If you own a pet, eventually you will have to bathe him. Dogs can be challenging to bathe, but cats can be near impossible. But all of them like to roll in stinky substances, hide in dirty places, or occasionally get a condition (fleas, maybe?) that requires putting them in water and soaping them thoroughly before rinsing them clean and toweling them dry. But the question remains, “How do I do that?”
Well, the answer is the same, whether you’re bathing a dog or a cat. I’ll give you some tips that will help you make bath time as pleasant and effective as possible for either species. Here are the steps.
- Gather everything you need. You’ll need the right shampoo, but even baby shampoo has the wrong pH for your pet. Petland carries a wide variety of shampoos and conditioners. You also might want to get a bathing tool like a shampoo dispensing brush or a rubber curry comb. You’ll also need several towels, a slip-proof mat (or more towels), something to use to rinse the shampoo out (a cup will do but a sprayer hose is better), a mild eye ointment to prevent the sting of shampoo, and small cotton balls to keep water out of the ears.
- Put everything you’ll need near the tub or sink, block the drain with a steel-wool pad (to catch hair) and stopper, and fill with warm water before you bring a puppy or kitty into the bathroom. The sound of rushing water just adds to his anxiety if he doesn’t already love baths. (You may also want a bucket of water for rinsing your pet if the water running from the tap scares him.)
- Brush your animal thoroughly. Work out mats in his coat before you get him wet, or you may have to resort to scissors after his bath.
- If Fido or Fluffy fights you, don’t yell! A harsh voice only makes him more nervous. Have an extra person help you hold him in the water.
- Wet your pet by pouring water from the tub over his body. Emulsify the shampoo by rubbing it between your hands before you apply it to his wet coat. Then, massage it into his coat gently. If he loves being petted, this will be like a day at the spa to him.
- Open the stopper (but leave the steel wool inside) and let the water drain out. The steel wool will prevent your drain from clogging with hair.
- Dipping fresh water from the bucket or opening the tap (make sure the water is still warm), pour water over him as many times as necessary to completely rinse the shampoo from his coat. Leaving soap on him can cause itching and drying out the skin, leading to more problems.
- Throw one towel over his back and use another to dry his face, head, and feet. Then if he’s short-coated, rub him dry. If he has a long coat, gently squeeze the water out of his coat but don’t rub. Putting him in a wire crate to dry will prevent him from rolling and getting carpets wet and don’t—I repeat: DON’T—let him outside until he’s thoroughly dry. If you do, you’ll be right back in the bathroom in short order!
Visit your local Petland for more advice and a great supply of grooming tools!