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Bathing your best friend

Bathing your best friend

Man's best friend is a dog, right? But no one wants to be around a best friend when they are dirty and smelly.  So, how do you give a dog a bath? Especially when you're the one who's going to do it?

The answer: carefully.

A previous post listed the items you need in order to give a dog a bath.  This post concentrates on actually bathing the dog.

To begin with, get into clothes that you don't mind getting wet and furry.  

Brush the dog's hair first. If hair is washed before it's brushed any mats in the coat will be set and they will be difficult, if not impossible, to remove. (Think how hard it is to get tangles out of your hair!)

Turn on the water and check its temperature. Bath water should be lukewarm.

Bring the dog to the bathtub. Easier said than done, right? Many dogs, even the so-called “water loving” dogs, don't like being bathed. If your dog is small, pick him up and carry him to the bathroom or bath area.  If the dog is large, use a leash to bring him to the bath. Use treats or a favorite toy to bribe/reward the dog. Once the dog is in the bathroom (if you're inside), shut the door to keep the dog in. If you're bathing a dog outside, you may need a helper to keep the dog from running away.

Before putting the dog in the tub, put cotton in the dog's ears to keep water from getting in them. Water remaining in a dog's ears can cause an ear infection.

Once the dog is in the tub, wet him completely. Use a detachable shower head, a cup, or bowl to pour water over the dog. 
When the dogs completely wet, apply shampoo, starting at the neck and working down, and gently massage the shampoo into his coat.  Be careful not to get water or shampoo into the dog's eyes, mouth, or ears. Take a damp washcloth and wipe dirt from his muzzle, head, eyes and ears. You may want to brush your dog's teeth at this time as well.

After shampooing, rinse the dog's coat. You will probably need to rinse him several times, since most dogs' coats are thicker than human hair is. After rinsing, use a dog conditioner on his hair to help minimize tangling, which is important if your dog has long hair. 

When the bath is over, take a large towel and dry the dog. Some owners may want to use a blow dryer to dry the dog's hair. If you do, make sure it's on a low setting. 

Keep the dog confined in an area such as the kitchen until he's completely dry if you're concerned about him rubbing himself on the carpet or on the ground outside.

Praise the dog lavishly after the bath. Feed him a few delicious treats and play with him if he's interested. He'll end up associating bath time with fun!

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