Dog Washing 101
Washing the Dog. The universal favorite task shared by every dog parent. From the backbreaking cleaning, brushing, washing and drying to the $200 dog groomers fees, it's these little things that make being a dog parent great.
Overt sarcasm aside, it's never a bad idea to teach an old dog, (you) the same old trick (dog washing). That's why today we're giving you all the 101 on dog washing best practices, tips and hacks. We'll also be featuring some great cruelty-free dog grooming products to help keep your dog (and potentially your home) clean with a cruelty-free sheen.
Dog Washing if done right is both a simple and complicated task. As dog parents, you know that it is a necessary evil if you want your dog to be happy and healthy. It's also necessary if you have an indoor-outdoor dog and you want to have a livable and clean home :) Either way it's safe to say, don't skip out on regular washing.
Most dog parents think that dog grooming is a compromise on time and expense. Either you spend all afternoon cleaning your dog or you pay the groomers an arm and a leg to do so. It simply doesn't need to be this way, with time, patience and a few helpful methods, it will become less stressful for you and your dog. By the end of this article we'll have you and your dog singing "So Fresh, So Clean" just like Outkast did back in 2000.
Cruelty-Free Dog Washing Products
Before beginning the dog washing process, it's critical to have the best cruelty-free dog washing products possible. A long-time Modern Pet Living favorite in this area has been Dr. Harvey's. We've talked before about Dr. Harvey’s high quality holistic solutions and dog food products which are made with only organic ingredients and contain no harmful chemicals or preservatives. For their dog grooming products, the same holds true and it's for this reason that we highly recommend Dr. Harvey's. With a number of shampoos, sprays and ointments, Dr. Harvey's has the key dog washing and grooming products that will help keep your dog clean and healthy in a cruelty-free and organic way.
Use Grooming Wipes in Between Baths
Let's start with our first tip, using grooming wipes in between baths. The truth is that most sizes of dogs can be washed without ever entering a tub. Unless your dog is muddy or covered in something harmful or putrid, grooming wipes work just as well as soap and water. Cleanup will be far less stressful. Baths will become much easier, and your dog’s skin will retain natural oils. We recommend the Pogi's Grooming Wipes brand, as they are all natural and hypoallergenic and perfect for helping clean, freshen and condition while giving the coat a healthy shine. Perfect for wiping away dirt and odor in between baths.
Prevent Anxiety Caused by Slipping & Sliding
Does your dog slip and slide in the tub while trying to make their escape? They might be more afraid of losing their footing than the rest of the washing process. Prevent slipping and sliding with a high-quality nonslip shower mat that is Non-Toxic, PVC-Free, BPA-Free and Anti-Bacterial. Consider a mat especially for dogs instead of the kind made for people. Some are designed to trap fur while directing dirty water away from your dog. Once your dog realizes that they is not slipping and sliding, they will become far less afraid. It will become much easier to wash your dog when they can stand without slipping.
Use a Handheld Sprayer for Bathing Dogs
When seeking tips for washing dogs that are afraid of baths, consider a pet sprayer. They have a longer hose than ordinary handheld shower sprayers, and they are ultra-quiet. Look for one with a connector that attaches to the existing shower head. You will be able to divert the water from the shower head to the sprayer. The less that you struggle, the less afraid that your doggy will be. Best of all, you will be able to wash your dog much more quickly than if you had to use a cup or a sprayer with a much shorter hose.
Use a Leash, Collar or Harness Only When Necessary
Dogs that are afraid of bathing often try to escape. Not only do they make a huge mess, but they can also become injured. If you have trouble holding onto your dog while giving them a bath, consider using a collar or harness and a short leash. Do not use it exclusively for washing though. Your dog is super intelligent and they will start to associate it with bathing if it is not used for taking walks or other activities, and they will become more afraid than ever. It's best to avoid giving your dog hints beforehand when trying to prevent a struggle.
Speak Calmly to Avoid Increasing Excitement & Fear
Two words, Emotional Control. No matter how much your dog struggles and cries while bathing, do not express anger or frustration. When dogs are afraid of baths, it is best to speak calmly and quietly to avoid compounding their excitement and fear. Scolding your dog and/or hollering will do nothing more than raise their level of anxiety. They will feel justified in trying to escape. After all, if you are a hot mess, your dog will think that something is seriously wrong and cause a fuss!
Provide Treats & Attention When Finished For Positive Reinforcement
Making bath time a positive experience is the very best way to help your dog overcome their fear. Immediately after bathing, give your dog a couple of small treats along with lots of attention and love. This positive reinforcement will help make baths and washing much easier in the future for both you and your dog. Make your doggy as comfortable as possible and they will eventually become less apprehensive. Your dog might never love the water, but bathing can become a positive experience instead of something to fear. Additionally, as you know Modern Pet Living has the best cruelty-free dog treats around, so here are some of our favorites to give to your dog with love for their good behavior.