Bathing a Dog



Some dogs obviously require more grooming than others, and a variety of tools are available for this purpose, ranging from combs and brushes to scissors and clippers. It is important to train your dog to accept grooming as part of its regular routine. Indeed, if neglected, a dog’s coat may become so tangled and matted that the poor creature will have to be anesthetized in order to restore its coat to a good condition.

An unkempt coat will provide a refuge for parasites, and if soiled with fecal matter is likely to attract flies. These may then lay their eggs here, with the resulting maggots actually attacking the dog’s skin. This condition, described as ‘fly strike’, can prove fatal, since the maggots liberate toxins into the blood stream, as well as permitting infection of the bodily tissues.



Daily grooming is to be recommended for most breeds, and it can be helpful to allow a puppy to become used to the sensation, even though its coat will probably need less attention than that of an adult dog.

In most cases it will be easier to groom the dog on a table, as this saves having to bend down. Make sure that the surface is comfortable and not slippery. At first, the dog may be reluctant to stay put, so restrain it by the collar. Again, it is surprising that some people never familiarize their dogs with the sensation of being picked up. In the case of a particularly large breed this is perhaps understandable, because of the sheer weight. In the case of a puppy, it is reasonably straightforward, using the hands to hold the body between the forelegs, and supporting the hindquarters on an arm. With a larger dog, however, place one arm around the hindquarters with the other encircling the forelimbs. It may be helpful to bend down to do this so as to minimize the strain on your back, especially with a heavy dog.



There is no need to fill the bath to the top. As a guide, sufficient water to submerge most of the dog’s legs will be adequate. This will not induce it to panic. You should always test the temperature of the water to make sure that it is neither too hot nor too cold before putting the dog in. A tepid bath is to be preferred.

When you are giving a dog a bath for the first time, it may be helpful to have someone else to help you. They can hold the dog, as it is likely to try to leap out of the bath. You will need a measuring jug, shampoo and towels on hand. Choose a special canine shampoo, and use this in accordance with the instructions, especially if it is medicated and active against parasites such as fleas, for example.



Never start by pouring water over the dog’s head. Instead, using the measuring jug, bale the water gently over its back so that this runs down the sides of the body, which will be less alarming. While at first your dog may be nervous, quiet words of encouragement should help to overcome its fears. Clean all over the body before carefully shampooing the head, taking care to avoid the eyes. You may prefer to use a flannel to clean this area, as this will afford greater control.

In order to wash the shampoo out of the coat, you may prefer to lift the dog out of the bath and rinse the coat separately. Alternatively, you will need to empty the bath and refill it with clean water. Whenever you take the dog out of the bath, however, it is advisable to stand back, because invariably the dog will shake itself to remove water from its coat. You can then use a towel to dry the dog as much as possible, making sure that it does not become chilled and start shivering.



If you choose to use a hair-dryer, allow the dog to become used to the noise at close quarters. You may well find that it is scared of this unfamiliar sensation at first. Take care not to make the air jet too warm either, as this will be uncomfortable for your pet. As in many of the less obvious aspects of dog training, care over details such as this will help to ensure that there is no adverse reaction on the part of the dog. It is much better to attempt to prevent fears arising, rather than having to rectify them at a later stage.

Young dogs, especially those with a show career in front of them, need to become accustomed to regular bathing and drying. Persuading them to sit still can be difficult at first. A hair-dryer can be of great value in drying your dog’s coat, while the jets of air, in conjunction with a brush, may also help to undo any tangles after a bath. Professional grooming expertise is available, and this may be recommended if you are about to enter a show. However, much of the enjoyment of success comes from carrying out the preparatory work yourself.



After weaning, it is never too early to introduce a dog to the sensation of being groomed. The coats of many puppies may be less profuse than that of adults. and so grooming will be more straightforward. If you have a hatchback with It is better to transport dogs collapsible rear seats, then it is individually, and partitioned easy to fit an appropriate traveling cages can be acquired traveling cage for your dog — for this purpose. A rug or old thereby preventing damage to blanket should be placed in the the upholstery.