April Showers.. and Baths

Dog Bath Soap
Image courtesy of Labelstone at Etsy
Bath Time! Yay! Every Dog’s (NOT!) Favorite thing!
Here are some tips I have learned over many years, many dogs and many Bath Times.
Though I have had lots of dogs, I have never taken a dog to a Groomer in my life. I like to Save a lot of Lives, Adopt a lot of Dogs and few people can do that if their Dog Ownership costs are going to include Professional Grooming for them all.

During Flea Season, I bath everybody once a month, and less often during the cold months.
I always put the dog’s comfort first… far above my desire to see them looking fancy, so when warm months come, any long-haired dogs, I shear very carefully with scissors, or with an electric Dog Clipper. Sometimes, it’s not pretty! Poor Nanna has a dark undercoat, but light tan just above it. When I chop her fur off, she looks like I put her through a Cuisinart. But, that and a bath – and she feels great! All set for Spring & Summer.

Seam Ripper

$2.00 any Sewing or Craft place
$2.00 any Sewing or Craft place
Do Not get so engaged in trimming that you forget to avoid the dog’s nipples! And… “other parts”! If there are mats, be sure to have lots of light and see what you’re doing. A Sewing Seam Ripper helps tons! But you have to be able to see where skin stops and mat starts. Sometimes doing it with strong sunlight on the other side of the dog – helps.
Do get rid of mats and do the trimming/clipping first, before bathing.
Remembering that at Wagadilly, we’re All About Making Dog Ownership In-expensive, let’s start with Supplies.
(does not apply to dogs with very sensitive skin, allergies, skin infections, etc.)
I do not fall for marketing hype and pay $8.00 for an 8 ounce bottle of “Dog Shampoo”… no, not me.
Lots of nice "flavors" - this one has Coconut Oil. Citrus and lavender fragrances help repel pests
Lots of nice “flavors” – this one has Coconut Oil. Citrus and lavender fragrances help repel pests
I use Dish Washing Liquid. Wait before you gasp! Let’s remember that “Madge Soaks in it!” while getting her Manicure. It certainly is approved for human skin… I have used it hundreds of times on scores of dogs and have never had a single problem. 
I definitely use something for a “cream rinse” or “conditioner”; sometimes I use a not-expensive (store brand) people Hair Conditioner, and I often use…. get ready for it…. Fabric Softener! Don’t Knock it Til you Try it! There is NOTHING as Schweet as snuggling-up to a dog rinsed in Gain! It is Heaven! And, of course, you are not letting it stay on the pooch; like any Hair Conditioner – you put it on and then rinse it off. Never have had any problems from it – ever. I also think that making a dog smell as un-dog-like as possible, keeps fleas, ticks and mosquitoes from recognizing them as prey.  ** See Box at bottom


So with my Big Bottle of Dish Soap and Big Jug of Gain or Downy … I’m set for Washing a Gaggle of Mutts.
Also have:
Lots of Dog Towels
A Drain catch for hair so the drain doesn’t clog                                             IMGP3999lower
Comb, scissors in case you run into mats you missed
Stiff brush
Suction cup rubber bath mat
Something for shampoo
and Something for conditioner
I built my house, and I designed it to be dog-poof and dog-ready. My Bath Tub/Shower with a Sliding door is wonderful for dog bathing. You get the dog in – you get in too – close the door and you don’t have to worry at all about the dog jumping out. It helps so much.
Most important thing: Please remember! ( I suppose there are a few dogs who love bath time but, for most dogs….) This is not a process that comes naturally to dogs. He or She will, likely, be close to a state of panic and will be asking THREE THINGS:  Help
Please Answer these Question for your Dog! Repeatedly! And Reassuringly.

You need to be in Patient Mood. If you loose your temper at all – the dog will assume that you are punishing him and are about to drown him. It’s possible that you will never get your dog over that – and bathing can become a horror for the rest of his life.
Use a sappy-sweet voice and talk to the dog a lot. Tons of encouragement! And Praise. When she’s quiet and still and submitting to the bath… Tell her “Yes! This is what you are supposed to be doing ! Great Job!”

If it’s a small-enough dog to wash in the kitchen sink, here’s a tip to keep you dry. Rip a head-hole and arm holes in a plastic Trash Bag and wear it ! Fashion statement, it ‘s not…. but it really works! But, if it’s in a Tub or Shower… give up and get in yourself.
Whether in sink or tub, Please have a suction-cup rubber Mat in the Tub so the dog isn’t slipping and sliding.
Make the washing and the rinsing be a Massage! Nice and calming and massaging the neck and back and leggers….. the more of this you do, the easier future baths will be!

Wash the dog, rinse, wash again if needed, and rinse again, carefully snip out any mats you may have missed earlier (unless they are in a tricky place like behind the ear – don’t do this without a lot of good light to see exactly what you’re doing) apply the Laundry Softener or Conditioner (if there is still a little soap left, this will help get it out), comb the fur while the slippery conditioner is in… this is where you can really get tons of loose, shedding hair out! Rinse out the softener/conditioner.
Your dog will SHAKE IT OFF when done! Don’t get aggravated about it… Plan for it! In the bath room I put away all my towels, tooth brush, my bath mat… anything that I don’t want wet-dog spray on, I put under cover.
I’m always covered with dog hair at this point, I give the pooch her towels and have her stay in the warm bathroom while I take a shower. When she’s dry enough, I let her out.

And, of course, they will get the Zooms! … racing around like a canine maniac, rubbing and jumping on everything. Might as well prepare for that, too.
Once dry, you can snuggle-up to your deliciously good-smelling Doggie… one of my very favorite things in the world!

Fabric Softener


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