Tips for bathing dirty dogs

You’re on a hiding to nothing trying to keep your pet clean while walking at this time of year. Here are some tips for coping with the aftermath.

bathing dirty dogs
Mud and water have a magnetic attraction to dogs. No matter how hard you try you won’t stop them getting dirty.

It’s that time of year when taking a walk can result in a sodden, muddy pet. Here we offer some tips for bathing dirty dogs. Want to know how often you can bathe your dog? How to avoid triggering skin conditions? Read on to find out more.

February and months through spring are pretty wet and with lots of us walking to get our exercise – along with our four-legged friends – pathways and trails can be very muddy underfoot. While that’s no problem for us in our wellies and walking boots, it means Pooch stands a good chance of being caked by the end of the walk.

Dogs need to be out and about for mental stimulation as well as physical exercise so its important not to be put off by wet weather or the prospect of them getting dirty.

Before you go on a walk

  • If you driving to get to a walking space, line the boot or back seat of your car with an old bed sheet or blanket. It isn’t going to stop your dog getting dirty but it will reduce the mess in your car.
  • Take an old towel with you. It won’t get rid of the dirt but it will reduce them amount that is transferred to the back of your car.
  • If you absolutely don’t want a mucky dog; plan your walk and stay away from areas where there is mud
bathing dirty dogs
Two pairs of hands is better than one when you are washing a bigger dog – or more than one!

Bathing dirty dogs – shampoo considerations

All dogs are different, some are relaxed about being washed – others find it stressful. Think about the character of your dog before trying to coax him or her into the bathroom. You also need to consider the weight of your dog and whether you are able to safely lift it into the bath.

Be realistic about what you can manage and don’t try to take on too much!

When washing your dog don’t use products you’d use on yourself – most contain too much detergent and other chemicals that can cause skin irritation and other dermatological conditions to flare up. Talk to your vet or pet shop about the use of specialist shampoos as these can aid in the management of dermatologic conditions. Some shampoos deliver a topical medication directly onto the skin surface. If your dog develops a dermatologic condition and is prescribed a medicated shampoo, it is important to follow bathing directions as outlined by your vet.

Using a shampoo that’s right for your dog is important.

Depending on the dog, you can bathe them weekly if you use the right shampoo – or you can bathe them twice a year. Use shampoos that are mild and don’t dry out the skin. There are a variety of shampoos. There are moisturising shampoos, medicated and hypoallergenic ones. Your vet can help you choose the right one.

Some shampoo brands offer compatible conditioners that prolong shampoo action and add extra moisture.

Bathing dirty dogs – practical tips

If you’re bathing dirty dogs at home, here are few hints on how to make your pet feel more comfortable:

Make sure to wet their coat thoroughly before applying any shampoo. Sometimes it might be helpful to dilute a small amount of shampoo with water and then apply the diluted shampoo to the coat. Apply a sufficient amount and rub in well while massaging the skin. Some pet shampoos don’t produce a thick, rich lather, so don’t over apply it.

Use a mobile shower head and lukewarm water on low pressure for easier washing. Don’t let the shampoo lather come into contact with the eyes or enter the ear canals, but if this happens, rinse well with water. Shampoo in the eyes can cause stinging and irritation and in the ear might lead to infections.

You might choose to use an eye protective lubricant on your dog’s eyes to prevent this from happening.

Rinse your dog carefully because leaving any shampoo residue can cause irritation.

Make sure to thoroughly dry your dog. Towel drying any skin folds is very important. Make sure to dry areas such as armpits, groin, underside of the neck and between the toes. Thorough drying helps eliminate trapped moisture that could lead to bacterial or yeast infections. A blow dryer can be used, but only on a cool or slightly warm setting.

Dogs do not like to feel slipperiness underfoot, use a mat or something that provides a grip in the bathtub to help them feel at ease.

Bathe your dog outside if warm weather permits – it will be less messy.

Get support. Using two people to bathe/shower a large dog will make the task easier.

If you found Tips for bathing dirty dogs helpful, you’ll find more advice for looking after dogs on our Pets channel.

Last modified: February 4, 2022

Written by 9:29 am Pets, Home & Lifestyle

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