Labrador Care Articles
Labrador Retriever Articles
All About Dog Bathing
Bathing your dog
There's no simple answer to the question "How often should I bath my dog?"
A dirty or smelly dog needs a bath, although a little dirt can often be brushed out when dry. Many dogs need more baths in summer, others need a regular monthly bath, but few need a bath more often than this.
Some dogs, particularly Scottish Terriers, tend to get dirty skins through a build-up of dandruff. They may need a bath every two to four weeks. If this becomes a problem, consult your vet. Always groom your dog before bathing it, or you could make matting much worse.
Never use household detergent or carbolic soap; many dogs' skins react badly to these. You can use a mild "human" soap, but a special dog shampoo or baby shampoo is best. The water should be comfortably warm. You can use your own bath for your dog as long as you wash it down well afterwards. A baby bath is ideal for a small dog - you can place it at an easy working height indoors or out. For large dogs, you could use a child's paddling pool but watch that the dog's nails don't puncture it. A rubber car mat can prevent this; used in the bath it also helps stop the dog slipping. If your dog does slip, it may panic and soak the room!
This is excellent for a quick clean but doesn't deal with a really dirty dog properly. Dry shampoo is a powder, used to remove excess oil in the coat (which may be a little dirty and smelly). This brightens the coat colour and the tale in the shampoo enhances any white parts. Dust the powder well into the dog's fur and brush it out. The coat may "stand on end" because of static electricity, so don't aggravate the problem by using a brush with synthetic bristles.
How To Give Your Dog a Bath
- Try and enlist the help of someone else to hold the dog steady while you shampoo it. Take off the collar and place the dog in the bath. Using a jug, shower attachment or slow running hosepipe, wet the dog's back and work the water into the coat on back and sides.
- Apply some shampoo to the back and work it in, extending all the way to the rear of the dog and down the legs. Wash the head last, being careful not to get any shampoo in the dog's eyes. it is when its head gets wet that it is most likely to want to shake!.
- Now rinse the dog thoroughly starting with the head and working back. Sqeeze out any excess water. In summer, a good run in the open air followed by a brush is enough to dry off most dogs, although long haired dogs will need some toweling.
- In winter, towel your dogs and let it dry somewhere warm, otherwise it could catch chill. You can use a hair dryer, but be very careful introducing the dog to it - the noise and sensation may frighten it. Don't hold the dryer too close to the dog.
Dealing with Mats and Tangles
Small tangles can usually be teased apart with a wide-toothed comb. Once broken up, they should be thoroughly combed, first with the wide-toothed comb, then with a finer one. Large niats, which don't respond to this treatment can simply be removed by sliding a comb under the ,mat and cutting with scissors just above it. The result can be messy, and you may prefer to try dividing the mat with a knife or scissors, teasing it out in sections, then combing it. You can have this done professionally. Special care for long-haired dogs If you're using carders, hound gloves and short bristle brushes on your long-haired dog, you may not be grooming it properly at all. Although the outer coat may look smooth the hidden undercoat can build up into dense mats if tools don't reach it. A dog that has been "surface- groomed" like this looks fine for a time but feels uncomfortable; eventually its outer coat becomes involved in the underlying mat. At this stage, the only answer is to shave the coat - a time- consuming job that upsets the dog. It may have to be done at the vet's surgery under anaesthetic and can be costly. Shaving an Afghan is particularly tragic and is impossible to do neatly - the dog may take as long as 18 months to come back into coat. It may need steroid treatment for bruising caused by parting its matted coat from its skin. The moral of this is: never neglect the grooming of your long-haired dog. Make sure you're using the right tools and techniques.