How to Bathe a Dog Correctly
Bathing may appear to be a simple and straightforward task, but it is the most important aspect of grooming. If you don’t bathe the dog properly, the hair won’t fluff up well when drying, and the oil and dirt left behind will dull or ruin the clipper blades and scissors. Bathing a dog necessitates more than a quick shampoo and rinse. The bather is the first person who teaches the dog to stand, and the dog learns to be touched on every part of her body. The bather is in charge of thoroughly cleaning every area of the dog, degreasing the hair and skin, and washing the face with a tearless shampoo.
Grooming falls apart without proper bathing, and you will not get good results. The bather also examines the pet’s skin and coat to determine which shampoo and conditioner are best for that particular dog. Most groomers stock a variety of shampoos and conditioners to address various skin and coat issues. Many groomers are well-versed in determining which shampoo will benefit which skin condition.
Shampoo in your dog’s eyes can occasionally lead to corneal ulcers. You can put eye protection drops in a dog’s eyes before bathing, but be careful: some shampoos contain degreasing agents that will break down the mineral oil in those protection drops, causing the shampoo to become trapped beneath the oil and still cause a corneal ulcer. Use a tearless shampoo for the face, and even then, after a bath, gently rinse the dog’s eyes with water to remove any shampoo residue.
The bather is usually the one who notices parasites on the dog, such as fleas and ticks. People may not notice parasites in their hair until it is wet.
Advantage® and Frontline Plus® are available from your veterinarian as well as from a variety of online retailers. They are a spot-on treatment, which means you apply them directly to the skin between your shoulder blades. These brands are both safe and effective. There are numerous over-the-counter flea and tick spot-on treatments available, but be sure to read the label. Many of them contain permethrin, which can be extremely toxic. Pyrethrin, another common ingredient, is actually less dangerous than permethrin, but it is less effective at killing fleas and ticks.
Bathers can detect many health problems in their dogs while bathing them because their hands feel every part of the dog’s body and can detect lumps, warts, and injuries. Any unusual findings are reported to the owner so that appropriate action can be taken.
Fleas and ticks can cause a variety of issues for dogs, including flea allergies, tapeworm, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other illnesses. There are numerous safe products available to protect your pet from fleas and ticks.
Anal Sacs Cleaning
Because it is easier to do and clean up while bathing the dog, the bather also does the messy jobs like anal sac expression. Scientists believe that the anal sacs secrete a liquid substance that contributes to a dog’s unique scent, which is how dogs recognize each other. The anal sacs usually express themselves during bowel movements, but occasionally the sacs become clogged and the dog requires assistance in expelling the liquid. Small dogs appear to have more problems with their anal sacs than larger dogs.
If problems are not addressed, anal sacs can rupture. If you notice your dog scooting, licking, or otherwise acting as if he is very uncomfortable under his tail, he may require manual expression of his anal glands. It’s a dirty job, but it has to be done.
Not all groomers express anal sacs. Some groomers and veterinarians regard it as a veterinary procedure. Anal sacs can rupture if you express them too forcefully, which is extremely painful for the dog. Most groomers can easily express anal sacs from the outside. If they are too difficult or the dog appears to be in pain, it is best to refer the owner to the vet, who will perform an internal expression and look for an anal sac abscess or infection.
Cleaning Dog Ears
Another procedure that can be done while bathing is ear flushing. Many dogs who have debris, dirt, or wax in their ears benefit from flushing the ear canal with ear cleaner or a steady stream of water to flush out all the debris.
If you suspect your eardrum has ruptured, do not put anything in it to clean it, as this can result in permanent hearing loss. If there is pus or blood inside the ear, or if it is very sore and tender, the dog should see a veterinarian right away before doing anything to the ears.
If you do not clean your dog’s ears after treating him for ear mites or an ear infection, the medicine will not work. After flushing and wiping the ear dry, insert an alcohol-based cleaner into the ear to remove any remaining moisture.
Bathing includes drying as well. It’s the first step in straightening Poodle coats. You will not have an even haircut if your hair is not dried and fluffed straight. Different breeds necessitate different methods of hair drying. Poodle and Bichon coats must stand up, so drying against the grain and back brushing for maximum fluff and straightening is essential. You would not dry your hair against the direction of growth if you wanted it to lay flat.
Dry a sensitive dog, or one who is not used to using a high velocity dryer, in a crate in a warm room with fans. Some groomers do this for at least part of the drying process, and home groomers can as well; however, it may not produce the nice straight results you want when doing a scissor cut on the dog.
Heat dryers should be avoided unless you can keep an eye on the dog the entire time it is drying. Many short-nosed dogs, such as Pugs, Shih-Tzus, and Bulldogs, have breathing problems and cannot tolerate heat. If possible, use a cool setting on a hairdryer. When drying dogs, high-velocity fans or dryers are best.
Canines with an Undercoat
It is also critical to thoroughly dry the dog’s undercoat. Cage drying or allowing a dog to air dry can cause the undercoat to shrink and become very tight. Then you’ll have a huge job dematting the dog, which the dog will not enjoy in the least. Blow dry your thick, bushy breeds like Collies, Shelties, Huskies, and Golden Retrievers to prevent the undercoat from becoming tight. Brushing them while blow drying will also aid in the removal of undercoat.