When you have a dog, whatever its breed, grooming is fundamental as it is synonymous with a healthy lifestyle and good health. If you ignore it, your pet will become weak, give off bad smells, and be more easily infected by parasites. More than just maintaining the health and well-being of your dog, grooming is also a time when you and your faithful companion can create and develop a bond. On the other hand, although fundamental, this process can be dangerous if you don’t know how to go about it and adopt the right gestures. Here’s how to wash a dog properly.
Why wash your dog?
A dog needs to be washed. Hygiene and cleanliness are the keys to a dog’s well-being. It contributes to their personal development and plays on their morale. Washing your dog means above all allowing yourself to examine its body in depth. It is also an opportunity to check if your dog is infected and/or injured. In the same way, grooming helps to maintain the animal’s coat. It is a reflection of its health and serves as a shield against the cold, humidity, and sometimes plants.
Dog grooming means washing away any pollutants, chemicals, or other dirt that may parasitize the coat and increase the sensitivity of the animal’s skin. By taking the time to wash your dog properly, you also ensure that he or she always looks impeccable. This plays on the way we perceive our beloved companion.
In addition, grooming is very important for the training of a dog. When it is accustomed to grooming at a young age, your dog will become as docile as it is obedient. By letting itself go and by putting up with the grooming process, such as bathing and drying, it shows its master that it accepts his or her authority. It also shows that your dog completely trusts all those who could carry out its grooming.
How often should I wash my dog?
In reality, pets actually do their own natural grooming. But in some cases, they may need a shampoo and a good shower with clean water. Be it to remove dirt and parasites, or to remove dead hair and dead skin, or to remove unpleasant odors. However, grooming should not be done too regularly, as this can lead to irritation or itching, remove the layer of sebum that protects the dog’s skin, and reduce the natural oils that give strength and shine to the animal’s coat. Moreover, too frequent washing is not very pleasant for dogs. The ideal is therefore to wash your dog as soon as it is deemed necessary, for example:
- When he or she gets dirty or itchy,
- After swimming in saltwater,
- When he or she begins to give off a strong odor,
- In the event of an injury,
- When it is hot, especially in summer,
- If he or she has done a lot of exercises and needs to relax,
- If he or she has been in contact with dangerous substances,
- When he or she is in molting period
The proper frequency of dog bathing depends on the breed, its habits, lifestyle, health, and other factors. While some dogs need to shower once a month, others only need to be bathed every three months or even twice a year.
Getting your dog used to grooming
Grooming your dog means giving preference to certain precautionary gestures. Grooming is not particularly appreciated by dogs. It is also common for dogs to be frightened just at the thought of coming into contact with water.
Therefore, if you are confronted with a dog that doesn’t appreciate grooming as much, you should take the time to get him or her used to water. To do this, place your dog in a shower tray or bathtub. Then, a thin trickle of warm water should be poured over its paws. At the same time, it is necessary to reassure him or her as much as possible by talking to him or her, by caressing him or her, and by giving him or her treats to reward the courage he or she has shown. Once your dog has become accustomed to water and feels more confident, it will be more inclined to take a bath when the time comes. The same goes for the hair clipper: they should hear the sound of the clipper on a regular basis. This will allow them to be less panicked and stay calm during grooming.
We advise you to go step by step and to be very patient with your dog so as not to traumatize it. When you are in the bathroom, do not hesitate to leave the door open and be cheerful, your dog will be all the more reassured.
Getting well equipped and choosing the right shampoo
To take good care of your dog during grooming, you will need the following equipment:
- soft brush and harder brush,
- adapted shampoo,
- comb (optional)
- gloves (optional),
- hairdryer if your dog can tolerate it,
- micro-fiber towel,
- hair clipper and/or a pair of scissors if necessary,
- trimmer if necessary,
- anti-slip mat.
As far as shampoo is concerned, it must be chosen according to the age of the dog, the color of its coat, the length of its hair, the kind of skin, its needs (e.g. to remove fleas). When choosing such a product, great care must be taken. A dog’s skin is extremely sensitive, so an inappropriate shampoo can cause irritation, bacteria, infections, and other skin diseases. Of course, shampoos for humans are to be avoided because they are not adapted to a dog’s skin.
Washing your dog involves following certain steps
Preparation prior to washing
Before bathing, you should brush the dog in the direction of the hair to remove the dead undercoat and untangle any knots if the dog has long hair. During this step, do not hesitate to congratulate and compliment your faithful companion. If you are confronted with stubborn knots, cut them gently with a pair of scissors. If these are too close to your dog’s skin, use a hair clipper.
During the bath
After brushing, make sure that the water temperature is optimal, neither too hot nor too cold. Dogs are very sensitive to hot water. Wet your dog’s body by going up from the legs to the back and then gently up the neck. They need to get used to the temperature of the water. Above all, avoid getting their head wet, as the water could come into contact with the ears and eyes, which could cause irritation or inflammation.
Now apply the shampoo and massage each part of the body (except the head) more vigorously to spread the product better. Don’t hesitate to rub quickly to get rid of dirt. Reassure your dog at the same time, don’t hesitate to give your treats so that this moment gets associated with something positive. Then rinse your dog a few times until the natural color of the fur appears.
For the head, take a moistened, soap-free glove and gently wipe it over the muzzle, eyes, and inside the ears.
Once you finish rinsing, use a micro-fiber towel to dry your dog. You can also use a hairdryer if your furry companion is not reluctant to do so. Make sure the air coming out of the hairdryer is at room temperature (neither too hot nor too cold). You can get him or her used to it little by little so that he or she can then enjoy the hairdryer!
After washing your dog
Now that your dog is well dried, brush him or her again to untangle the hair. Don’t hesitate to put a large towel on the floor before letting your dog out of the bath as it may roll on the floor to finish drying itself out.
Finally, reward your companion with a treat so that it understands that it has behaved correctly throughout the grooming process.