one likes a bad hair day … and that includes your dog. Just like with humans,
the skin is the largest organ of a dog’s body. Every day, their skin and
coats are exposed to UV rays, pollution, infectious agents, drying heat
or wind. Because it can contribute to a dog’s overall health, grooming should
be an essential part of companion animal care. However, despite your best
intentions, it’s not unusual for grooming habits to hit a glitch. Or two.
Or three! While bathing a dog, I think all of us have experienced getting
wetter than your dog, being interrupted by phone calls, or, worst of all,
a sudsy canine tearing off, leaving a wet, sudsy trail behind him. As a
veterinarian with a good deal of grooming experience, I can tell you that
planning ahead can reduce unwanted problems and stress, so here are a handful
of my best tips.
BEFORE THE GROOMING SESSION
Unfortunately, bathing can be stressful for some dogs, as some just tolerate
it better than others. For those pups who are particularly skiddish, consider
brewing some chamomile tea to calm your dog. Thirty minutes before you bathe,
give your dog a cooled cup of chamomile tea with honey, followed by a dog
treat that’s rich in carbohydrates, like our
Antioxidant Health Bars. The carbohydrates will help deliver the calming
tea straight to your dog’s brain. Better yet, you can both sit down with
some tea and play soothing music, to set a calming tone for your upcoming
grooming session. You can also give your dog tea during the grooming session.
As we’ve already mentioned, just make sure the tea has cooled off (no hotter
than room temperature).
I recommend the use of a grooming apron with pockets that covers you
from chest to mid-thighs, to protect your clothes. While you can always
put your clothes in the laundry later, dog hair can be difficult to remove
from a washing machine. A full apron not only protects your clothes, in
the pockets you can keep treats, shampoo, conditioner and a brush. The treats
you choose must smell appealing to your dog - like our
Tasty Rewards Training Treats - and keeping them in your apron pockets
will leave your hands free for grooming.
If your dog is of a long-haired breed, brush with a fine-tooth comb prior
to bathing, so you don’t have to contend with knots while shampooing, potentially
making a bad problem worse.
DURING THE GROOMING SESSION
Whether you bathe your dog in the tub or the backyard, sit on a low stool
to prevent stress or injury to your back and knees. If you’re outside, I
advise that you use a six-foot leash. Tie it around your waist or hook it
on your belt to free up your hands and prevent your dog from slipping away
for a sudsy romp.
If you’re using water from an outdoor hose, keep in mind that, while
it might be warm outside, the water will feel cold to your dog, not always
without substantial discomfort. If at all possible, use tepid water, either
by running extension hoses from the sink in your house, or simply bathe
your dog indoors in a tub.
When you apply the shampoo, make small circles with a hairbrush with
plastic nubs to distribute the shampoo evenly through the hair and onto
the skin. This will also exfoliate the skin and allow the herbs in the shampoo
to penetrate the skin. Leave the shampoo on for about three minutes, but
don’t allow it to dry as this can irritate the skin. Our
Revitalizing Shampoo suds well, rinses easily, and features rosemary
to help increase blood flow, ultimately contributing to healthier skin and hair.
Most animals really don’t enjoy having their heads washed, so I suggest
that you simply wet the head using a wash cloth. That way, you’ll be sure
to prevent shampoo from entering the eyes or ears, making the entire experience
more enjoyable for your canine companion.
AFTER THE GROOMING SESSION
I recommend towel drying your dog versus using a blowdryer, which can
excessively dry or even burn skin, and frighten some dogs with the sound
generated by this device. The best method for towel drying is by patting
rather than using a circular motion, which can often lead to matting.
In most cases, you’ll be able to see an immediate change in your dog’s
appearance following a bath. You’ll know that you’re using a high quality
shampoo when your dog has a shinier, fuller coat, less dander and no more
“doggie smell”. With moisture-activated odor neutralizers, our Revitalizing
Shampoo features antioxidants and organic extracts of rosemary and sage,
nutritive herbs that penetrate into the hair shaft and promote coat health.
Also included are kiwi and mango essences, selected because they too enhance
the health of the skin, as well as leaving your dog’s coat smelling clean
You should not bathe your dog more often than every two-to-three weeks.
If your dog’s coat could do with some freshening in between baths, use
Bath Fresh Mist to neutralize odors and condition the skin and coat.
This product is so simple to use … just spray and brush into in the coat.
You will love the aroma and your dog will love the attention!
And what about you? Do you have any “must-know” grooming tips that you’d
like to share with your fellow blog readers? Be sure to leave your thoughts
in the comments section below.
Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place for companion
Dr. Jane Bicks