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Healthy Dogs

Bathing Your Dog

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Add some lukewarm water to the tub, then place the dog in the tub. Begin by washing her face with a damp cloth. Lift up the ear flaps and wipe the undersurface to remove dirt, wax, and dead skin. Using a bath sprayer, wet the dog thoroughly with warm water. If necessary, bury the nozzle into her hair to get to the skin.

Then work the shampoo in by hand, one section at a time. Be sure to lather all of the dog-not only her back and sides, but also her neck, chest, belly, legs, feet, and tail. If the coat is badly soiled, rinse lightly and then repeat the sudsing process.

Remove the shampoo by rinsing the coat with the bath sprayer. Don’t forget between the toes. It is essential to rinse and rinse until all the soap is out of the coat. Residual soap makes hair dull and tacky. It may also cause contact dermatitis if left on the skin.

Commercial coat conditioners are often used to bring out the beauty of the coat for show purposes. Do not use vinegar, lemon, or bleaches; they are either too acid or too alkaline and will damage the coat. Some exhibitors add Alpha-Keri bath oil to the final rinse to give luster to the coat. The concentration is 1 teaspoonful (5 ml) per quart (1 l) of water.

After the dog has been thoroughly rinsed, squeeze out as much water as you can by hand. Allow the dog to shake, and then blot her dry with towels. You can encourage your dog to shake by blowing gently at her ear.

You can complete the drying process with a good air blower. Commercial dog-drying units are very effective when used as directed. Do not use your own hair dryer on high heat. This damages the coat and may burn the dog’s skin. Use handheld dryers only on low heat and slant them to keep the column of air from blowing directly on the dog’s skin. Some dogs may be frightened by the noise and blowing air. If this is the case, do not force the dog to submit, as this can lead to trauma and problems later on.

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