Bathing Your PetWhat’s that smell? Could it be that your dog or cat hasn’t had a recent bath? Instead of taking them to the groomer, why not do this act of care yourself? If this fills you with horrible visions of water and soap everywhere, bathtub escapes, and a struggling pet, stay tuned! Your friends at Bayside Animal Hospital give you six easy steps to bathing your pet.

Let the bubbles begin!

Before You Begin

Before you even start to think of water, make sure you have everything you need. No one wants a game of tag with their wet pet!

The right shampoo – Human shampoo is too harsh for pet’s skin and coats, so steer clear! Ask us what shampoo might be right for your pet, and we’re happy to help direct you.

Ear and eye protection – Ask us for a tube of eye ointment and we’ll show you how to apply it. Just a bead of ointment in each eye before bathing can help keep water and soap from irritating your pet’s eyes during the process. Use a wad of cotton in each ear to keep trickling water from annoying them during the bath.

Towels, towels, towels – Keep plenty of towels handy; you’ll use more than you think!

Brush your pet before bathing – Brushing your pet before bathing releases loose hair and dirt, and can help get your pet cleaner during the bath.You should also remove any mats while your pet is dry, as adding water makes it impossible for you to do so.

Protect your drain – With all that hair, you’ll likely need a drain screen or a piece of steel wool to keep your drain protected.

Fill the tub – Most dogs and cats don’t like the sound of running water, so fill the tub or sink with cool to warm water before you bring in your pet.

Do the Dirty Work

Now comes the fun part. Hopefully, it’s not that dirty!

Dermatologists tell us that it’s okay to bathe your pet weekly, and that this might even benefit them, reducing allergies and skin conditions. Forget the idea that bathing strips oils from your pet’s coat.

With the right shampoo (see above), you’ll be on the right track:

Go slow – Like babies and children, you need to go slowly with your pet when you first begin a bathing routine. Use lots of praise and rewards, so that they learn that it’s a nice process and not something to dread.

Make it safe – Make sure your pet is secure. Use a non-slip mat, so your pet doesn’t worry about keeping their feet in the tub or sink.

Water Temperature – Use lots of cool to warm (not hot!) water to completely soak your pet as a first step. This will make it easier for the shampoo to do its work.

Steer clear of the head – Don’t spray or dump water over your pet’s head. Start shampooing at the neck and work your way toward the tail, adding shampoo as needed. Massage the shampoo in gently, praising them often when they’re cooperative. Never punish!

Rinse, rinse, and rinse again – Once the shampoo has been worked in, drain the dirty soapy water out of your tub. You probably need a screen to catch all the hair and protect your drain.  Then rinse well with clear, fresh water from the tap.

Beautiful face – Use a damp washcloth or small towel to gently clean their face.

Dry off – Once they’re clean, it’s time to dry. Here’s a trick to keep your dog from shaking water all over you and the bathroom: throw a towel over their back to stop the water from getting everywhere.

Bathing Your Pet: Reap the Rewards

Praise and treat away! Lift your pet out of the tub or sink once they’re mostly dry. Make sure not to let them outside, or anywhere where they can get dirty, immediately, or you’ll have a dirty pet before you can say “stop”!

Call us to let us know how your bathing your pet is going! And, of course, we’re here for any questions and concerns.