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Do’s & Don’ts of Bathing Your Dog

Baths are probably not your dog’s favorite activity. Many dogs run and hide when they hear the B-word, and some literally have to be dragged to the tub.

Although you can’t do much to change your dog’s mind about bath time, you can do a lot to make the experience more pleasant and productive for both of you.

Here are some bathing do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when washing your dog:

Do have all your bathing equipment laid out and within easy reach before you fetch your dog for his bath. This should include your grooming tools, shampoo and conditioner, and a towel for drying.
Do have a happy attitude. Your dog will sense your mood and will take his cue from you. If you are enthusiastic and act as if

baths are the greatest thing since rawhide, your dog will pick up on this. Don’t get mad at your dogif he is less than cooperative in the tub. This will only cause things to escalate.

Do give your dog lots of praise and treats during the bathing process. By helping him associate baths with goodies and attention, you can do a lot to change your dog’s attitude about the whole bath situation. Don’t forget to reward good behavior in the bath, no matter how brief.

Do be realistic. Let’s face it: You are going to get wet. Don’t wear something that should only be dry cleaned when bathing your dog.

Do put cotton in your dog’s ears and a drop of mineral oil in his eyes before bath time. This will keep water from getting inside his ears and shampoo getting into his eyes—two situations that will upset him and make him want to climb out of the tub. Don’t be careless about splashing water near your dog’s face, as this can really upset him. Be gentle and considerate when working around his head.

Do use the right water temperature when you are bathing your dog. Lukewarm water is best. Don’t force your dog into water that is too cold or too hot. Test it with your hand first.

Do use the right shampoo and conditioner when you are bathing your dog. COWBOY MAGIC® Rosewater Shampoo is a good choice because it gently dissolves dirt and is easy to rinse out. COWBOY MAGIC® Rosewater Conditioner is a good follow-up after shampooing, as it dissolves mineral and chemical buildup deposited on your dog’s coat by water. Don’t skimp on bathing products by buying cheap, poor-quality shampoos and conditioners.

Do use a detangling product, such as COWBOY MAGIC® Detangler™ & Shine, to help get rid of mats and make your dog’s coat easier to comb through after bathing. Don’t pull at his hair with a brush when you are grooming his wet coat as this will make him hate baths even more. Work out mats with your fingers or a dematting tool, and take frequent breaks. Do let your dog air-dry whenever possible. Don’t force him to endure a hair dryer if he’s terrified. If he is okay with the hair dryer, be sure to keep it a good distance from his coat so it doesn’t burn his skin.

Do take a break if you plan to trim your dog’s nails and brush his teeth after bath time. Your dog will probably need at least half-an-hour before he is ready to stand still for these aspects of grooming. Throw a ball to him and let him run around for a while before you ask him to submit to more grooming. Don’t expect him to be a statue for too long, especially if he is a puppy.

With the right tools at hand and a good attitude, your dog’s bath time doesn’t have to be something that both of you dread. Make it fun and help your dog see that baths are an excuse for spending time with his human friend.