Saturday, 24 September 2016

Grooming - Bathing

Bathing your dog at home

This is a very simple Bathing tutorial for dogs, to give you a basic idea on how to prepare and then bath your dog properly at home. Of course if you have a dog which requires clipping, hand stripping, specific styling or scissoring, then I would highly recommend getting someone experienced in your breed to teach you, or even ask a groomer if they have a class to teach you to maintain your dogs coat between grooms. Many groomers would be very happy to teach you this maintenance as it benefits your dog. If they cannot help then they may be able to give you the details of someone who can.

One thing you really must remember is that all animals are different and have different coat types and requirements, so you need to select the right shampoo and conditioner for your pets coat and skin to prevent drying the skin out, causing reactions, or even to help with any existing conditions.

You will need -
  • Towels
  • Ear cleaner
  • Non-slip mat
  • Dog nail clippers
  • Cotton wool balls
  • Combs and Brushes 
  • Bath or Sink with shower attachment
  • Good quality dog shampoo that is suitable for your pets coat
  • Good quality dog conditioner (unless you have a harsh coated breed)
  • Optional - Dryer, if not then just use towels and allow your dog to air dry
First off, make sure you have all items to hand in the bathroom, with the door shut to keep your dog in. Animals who don't want to be bathed are excellent at escaping so you may want to also have your dog on a collar and lead. A very small dog could also be bathed in a sink but you must make sure you have shower attachment or you will not be able to rinse the shampoo out properly.

Non-slip mats are ideal. They can be bought cheaply.

Put the non-slip mat in the bath or sink, lay towels on the floor, and choose your combs and begin brushing out the coat, removing as many tangles and debris as possible before your dog goes in the water. If a tangled coat gets wet it can mat up so it is much better to remove them before bathing.

Once you can run a fine toothed comb all the way through to the skin, all over your dogs body, it is time to move on to the bathing. With the non-slip mat in the bottom of the bath, take the shower and warm the water to just above body temperature. If it feels too warm when tested on your elbow as you would do for a baby, then it is too warm for your pup. If your dog isn't fond of bathing then, if possible, they should be tethered safely in the bath.

Wetting the coat down before the shampooing.

With the shower head held around 2cm from the dogs skin, wet the entire coat, working from the neck all the way down the back. Remember to soak the chest, stomach and legs too. Lastly, gently wet the dogs head. Once he is thoroughly wet all the way through, it is time to start shampooing.

Which shampoo you should choose depends on the dogs skin and coat. I recommend the Pet Head range as they are very high quality and they all smell lovely. If your dog has a pale coloured coat that needs brightening, try the Pet Head White Party shampoo. If you need something more gentle then try the Pet Head Puppy Fun shampoo. If your dog has itchy skin, then try the Pet Head Lifes In Itch shampoo. The Pet Head range are all gentle enough to use on puppies and older dogs too. My personal favourite is the Pet Head Feeling Flaky shampoo, as it leaves the dogs coats very soft, cleans brilliantly and smells amazing.

Some of the Pet Head range - They also do cat shampoo

I must add that I do not get paid or get any sort of benefits to advertise them or anything, it is just my personal recommendation. Throughout the years they have always been top quality at an affordable price. All of my dog have used it including my rescue girl who has severe allergies (never had a reaction to the Pet Head range), and so have my show dogs, and their results speak for themselves!

Work the shampoo through the whole coat, being very careful around the face not to get it in your pets eyes or ears. Let it sit there for a couple of minutes, then wash it out. Repeat the wash and rinse to make sure the coat is clean. Then re-rinse the coat to make sure there is no shampoo left in the coat at all, as any left in could cause the dogs skin irritation.

If your dog is a terrier or other breed which requires a harsh coat, then skip this step. If not then it is time to move on to the conditioner. I always use the Pet Head Furtastic Creme Rinse for my dogs as it leaves their coats beautifully soft and silky. As you did with the shampoo, work it right into the coat all the way through the body. Let it sit in the coat for up to 5 minutes. While it is working, massage your dog all over to make sure you work it fully in and check your dog over for any abnormal lumps, bumps, or other problems. When the coat is wet you can usually see and feel the skin easier and its a perfect time to give your dog a good massage too. Its great for them and they love it too. Once the conditioner has done its job it's time to wash it out. Once again, make sure you rinse it all out. When you think you have got it all out, rinse the coat again just in case there is any still in there that has been missed.

Drying off in a towel
Shorter coat being dried with a dryer
Next it is time to get your dog out of the bath and start drying. If your dog has a very short coat then simply rub him down with a towel to absorb the worse of the water and leave him to dry off naturally. If your dog has longer hair you can use this method, but I would recommend using a dryer. Be careful if using a human hair dryer that it is not too hot. It needs to just be warm enough to dry him off, and you must keep it moving so as not to heat up one area too much. If possible, a blaster dryer is the best option but it can be rather expensive. If you have several dogs or a dog with an especially long or thick coat then it will be essential if you want to dry your dog off properly and prevent them getting chilled in the colder months.

Drying while combing.

To properly dry off your dog with a dryer, use a comb along with it. Use your grooming tools to comb through the coat as you dry it, combing with the lay of the coat to flatten it down, or brushing it against the lay of the coat to fluff it up, it all depends on what your dog requires. Once you have done this throughout the whole coat then the bathing process is finished.

The final steps are simple but essential. Use some ear cleaning fluid on a ball of cotton wool to gently wipe the inside of the ear leathers, making sure not to push it into the ear canal. Then repeat with the other ear. Next use some clean water on a cotton wool ball to gently wipe the dogs eyes.

Where to cut when clipping your dogs nails.
Next move on to the nails. Some dogs nails are kept naturally short with just their normal walks on concrete, but most will need their nails trimming. You must be careful to avoid the quick (the vein that runs through the nail). This looks pink or red, and can be hard to see. If you are unsure then just trim a small amount off at a time. Dark nails can be very hard to see the quick but if you shine a torch through the nail after trimming the end off, you can usually see where you need to clip. Remember to check your dogs dew claws too. Even if your dogs nails wear down naturally, if they have dew claws then these will need to be trimmed. By trimming the nails after a bath, they are softer and easier to clip.

This is really all you need to know for doing a basic bath and groom. If you have any questions feel free to ask - I would love to see photos of your pups being bathed too! Feel free to post them here, on Pretty Pooches Canine Coutures facebook page, or on Instagram and tag @MaisiesAdventures