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Scrub a Dub Dub: Tips for When Your Dog Is in the Tub

Depending on your dog’s opinion of baths, or just water in general, giving them a scrub in the tub can be a quick routine procedure or it can feel as drawn-out as waiting for a four-year-old to finish her vegetables. Either way, you can expect to get wet!

Probably looks half the size she was pre-bath!
CC image courtesy of Fauxen

While giving your dog regular baths is an important part of their grooming, too many shampoo sessions can dry out their skin, especially if you aren’t using gentle pet shampoo. As you get to know your dog, you’ll likely come up with a loose schedule based on his or her coat length, odour, time spent outdoors, and breed.

When you’ve decided it’s time to get down and dirty clean, gather all of the supplies you will need and extra towels to put on the floor. Before you add water to the equation, give your dog a thorough brushing to get out tangles, loose fur, and debris.

Bathing Your Dog: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Smile! Make sure you are cheerful and calm as you lead your dog into the tub or washbasin, and do your best to stay this way throughout the rest of the steps to show him that bath time is fun time! That said, don’t forget to close the door so that he doesn’t have an escape route.

2. Add water! Fill the tub with a few inches of warm water (but not more than this because high water levels could add to any anxiety he is feeling and will increase the likelihood of him trying to escape), and use a pail or pitcher to gently pour the water on him, starting just behind the head.

Small dogs can be bathed in the sink.
CC image courtesy of tsheko

3. Scrub! Once your pup is wet, start massaging shampoo into his fur, working from the neck down along the back to the belly and the legs. It’s best to avoid shampooing the face and earsjust wipe those parts with a wet cloth if needed.

4. Rinse! Rinse him thoroughly with the same technique you used in Step 2. (If you are using a conditioner, apply it as directed on the bottle, comb it through the fur, and rinse again.)

5. Brace yourself! If you’re in the bathroom, pull the shower curtain closed so that when he shakes, the water is somewhat contained (although, at this point, your efforts to stay dry might be futile).

6. Towel off! Towel dry your pooch and let him get out of the tub. Make sure that you wring out his tail and dry in and around every paw before you let him loose in the house. If he has a long coat and the towel-drying has made him look a bit ruffled, comb him again.

7. Celebrate! Reward your dog with a treat or two for his good behaviour.

Bonus tip: It’s always a good idea to make sure your dog is completely dry before you let him back outside after bath time because dirt will stick to him even more than before! In the winter, this is even more important because the cold temperatures could leave your pup damp for hours. Brr!

Was this easier said than done? Just remember that no matter what happened, it was easier than trying to bathe a cat!

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