36% of Americans own dogs.
And it might be safe to say that 95% of those dogs hate bath time.
In this article, we’ll go over how to bathe a dog so that it isn’t a stressful activity for the two of you. While we can’t guarantee that your dog will love the bath after you follow these steps, at least it will help them be a little bit less frightened of one.
Read on for our helpful tips for how to bathe a dog.
1. Let Him Know It’s Bath Time
Some dogs hate having a bath because they feel as though they’ve been taking by surprise. If you just pick them up and dump them in the bath, it may make them feel distrustful of you, or it doesn’t give them time to prepare.
If you say the word bath without ever putting your dog in a bath, they don’t understand what it means. They’ll need time to associate the two together.
When you put your dog in the bath, use the word. Later, when you’re attempting to give him or her a bath, let them know that’s what’s happening. Therefore, it gives them time to mentally prepare.
2. Give Your Dog Traction
Before you start bathing the dog, give him something to help him feel more secure in the bath. A bath mat or a towel at the bottom of the tub can help them feel like they can gain their footing.
One reason some dogs dislike being bathed is because they feel as though they’re constantly about to lose their footing. In some cases, this is actually true, depending on how slippery your bathtub is. That doesn’t help them feel secure and makes them feel even more panicked.
Discuss the proper shampoo for your dog with your vet. Depending on your dog’s breed or health, there may be a type of shampoo your vet can prescribe to help make bathtime easier. If not, your vet may be able to recommend certain types of bath products for your dog you can buy at the pet store.
Before you give your dog a bath, make sure you have everything laid out. You should have your towels, your shampoo, brush and a treat or two. This way, you won’t have to get up and run somewhere mid-bath, which can cause your pet even more anxiety.
You may even want to brush your dog before you give him or her a bath to make sure they don’t get knots in their fur.
4. Be Calm
If your dog acts up, it can be easy to escalate the situation with your voice. Don’t do that. Instead, be calm and soothing and let your dog know you’re here for him or her. Praise him or her when they’re being obedient, and give treats as necessary.
5. Slowly Introduce the Water
Some dogs may hate baths because they may have had a bad experience with bath time in the past. If they’ve been sprayed in the face with water or accidentally taken a big gulp of it, they may be wary of it.
The best way to slowly introduce your dog to water is to use a spray nozzle and introduce it on different parts of their body before getting them completely soaked. This way, they can see that it’s not so bad.
6. Be Gentle
This goes without saying, but be as gentle as possible when bathing your dog. A soothing experience is often a gentle experience, so don’t jerk them around, even if they’re not behaving properly. Try to reassure them and let them know that everything is okay.
If you can, you may want to get in the bath with them. This can help them feel a little more secure.
7. Use Warm Water
While this may seem like a no-brainer, some people may not take the time to test the water before they spray it on their dog, which can result in an unpleasant experience for everyone involved.
Test the water on your skin before spray it or dumping it on your dog. If it’s pleasant for you, it will be pleasant for your dog. Using water that is too hot or too cold will only make him or her fear bath time more.
8. Don’t Spray Their Face
Some people avoid washing their dog’s face altogether, and that’s totally fine if that’s what you prefer. But if you need to wash their face, use a wet washcloth to get any debris off. This will make it much easier for you and them. Spraying them in their face or dumping water over their heads will just make them fear bath time even more, so be as gentle and soothing as possible.
How to Bathe a Dog: Wrapping Up
How to bathe a dog differs depending on your dog and its temperament. Some dogs adore bath time while others hate it. Others may have different issues that make bath time more difficult than others. Although your dog cannot talk, it is important to take body language cues from him or her and try and read what they’re trying to tell you.
Bath time doesn’t have to be a terrible experience, as long as you’re respectful of your dog and any needs he or she has, bath time can actually be fun.
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