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How to bathe your dog

If you can bathe your dog at home, you can save an incredible amount of time and money as opposed to routinely taking your pet to the groomer.  After a long walk or a fun week at dog day care, sometimes our pets need a bath immediately if they plan to spend time indoors with their humans.  If approached properly, this task can take as little as fifteen minutes, even for long-haired dogs.  Everything you need to know about how to bathe your dog at home is described.

Materials
Before you begin there are a number of materials you should gather.  There is nothing worse than getting your dog into the bath tub, only to realize you are missing a crucial tool.  A good shampoo (preferably oatmeal based or one that is formulated to be sensitive to a dog’s skin) and conditioner are necessary, as are a grooming brush, a wash cloth for the dog’s face, a drying cloth for the dog’s ears, and a handful of absorbent towels.  If your bathing area does not have a detachable hose, grab a large cup or bucket for rinsing off your dog once he is lathered.

Location
You must also determine the best location for your dog’s bath.  If you have a small breed dog, the kitchen sink or a wash basin in the laundry room may be easiest and most appropriate.  If you have a larger dog that does not shed excessively, the bath tub will work.  For other dogs, the garden hose may be the best option.

Water Temperature
Before you start to bathe your dog, make sure the water temperature is comfortable for your pet.  The water should neither be ice cold or scalding hot, but rather lukewarm.  Especially if your dog is restrained in the tub, it is important to make sure that the water temperature remains safe, as dogs can easily develop burns from water that’s too hot.

Bathing
When you are ready to begin washing your dog, you should first get your pet completely wet with the warm water.  Next, apply a generous amount of soap along your dog’s back, and work the shampoo into a lather by rubbing your hands in a circular motion in your pet’s fur.  If your dog suffers from arthritis or joint pain, this is a great way to give your dog a massage to bring blood flow to the area.  Be sure to wash under your pet’s tail, the belly, and in the “armpit” area.  Do not shampoo your dog’s head, ears, or face.  Instead, use a gentle shampoo (such as baby shampoo) and wash these areas using a wash cloth.   Finally, rinse your dog thoroughly, especially making sure no shampoo was left behind in sensitive areas.  Follow with conditioner, if needed.  After the bath, carefully help your pet out of the bathtub and dry your pet as best you can.  If your dog sheds, now is a good time to brush him or her to remove excess fur.  Don’t forget to wipe out the ears with a dry tissue or cotton swap, and use a commercial ear drying formula, if needed.

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