Bath time with a pet can be an absolute messy nightmare, but with these helpful tips and tricks, it doesn’t have to be.
7 tips to help make your pet’s bath time a breeze:
Where to wash your pet
Smaller dogs, puppies and cats can be bathed in a sink, which is a lot easier – especially on your back, hunching over a bathtub can get exhausting every month, especially if you have more than one pet.
Medium-sized pets can be bathed in the bathtub or the shower with a shallow bucket, and larger dogs are best suited for the outdoors.
Just be sure to pick a sunny day. Use a hose and kiddie pool to fill the water and adjust the temperature with water from a kettle to balance it. Only once the temperature has been properly adjusted should you allow your pet into the bath.
Check the water temperature by spraying the tap water on your forearm and/or elbow. It should not be too hot but lukewarm and feel comfortable on the skin (no redness or burning). Dogs and cats have a greater sensitivity to temperature than we do.
Bathing your pet is most easily done with a hand-held nozzle or spray in a sink or tub. However, a small bucket (or empty yoghurt container) should do the trick.
Prep the bath
Have the bath prepared before you wrangle your pet into the bathroom. If you’re preoccupied with hunting down the shampoo and wasting time filling up the bath, getting the temperature just right at the last minute, your dog or cat will start to anticipate what’s to come.
Instead, have your bath towels, shampoos, brushes, and treats at the ready because if things aren’t quick enough, escaping the tub, running around the house and splashing water everywhere is inevitable, resulting in a more stressful situation.
If you become frustrated, your pet might sense that and start to form the habit of dreading and acting up during baths.
How to wash
Shampoo your pet carefully, avoiding sensitive regions such as his eyes and cheeks. Make a lather with the shampoo, adding water as needed.
Massage your dog's head while you rub in the shampoo, exactly like you'd have your own head massaged at a salon's shampoo bowl: it should be a pleasurable experience!
Allow the shampoo to remain on your dog's coat for a few minutes before washing thoroughly.
Three towel rule
Have three towels at the ready. One towel should be placed inside the bath to form a makeshift mat to prevent slipping.
The second, and perhaps most important, is to be draped over your wet dog between washes to keep them warm but also to stop them from shaking the water and wetting you and the floor.
Lastly, as soon as your pooch or kitty is out of the bath, wrap them in a towel and pat them down to dry.
Bernese mountain dogs, chow chows and huskies are some examples of large to medium-sized pooches with thick fur that sheds twice a year to make way for the growth of a new undercoat ahead of colder months.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t notice some fur around the house, and especially going down the drain during bath time throughout the year.
To prevent clogging and excess shedding during baths, thoroughly brush your dog or cat before you put them in the water. This will make shampooing and cleaning up that little bit easier.
As well trained as your pet may be, during bath time, that can all go out the window. When it comes to rescues and younger, more energetic pets, getting them to sit still can be a mission, especially if they’re afraid of water and hate getting wet.
Paint a little bit of peanut butter onto the side of the tub for your dog to lick while your wash, shampoo, and rinse them. This will help them be more obedient.
Fortunately, cats are usually smaller than most grown dogs and therefore easier to control. Have a friend or family member hold them gently down in the bath while you get to work on washing.