Whether muddy puddles, the earthy forest floor or just a long walk in the rain, dogs love running around and working off energy – and can’t help getting dirty as they do so. Back home, the first stop is usually the bathroom to shower or bathe your four-legged friend. And to make sure that none of the surfaces in your bathroom are scratched and your dog’s skin isn’t irritated, choosing the right material for baths and showers is just as important as using a dog shampoo that is designed specifically for your dog’s type of fur.
So when and how should a dog be bathed?
With some breeds, a good brush or just sponging the affected areas with warm water is enough. However, if your dog’s fur is really dirty, smelly or flaky, and you find that you can’t wipe off little clumps of mud with a towel, then it’s time for a bath to get him or her clean. In fact, for some breeds whose fur has special care requirements, regular bathing makes sense because it makes it easier to keep their fur smooth and them well-groomed.
When bathing and showering, always shower the dog’s paws with warm (body temperature) water first so he or she gets used to the temperature. However, don’t have the spray set too high so it’s not too strong. Then slowly work your way along the dog’s body from back to front to wet the fur until it is completely wet. It’s a good idea to hold a hand against the flaps over the dog’s ears to prevent water from getting inside them.
Maintaining the natural protective function of your dog’s skin
Dogs should not be bathed more than about every two months, and ideally a little less frequently so they don’t lose the natural protective function of their fur and skin. Dogs’ skin is constantly releasing oil through tiny sebaceous glands. This oil has a protective function and makes sure that moisture and dirt are repelled. Washing the dog in normal shampoo will destroy this oily layer. So it is important not to use “human shampoo” for convenience, because our shampoos usually contain perfumes and colourings that will have too strong an effect on this oily layer. Even baby shampoo should only be used in an emergency.
Dogs’ skin not only has a much higher pH value (approx. 7.5) than ours (approx. 5.0), but their skin is also much thinner than ours. So the active ingredients in shampoo have a completely different effect on animals’ skin than on ours. Gentle cleaning and cleansing of your dog’s fur and skin is particularly important when bathing your companion. It’s best to use a mild, pH-neutral, moisturising care shampoo specifically for dogs that will not dehydrate their delicate skin, and is designed to suit their particular type of fur.
The shampoo shelves in every supermarket contain plenty of options for every possible kind of hair – you’ll find shampoo for dry hair and hair that quickly gets greasy, care shampoo and treatments to make your hair shine, baby and children’s shampoo, and shampoo that fights dandruff. However, if you think it’ll be easier to choose the shampoo for your dog, you’ll be seriously mistaken. Here too, you’ll find shampoos to make their fur shine, shampoo for different colours of fur, shampoo specifically for puppies, and shampoo to fight little pests that have taken up residence in their fur.
Special de-felting shampoos are available for long-haired breeds whose fur is difficult to comb and tends to felt. They make the dog’s fur much easier to comb after bathing, and eliminate tangles and small areas of felting. None of the special dog shampoos are perfumed or will irritate their sensitive mucous membranes unnecessarily, and they often also contain useful additives to protect their furry nose against insects and ticks.
Photo: © HUNTER
Care in the cold season
Dry central-heating air in closed rooms and cold, wet weather can cause the fur of some breeds to turn shaggy and dull, and their skin to become dry and itchy. Here too, a pleasant bath and high-quality care products can bring relief, for instance the special care and moisturising shampoos manufactured by the HUNTER family company, which specialises in high-quality accessories for dogs and cats. These special care products will nourish your loyal friend’s skin and fur with valuable ingredients – especially in winter.
After bathing in the bath your dog can, for instance, stretch out and relax on a dirt-trapping mat that you have placed in front of the bath while you dry his skin and fur with a towel or hair drier, and then brush him or massage his skin with a comb. This will stimulate the blood circulation and make your four-legged friend feel happy and comfortable.
Dirt-trapping mats are highly absorbent, but thanks to the special materials also dry very quickly. Which is especially practical in autumn and winter! If your dog’s fur is still damp, it’s best if he warms up near a radiator as the fur can dry more easily then and he won’t get cold at lower temperatures.
Clean dog – and bathroom
All that is left after bathing your dog is for you to clear up the chaos and dirt in the shower and bath. This will be easy to do without leaving any traces of your activities if they are made of Bette’s glazed titanium steel. A quick wipe, and everything is perfectly clean, and above all – nothing is scratched.
This is thanks to the physical and hygienic properties of BetteGlaze, which is permanently melted with the titanium steel. The glass-hard surface is harder than marble, plastic or steel, extremely strong and just as resistant to dirt as it is to scratching by your dog’s claws. This ensures your bathroom will stay permanently lovely – and your dog will be happy to share it for bathing and showering.
Extra tip I: To prevent your furry friend from slipping when bathing, Bette also offers an optional anti-slip finish for its showers and baths that provides more stability and safety. Of course, you and your children will also benefit from this.
Extra tip II: As shower drains are more prone to clogging with hair than bath drains, we suggest showering long-haired dogs in the bath.
Step by step to a clean dog:
Have everything you need to hand: make sure the dog shampoo or a special refillable grooming tool is within reach. Have plenty of towels close by, and put an absorbent base on the floor in front of the bath. If your bath doesn’t have an anti-slip finish, put an anti-slip mat inside so your dog is safe and can enjoy the bath.
Make sure the water temperature is pleasantly warm. Using a gentle spray, wet the dog working upwards from the paws. Keep watching your dog, and you’ll soon see what temperature is most beneficial. Protect his eyes and ears with your hands so they don’t get sprayed with water.
Now carefully wash the fur with dog shampoo or the shampoo-filled grooming tool.
After shampooing, rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of shampoo. Now you can start to dry your dog.
With your dog still in the bath, carefully pat him dry with an absorbent towel. Don’t rub hard, as this could cause tangles or even make the hairs break.
Then lift the dog out of the bath and continue drying with a towel. You can also use a hair drier, but only if your dog is familiar with the noise and enjoys the warm air. It’s better to dry your dog for longer and gently rather than have the heat too high.
Now leave your dog to dry in a warm place with no draughts, ideally outdoors in the sun in summer, but in winter make it a warm spot near a radiator. Depending on the type of fur and the season, your dog’s skin and fur might not be properly dry until the next day, which is when you can brush and groom him.