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Bathing a Dog

 Maureen Fleury

       The other day I was sitting at my desk and my dog Rufus was lying on the floor next to me. I took a look at his coat and realized he hadn't had a bath for a while. He was also in need of a good brushing because he is still shedding a bit. I thought I would do some research on the Internet to see what the experts say about how to bathe a dog.

      If you are not old enough to give your dog a bath, I'm sure Mom or Dad will let you help. In fact, for big dogs, it sometimes helps to have two people at bath time.

      The experts say to brush the dog before giving it a bath. If you don't brush, the excess hair can clog up a drain or float around in the bath water. If your dog's hair is matted, the bath water will make it worse. Matted hair can cause skin problems on your dog. If your dog has matted hair, it is best to have Mom or Dad take your dog to a groomer.

       After you have brushed the dog, it is time to get everything ready for the bath. The experts say to gather up what you need before you start the bath. You have to keep your eye on the dog when you are giving it a bath and can't be running around looking for the bath supplies. That is why you need to have everything assembled and within your reach.

This is what is needed for a bath:

  • Nylon leash and collar for restraining your dog if it is the type who will run away (do not use a leather one)

  • Soft bristled brush for scrubbing long-haired or thick-haired dogs

  • Shampoo that is made for dogs (human shampoo can dry out their skin)

  • Conditioner that is made for dogs (this is good for dogs with long or thick hair)

  • Big towel or blanket for the floor

  • Two towels for drying

           If you are bathing your dog indoors in the tub or shower, the experts say a hand-held shower unit is good to use because you can aim it on the dog and not get water in its eyes. If you are using a tub or shower, be sure to use a safety mat. It is best to have Mom or Dad wash the dog's face.

          Start washing the dog at the neck and work to the back legs. When doing the face, use a wet face cloth and do not get water in the eyes or ears. If you are using flea shampoo, start at the face and work right to the back. Use warm water but not hot water.

           Be sure to rinse all the shampoo and conditioner off the dog. If you leave any of this on the dog, it will get itchy skin.

           Drying the dog can be a very wet experience because it will start to shake the water off. You will get wet! The best thing is to put your dog on the blanket or towel and put another towel over his head. Use another towel to dry off its back and legs.

           You can use a hair dryer but be very careful. Dog hair can burn and this is not good. Use a very low setting on the hair dryer. After the dog is dry, give it another brushing to make sure there are no tangles or loose hair.


           Of course, be sure to tell your dog how lovely it looks and give it a doggie treat!

    The Pet Lady says:

    Most dogs don't need a bath more than once a month. Bathing too frequently can dry out the skin and coat.

    The picture is my dog "Marshall" who went to doggie heaven November 13, 2002



    Previously published at Suite101.com

    Printed with permission of the author


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