Because Dogs Can’t Bathe Themselves

Every Groomer knows how to bathe a dog, right? The basic bath, makes all the difference when it comes to the finished look of the dog. When a dog isn’t bathed well, it’s like ironing muddy pants, and a good finish becomes more difficult. Even if you are doing a good job, I have a few tips that may make your bathing easier.  

  1. Pre-grooming - Doing the dirty work before the bath, will keep your clean dog clean for your finish work. Do ears, nails, and dematting before going to the tub. While it may seem more efficient to throw the dog right into the tub, a shedding or matted dog, will never get as clean, even if your plan is to shave the matts out afterword’s. Taking 15 minutes of pre-grooming to shave or brush out mats and dead hair, will insure the dog is clean to the skin, which will save you time and give you better end results.
  2. Prepare for the bath - Before you put the dog into the tub, be sure you have everything you need for bathing and drying. This keeps bathing safe and efficient, with no stops in the middle for forgotten items.
  3. Shampoo and Product: - Anticipate how much shampoo and conditioner you will need. Have enough in reach so you don’t have to stop in the middle to refill. This may include toothbrush and tooth paste which can smartly be done between shampoos in the tub. Use cotton balls in the ears to prevent swimmers ear caused by air pockets that can form when water gets into the ear as you are bathing. 
  4. Brushing tools - Bring a zoom groom to brush through the soapy dog, especially if it is a shedding or double coat. This brushes the shampoo down to the skin, and breaks up dead coat for a clean rinse. A flea comb can be used to remove eye and beard matter, once it has soaked a bit. If you are fluff drying have your drying brush ready for future use in your pocket. 
  5. Towels - For efficient drying time, two towels are better than one. Use one for the initial shake and dry, then use the second towel to rub down the moisture, absorbing until the dog is 80 per cent dry. When using the HV dryer on a coat that is sufficiently toweled, you will do more than just blow the water off. The dog will dry much faster
  6. In the Tub - Choose a mild shampoo option for the face regardless of what choice you make for the body wash.The Blueberry Facial products are a great face option.They are safe around the eyes, and lessen tear and beard stains better than a regular tearless shampoo. Lather the face first, so it can soak.Wet the dog to the skin, apply shampoo, lather rinse and repeat, then rinse again. Soap residue can cause skin irritation, and takes the clean shine out of the coat. The first sudsing can be quick, to remove the dead skin, grease and debris, while the second shampoo will clean to the skin. If a conditioner is used it can be applied with the second shampoo, and zoom groomed in. Always rinse, rinse, rinse for squeaky clean results. 
  7. Drying - Towel dry well before going to the dryer. Double and short coats that are not being hand scissored can be dried to the skin with a high velocity dryer. Brushing while drying on the double coats will insure dead hair blows out and away from the skin. If you are scissoring, fluff dry the coat, by brushing while drying. A stand dryer allows hands free fluffing, but a HV dryer can be manipulated, using a third arm, to hold the nozzle for a hands-free process. When you limit Cage drying to removing just the final dampness, you will have a clean, wrinkle free coat for the finishing process. Hand drying will also give you a visual of the skin, as the coat dry’s and separates. 

Other bathing options - The tips above are given with the intention of improving results with basic bathing technique.There are other bathing techniques that are useful when performed correctly for certain coat situations including method bathing, and wet shaving,  For more information:

Shampoo Systems are a great alternative that auto mix shampoo and spray with more getting the product down to the skin while insuring correct shampoo dilution, for better rinsing along with cost savings.  Groomer to Groomer recently published a great article on pros and cons of the various bathing systems currently on the market.
For more information:

Because dogs can’t bathe themselves, the bath you give must look and feel better than what the owner can do at home. The products you use and your process for bathing and drying, are the defining difference.