Your furry baby may be one of the dogs who recoil whenever he knows that it is time to take a bath. Regular bathing of your dog is mandatory in a tropical country like India. You can make bath time fun for your dog, simultaneously abiding by all the precautions so that it’s a safe bath.


Bathing frequency
Dr DG Dighe, a vet practising in Maharashtra, advices, “Dogs cannot be bathed daily. Dog’s skin contains beneficial micro flora. The chemicals of soaps and shampoo might strip these off. Instead you can opt for once in three weeks or when needed. Choose a dog shampoo, there are many available.” Anirudha R Pal, canine groomer in Maharashtra, recommends that warm water be used in winter and lukewarm water be used in summer.

Precautions to be taken

Pallavi Bhattacharya

Pallavi Bhattacharya

Check the water temperature before pouring it. It shouldn’t be too hot, or too cold. Geysers which suddenly churn out extremely hot water may scald the dog. So, be vigilant while using geysers. Also, if the water pressure is too high, the dog may get startled.

The most convenient way of bathing a dog is by putting him in a bath tub. Anirudha explains how they bathe dogs, “We first take the dog to the bath tub. We turn on the sprinkler and wet the body. We clean the whole body thoroughly, the paws (especially in between the toes). After a few minutes, we pour more water and apply dog shampoo. We then wash with warm water.”

Just in case the bath tub or bath floor gets slippery while wet Lay rubber bath mat on the floor. The remaining option is water from a bucket. Anirudha advises not to be in a hurry while bathing your pet. Work the lather slowly and rinse it off a few times to ensure there isn’t any soap or shampoo remaining.

Dr Dighe brings to our notice that scrubbers are available to clean the dog. He says, “Certain plastic scrubbers are available. With the aid of a scrubber, you can scrub the body against the fur, so that dirt and dandruff gets washed away. Then you can rinse the body with lukewarm water.” Brush your pet well before a bath to remove all the tangles in his fur.
The most important precaution to be taken is to ensure that water doesn’t enter the ears.

Dr Dighe says, “Don’t pour water in dog’s ear as it will lead to ear infections.” Putting cotton swabs in your dog’s ear may prevent water from seeping in. Water shouldn’t enter the mouth and eyes as well. You may use a damp cloth to clean your dog’s face. Use a wash cloth to clean facial folds. Full-fledged bathing may be done neck down, right up to the toe. You must not use the sprinkler to spray water into the dog’s face.

Some use treats and toys to lure an unwilling dog to the bath tub. Overindulging a dog with treats may however be detrimental for him. Shut the bathroom door, so that a bath phobic dog can’t escape dripping into the living room. If you can’t manage the dog alone, then try to arrange for someone who will help you.

Remember to remove your dog’s collar while bathing him. The area beneath a dog’s collar needs to be cleaned as well. If you wish to retain the collar to hold on to the canine while bathing him, opt for a nylon one. Leather collars may shrink while wet, thereby choking the dog. Some clean their dog’s anal sac during a bath. However, some oppose to this. This is because those who don’t know the proper way of cleansing the dog’s anal sac, do more harm than good. Also, if the pet parent constantly cleanses the dog’s anal sacs, then the dog may forget the way to evacuate his anal sacs on his own. If you don’t know the proper way to clean the anal sac, don’t do it. Ask your vet or groomer to do it on your next visit.

Wash and dry in a
fun way to bond
Rinse your dog till clean and clear water runs from his body. Improper rinsing of the dog may cause pH imbalance and skin irritation. When it’s time to dry the dog, don’t put your dripping wet dog out in the sun. Just like human beings shouldn’t be dried in the sun, so shouldn’t be dogs. It’s best to dry a dog with a towel. Most pet stores sell towels with extra absorbency. Put the towel on the dog’s back and gently pat him dry.

Rubbing the towel in an attempt to dry the dog, may cause tangling of fur, especially in long haired dogs. It’s a good idea to comb dogs with shaggy fur to avoid tangles. Use a detangling product if the tangles tend to be too dense.

Many pet parents use dryers to dry the dog. The sound of a dryer may be agonising for them. There is also chance that a dryer may blister or burn the skin, especially if he is a small haired dog. Maintain a low heat setting and don’t aim a dryer at the dog’s face.
The dog will tend to shake his wet body to ward off water droplets. A pet parent must not feel peeved by this. After a successful bath, praise him for being a good dog. Make bath time fun rather than a chore. Play with your pet, let him splash around the tub/bucket and get him some toys. After all it is all about having a good time and bonding with your pet.