Tips for Bathing Your Pups at Home
Yesterday I had quite the ‘incident’ here around the house. I completely own fault for what happened – sometimes even the most conscientious pet owners will overlook something… Luckily yesterday’s mishap was one that ended with some puppy bath time rather than someone getting sick or hurt.
Yesterday I was working on one of my many craft projects – getting stuff started and sorted out for Christmas here now! I generally have most of my Christmas decorations together but with the new house, I realized that there were a few things I wanted to add to the décor. I had the paint out – safely I might point out, on the dining room table. In fact, I even remembered to put the paint all away where little paws wouldn’t get into it. I missed one important step though… I left the container of dirty paintbrush water out in the middle of the table.
Now, one would think that would be safe. After all, both of my pups are well enough trained that they know better than to touch something on the table, right? This would be true except that it leaves one of the big players in this house out of the mix – Jinx aka The Terrorist. You see, when things get crazy in our house, when stuff gets broken, when messes are made, this cat is somehow in the middle of it all EVERY TIME.
Sure enough, the sound I heard was apparently Jinx knocking said container over. It had spilt down the one side of the tub (getting Jinx in the process of course) and onto Indy who was obviously standing or laying on that side of the able at the time. So, here’s Indy, suddenly showered in dirty paintbrush water… What does he do? He apparently draws some psychotic energy from the water and full body tackles Daviana, taking her out in the puddle of paint water just as I’m rounding the corner to see what’s happening. THEN both puppies, seeing me, and being super hyper-energized by this magical energy creating paint water, take off directly at me, tackling me in their excitement.
So here we are – The cat, both dogs and myself all covered in dirty paintbrush water, standing in a pile of paintbrush water in the middle of my dining room…. It was an EPIC hump day, let me tell you!
The point of sharing that story? First, so that you can all enjoy a good laugh because I know I am. I mean, if you can’t laugh at yourself then what fun is life really? I spend A LOT of time laughing at myself and the many antics that occur in this zoo that I call a house… Second, so because it is the perfect lead into today’s blog topic:
Tips for Bathing Your Pups at Home
Sure, you could take the easy option and bring your pups to the local groomer, but the cost of doing so can add up quickly, plus they aren’t always going to be the feasible option when something goes down. I mean really, are you going to load up your puppy covered in paint water into your vehicle to take them to the groomer to deal with it???
Now I do want to note that you shouldn’t bathe your pup too often. The average dog doesn’t need to be bathed more than once a month, even less for those who are short haired like Beagles and those who live in a generally ‘clean’ setting like in a condo as opposed to running around all day outdoors in the country. You should also cut back on the number of baths for dogs that have water-repellent coats like Golden Retrievers and dogs with thicker double coats like Malamutes as this will allow you to preserve the natural oils in their coats.
With two dogs in the house, one that is afraid of the shower and runs if you so much as say the word or turn on the tap, and another who thinks bath time is playtime and want to play in the water (and knows how to turn on the tap to play in it whenever she wants apparently, but that’s a story for another day) I have learned a lot about what works and what can quickly go south during puppy bath time! Here are 6 tips to help make your next bath time experience a little smoother:
Always brush your pup first!
If your pup’s hair is matted, a bath is only going to set the matte making it even harder to remove it. The matte also holds onto water. If it is close to your pup’s skin this will irritate the skin. A good brush prior to bathing will remove the dead hair and leave you with a beautiful coat to clean up.
Make sure you are properly stocked up
There is nothing worse than having a wet pup before you, reaching for the pet shampoo only to find that there’s nothing left in the bottle. Prior to getting your pup into the bath take the time to round up everything that you are going to need. Purchase a good quality dog shampoo that fits your needs. You may need something specific for your situation, such as a hot spot shampoo if you are dealing with itching, or a flea shampoo if you are currently dealing with those little pests. For regular ‘they got into something and made a mess’ bathing I use Bert’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner which leaves our pups with such soft, nice smelling fur! You also want to make sure your towels are a short distance away, so you can reach them when you’ve got a wet pup ready to get out of the bath.
Put in a non-slip surface.
If your dog doesn’t feel like they are secure while standing in your tub or shower this can cause a great deal of anxiety. It is important to provide them with a surface that puts them at ease. Use a non-slip rubber mat, or, if there isn’t one available, place a towel on the bottom of the tub.
Protect your pup’s eyes and ears.
Two very sensitive areas for your pup are their eyes and ears. Be very careful not to spray water in your pup’s eyes directly or to get shampoo into them as this will irritate them. Unlike with a human, you can’t reason with them the same to explain to them the process of flushing them clean. Instead, they will get highly distressed. Also, getting water into your pup’s ears can cause long-term problems. If your pup will let you, place a cotton ball in each ear during bath time, removing it afterwards. If not, just be VERY careful not to spray water into his/her ears.
Avoid the hot hair dryer.
While the hair dryer may seem like the easy solution to getting your pup dry quickly and efficiently, the sound of the hair dryer can be incredibly frightening for your pup. If your pup is comfortable with the sound, make sure that you are turning down the heat. Your pup’s skin is incredibly sensitive, and a hot hair dryer can cause significant burns. The professional dryers that you see being used at the groomers are room temperature for this very reason. Their safety and well-being are more important than speeding up the drying process! Drying your pup with a towel is safer, plus it’s a chance to give your pup some more hands-on attention!
Reward your pup.
When all is said and done, and bath time is over, your pup deserves a reward! This will help to further reinforce a positive feeling in relation to taking a bath. Whether its playtime with his/her favourite toy, a favourite treat or some extra love and affection. This is your chance to make sure that bath time is a fun time!
Do you have any fun bath time stories? Does your pup love or hate bath time?