10 tips for bathing dogs

Keep your pets cool as the weather heats up with some handy hints…

As a powerful heatwave heads to England this week, with highs of 34°C, dog owners will struggle to keep furry friends cool – as anything above 20°C can be dehydrating.

The most efficient way to quickly cool pets down is with water, so Showerstoyou.co.uk have provided top tips for bathing your dog at home, in time for the mid-June heat wave. To do this, they investigated a variety of different tips and tricks online, revealing the ten most essential steps when bathing your dog.

1. Clip your dog’s nails before bath time

Many dog owners forget that before bathing, it is important to check if nails need to be clipped. Long nails make it harder for dogs to have a good grip in the bath, and will often fall over, especially if they are a small breed such as a Yorkshire Terrier.

 2. Brush your dog’s hair before and after bathing

Remember to brush your dog’s hair before and after bathing. All dog breeds shed their hair, and it’s best to get rid of any excess dead hair before shampooing. Brushing your pet’s hair will also get rid of any matting and tangles before washing, making it a much easier and more pleasant experience for you and your dog.

3. Gently place cotton balls inside the ears before bathing

One of the things that dogs hate the most is getting water in their ears – hence shaking off mid-bath in an attempt to remove trapped water. This can be controlled by placing a small cotton ball inside your pet’s ears while bathing, providing your dog with a more pleasant bathing experience.

4. Wash your dog in lukewarm water – no more than 37°C

Always check the water temperature before wetting your dog. What feels warm enough on our skin tends to be over 38°C, and this is in fact too warm for your dog’s skin. Water temperature over 37°C can increase your pet’s heart rate too much, causing a strain, especially for puppies and older dogs.

5. Avoid getting water in the nose

It is important to tenderly wet your dog’s face, but avoid getting water near the nose. The best way to do this is by tilting the head up, and closely monitoring the nose. If too much water enters they are at risk of choking.

6. Tearless shampoo is a great option, especially for young puppies

Dog shampoo isn’t always vital, you can opt for tearless shampoos. These are usually sulfate and paraben-free, making them the perfect tear-free formula to wash your dog with.

7. Scrub the hair in the direction you want the hair to grow

It is important to scrub your dog’s hair in the direction that you would like it to grow. This simple step will help to avoid ingrown hairs, which could lead to bumps in the skin.

8. Avoid spraying your dog with full force water

It is imperative that the water pressure is low, as using harsh water pressure can be quite a traumatic experience, especially for younger dogs. By using lower water pressure, you are also saving yourself from splattering dirty water all over your bathroom.

9. Rinse and repeat

Even if you believe that all the shampoo has been removed after rinsing, make sure you double or even triple rinse. Ensuring every little bit of shampoo has been removed is vital as any remaining suds can irritate your dog’s skin.

10. Gently hold the back of the neck to limit your dog from shaking off wet water

If your dog is about to shake off all the bath water, before you have had a chance to wipe them down with a towel, simply hold the back of the neck and apply a small amount of pressure. This makes it impossible for them to shake their head, however their tail may shake a little.

Martin Smith, owner of Showerstoyou.co.uk:

“For those dogs that hate being bathed, it is important to normalise the bathtub! Many of us wash dogs very infrequently to the point that dogs feel nervous about being bathed. However, you can attempt to use the bathroom and tub when it’s dry as a feeding location – creating a positive association with being in or near the bathtub. Another tip that works well is to place a Licki mat in the bathtub so that the dogs can have a treat, and are distracted while in the bath.”

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