cleanse or nourish the skin.
These are perfume and dye free, suitable for dogs known to have allergic skin problems.
These are like the all-in-one shampoos for us, shampoo and conditioner in one. Avoid these on wiry coats. They soften them.
Put a large towel over your dog and let it shake while covered by it. This throws off an enormous amount of water. Chances are it will want to rub itself on the carpets or grass. Try to prevent this until it is drier. Good towelling removes most water but for dogs with dense coats a hair dryer works wonders. Use the low temperature setting. Higher temperatures can irritate, and damage hair. In warm, sunny weather, outdoor drying is a fine way for dogs to dry themselves. In winter, make sure your dog is absolutely dry, including behind its ears and on its chest, before letting it outdoors.