by Lauren R. Tharp
Step 1: Always, always comb or brush your dog before you bathe him. Pay careful attention to mats or tangles. Any mats left in your dog’s fur after they get into the water will “set” and will be extremely difficult (or impossible) to remove.
Step 2: Get everything you need ready ahead of time. You don’t want to be scrambling for towels or groping around for the shampoo bottle once your pup’s in the water! Be sure you are ready to get wet – if your dog is less than 5 lbs you can pretty much count on the fact that you are going to get soaked during this process. If you don’t have a removable shower head – you are going to need a container to fill to rinse your dog off with clean water – a water bottle or a plastic pitcher works great.
Step 3: Wash your dog’s body. Start with the back of their neck and work your way down to their tail and the backs of their legs. Use just water at first and then apply shampoo.
Step 4: Thoroughly rinse all shampoo from your dog’s body!
Step 5: Wash your dog’s head and face. Use a wash cloth or a sponge for this step so that you have more control. Some dogs can grow to love this part of the path, use warm water and massage their faces. Don’t forget to talk to your pup while you are washing his face to reassure him. Avoid getting water inside your dog’s ears (it can damage them!). If the shampoo you chose says it’s safe to use on their face, go ahead (test it in a small area first…), but be sure to rinse thoroughly.
Step 6: Do one last rinse, just to be sure. When the water is running clear (no bubbles, no matter how small), then you’re done.
Step 7: Break out the towels! Lay a large towel over your doggie’s back and start rubbing him dry, this can also be a soothing experience for your dog, lean into it and make it fun for your dog.
Choosing a Good (Green) Dog Shampoo
Not only is this stuff going on to you pal to clean him up, but it’s going to end up going down the drain, into our precious oceans, it’s important to think “green” when choosing a brand. Look for shampoos with little or—better still!—no fragrance (some scents known to cause doggie allergies to act up are eucalyptus, lemon or orange extracts, and tea tree oil).
Some Green Brands to Try:
Green Paws All-Natural Pet Shampoo http://www.wisconsinmade.com/gift-ideas/Green-Paws-Natural-Pet-Shampoo-3195.aspx
Earthbath Dog Shampoo http://www.earthbath.com/shampoo/pints.php
Chagrin Valley Dog Soap http://chagrinvalleysoapandcraft.com/dogshampoo.htm
Can’t find any of these? Try making your own dog shampoo with 1/3 cup glycerin, 1 cup vinegar (white or apple cider), and 1 quart water. Remember always test whatever you are using on your dog in a small area to make sure there is no adverse reaction.