Sunday, 21 September 2014

Grooming Basics: Top 10 Tips for bathing and drying your dog

Hopefully you enjoyed our first Grooming Basics post on how to brush and deal with mats in your pets fur - if you missed it, you can read it here!

So we have asked the lovely Katie from Rascals Pet Boutique in Woburn, Bedfordshire, for some more top tips - this time on how to bath and dry your dog.

  • First of all, make sure you are prepared!  It makes it very tricky when you have the dog in the bath or are about to dry it, and suddenly realise you've missed a jug / bottle of shampoo / towel / brush that you need.  Make sure you have a large towel, small towel, shampoo, lead if you need it, brushes, combs, treats - all within easy reach. 
  • If you have the option, bathe the dog in a raised bath - little dogs can be bathed in the kitchen sink (even I go in there from time to time, if it's just my feet that need washing!).  And dogs can panic when their feet slip around, so if you have a rubber mat, or even a towel at the bottom of the bath, that can help to make them feel a lot more secure.  A loop lead when bathing or drying them can also help you - sometimes you need about three pairs of hands to bath a dog! 
  • Keep the temperature of the water neither too warm or too cool.   The most effective way is to use a hose or a shower attachment, making sure the water is a comfortable temperature before spraying them. Or you can fill the bath a few inches with comfortable temperature water and use a jug to pour water through their coat.  
  • For best results, shampoo the dog twice.  The first shampoo can loosen any tough dirt, which can then be cleaned away by the second shampoo.   Be careful not to get it in their eyes - it hurts them just as much as it hurts us!  With long eared dogs such as myself (spaniel), it can also be advisable to avoid getting water in our ears, as it can lead to potential ear infections. 
  • Rinse the coat really thoroughly with the hose / spray attachment - we find if we are using the bath and jug method, the best results come from a bath refill - that water can get grubby!  But a hose or spray is so much easier!   If the coat isn't rinsed well, shampoo residue remains and it leaves the coat looking dull.  
  • Squeeze what you can out of the dog with your hands first, before rough drying them with a small towel.  Then you can wrap them up in a big towel (Hooman lays it out on the floor before bathing me, and then just plonks me on it, attempting to wrap me up before I shake all over her!)
  • Pick them up in their large towel, and as the top advice was when brushing them in the previous Grooming Basics post, you will find it much easier if you dry them up on a raised surface - grooming table, counter, washing machine! 
  • Now you can turn the hair dryer on - keep it moving around, on a low heat, and at a safe distance from the skin so you don't accidentally burn them. 
  • Once the coat is nearly dry, you can start with the comb and brush, and brush them out.  If you are able (and this never applies to me, as I invariably need a bath after throwing myself into something stagnant and yucky), brushing them before the bath can be really helpful, to remove any knots before they get wet (and therefore more difficult to comb out). 
  • Most importantly - TREATS, TREATS, TREATS!  Like any grooming experience, baths and blow drying need to become a positive experience for your pet.  So don't hold back on the treats and the praise while grooming your dog - if he or she starts getting stressed, then stop and come back to it, building them up to it at their own pace.

We hope you have found a few useful tips here - if you have any others, please share!   We will also be publishing an interview with Katie in the near future in our Woofs With... interviews, about how she became a groomer (not to mention her pet boutique and doggy daycare business!), so if you have ever thought about becoming a groomer and want to know what it takes to have a successful business, keep your eyes peeled!

And although we have talked about bathing, we haven't mentioned particular shampoo products - we have a couple of product reviews for grooming products in the pipeline.

Finally.... happy Black & White Sunday!


  1. Those are excellent tips! Great job!

  2. Great tips, Lotti! Mom has never used the hair dryer on us before. We always AireDry!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  3. I Think we like the last tip best. Treats and lots of them we say. Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. Thank you for the tutorial. Whenever I get muddy, I jump right into the bathtub! Joey dog hates baths band tries to stay clean, except when squirrels are involved.

  5. BATH?????!!!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!! OMD, I thinks I just had a seizure!!! Oh, no, that was just me runnin' for cover...I don't like that Ma was takin' notes....that is never good. That means there might be a bath in my future!!!! Nows...did someone say treaties????
    Ruby ♥

  6. Great tips! We use lots of treats as well, but can't pick up our pups ~ they weigh in at 52 and 72 lbs respectively ;-) Thankfully, they are great sports as fas as bath time is concerned. They both have a wash 'n go coat, so we let them air dry during spring, summer, and fall, and only need to pull out the hair dryer during winter time.
    One tip I'd add is to only bathe your pup after some exercise ~ calm dogs are good dogs ;-)