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Pet Grooming – The Finer Details

Make Grooming a Positive Experience

Whether this is your first time grooming your dog or you’ve been doing it for a while, you’ll want to make sure each time is a positive experience. Of course, most dogs aren’t thrilled about the idea of a bath, but it’s a necessary process you’ll need to embark on at least a few times a year. In order to make your future grooming experiences as painless as possible, make sure your dog stays calm throughout the entire process.

It’s best to start the grooming session when your dog is tired, like after a long walk or vigorous play session. Having a tired pup will help keep him more subdued during the experience. If you can, make grooming time as quick as possible, especially when you’re first starting out. This may mean you’ll have to skip a few steps the first few times in order to keep the process short and sweet. Once your dog starts to feel more comfortable with the grooming routine, you can slowly add more time and a few more steps to each session until you have your entire grooming routine incorporated.

2-tired pup

Give praise to your dog throughout the process. This will help keep him calm and reassure him that everything is okay. After you’re finished grooming, give your dog a few extra special treats so he begins to associate grooming with a positive experience.

Essential Items You’ll Need

When it’s time for a grooming session with your dog, it’s important that you have all the necessary items gathered and within reach of your washing area before you begin. Since you’ve likely spent lots of time and energy herding your dog into the bathroom and getting him into the tub, the last thing you want to do is leave the room because you forgot an essential item needed during the bathing process. Here are all the things you’ll need during and after your dog’s bath:

  • Dog shampoo – In order to remove dirt and odors from your dog, you’ll need to use shampoo during bath time. It’s important to get a shampoo that’s made specifically for dogs, as their pH differs from humans. Using human shampoo can potentially cause skin irritations in dogs.
  • Dog conditioner – Conditioner is of course optional, but if your dog has longer fur, conditioner will help to detangle knots when brushing him after the bath. It also will leave your dog’s coat softer and shinier than bathing him with just shampoo alone.
  • Absorbent towels – Towels have many uses when bathing your dog, and it’s a good idea to have several handy throughout the bath. Depending on the size of your dog, you’ll need quite a few just to dry him off. Purchasing wholesale pet grooming towels will allow you to stock up on this critical grooming item at a great price.
  • Brush – Brushing your dog before and after the bath will remove any dead hair or mats that often accumulate on dogs over time.
  • Handheld shower nozzle or large pitcher – These will help to thoroughly wet your dog and rinse off shampoo and conditioner during the bath. A handheld nozzle will give you the most flexibility, but if you don’t have one, a large pitcher will work as well.
  • Treats – Have some treats nearby to reward your dog immediately after the bath is over. This will help him think of bath time as a pleasant experience where he gets a tasty treat.

The Bathing Process

Most pet experts recommend bathing your dog at least every three months. However, depending on your dog, bathing more frequently may be necessary. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors or is just smelly by nature, you’ll probably want to bathe your dog every few weeks or so.

Before the bath, it’s a good idea to give your dog a thorough brushing. This will remove loose, dead hair and will help prevent your drain from clogging with excess fur. Look for any mats that are forming and comb or cut those out as well. It will be much easier to wash your dog without your fingers getting stuck in tangled fur.

Avoid Getting Water in Your Dogs Eyes

Next, take one of your large pet grooming towels and place it in the bottom of the tub, taking care to avoid covering the drain. The slick surface of the tub will become very slippery underneath your dog’s wet paws, so you’ll need to prevent him from sliding around in the water. The towel will give your dog something to grip onto and will also help him feel more secure. You don’t want to add any unnecessary stressors for your dog like slipping and sliding during the bathing process!

During the bath, it will be very helpful to have a handheld shower nozzle that you can use to aim and spray water directly on your dog. A large pitcher or bucket will also work, though it might take a little longer to get him thoroughly wet and rinsed. Be sure to avoid getting water directly in your dog’s ears, eyes and nose. Many dogs, especially those with droopy ears, are prone to ear infections, and getting moisture in their ears only further encourages an ear infection to happen. If water should happen to get into the ear canal during the bath, wipe the inner ear with a cotton ball immediately after drying your dog.

Use a mild dog-approved shampoo to wash your dog, and conditioner if you choose, and rinse thoroughly, again avoiding your dog’s ears, eyes and nose.

The Drying Process

Once your dog is nice and clean, you’ll want to make sure he’s as dry as possible before you let him out of the bathroom. Dogs tend to like the natural smell of dirt, grass and other outdoor objects rather than the manmade smells found in shampoo and conditioner. It may seem like a good idea to take your dog outside after a bath so he can shake off excess water himself and dry in the sun — however, chances are you may find him rolling around in the dirt and ruining all the hard work you just did to give him a bath! So, for your sake, keep him indoors until he’s mostly dry.

Best Towels for Pets

Drying your dog can be an unnerving task, especially if you’re considering using a hair dryer, but it doesn’t have to be. Many dogs are afraid of the noise from the hair dryer, and it can potentially ruin the entire grooming experience if your dog is scared by this one part of the process. There’s a much easier and less scary way to dry your dog — use large, absorbent bath towels to dry him by hand. Following these simple steps to towel dry your dog will ensure he is clean, dry and happy after a bath:

  1. Have several towels near the bath so you can place one over your dog’s back immediately after the bath is done. Dogs will automatically want to shake off water when they’re wet, so placing the towel over his back while he’s still in the tub will let him know it’s not quite time to shake just yet!
  2. Rub your dog’s back with the towel to begin absorbing the water. Rub quickly and vigorously, but make sure you’re still being gentle in the process. This should be a pain-free, enjoyable experience and feel almost like a massage to your dog!
  3. As the towel begins to remove moisture, it will become wet and heavy. Swap out a fresh, dry towel when one becomes soaked with moisture. Depending on the size of your dog, you may need several towels to dry him.
  4. Once you’re finished with the back, move to the stomach and neck. Then go to his legs and paws, and pay special attention to the extra fur on the bottom of his feet. You want this fur nice and dry so he doesn’t slip around after the bath.
  5. Be extra gentle on your dog’s face. This area may just need a quick wipe to remove lingering water.
  6. Keep your dog warm during the drying process, especially in the colder months. Dogs can get chilly pretty quickly when their fur is wet, as fur acts as natural insulation to keep them warm. If you notice they are trembling, wrap their core in a dry pet grooming towel to keep them warm while you move on to drying other areas.
  7. If you have carpet in your house, you may want to keep your dog out of those carpeted rooms until he has fully dried. Your dog will likely roll around and rub himself on the carpet to try and get rid of the clean smell, just like he will if he’s let outside. If your carpets are clean, it won’t hurt anything and he won’t get dirty again by doing this, but you may not want him rolling all over your carpets while wet. Just know that it’s perfectly natural behavior if your dog does this after a bath.

Towel drying your dog will remove most of the excess water from the fur. From here, you can let your dog air dry the rest of the way, and he should dry within a few hours. If you decide you want to try using a hair dryer on your dog, be sure to test it out before blasting him with the noisy air directly. Turn it on near your dog and slowly move closer and closer to him, taking note of how he reacts to the noise. If at any point he seems unsure, don’t risk scaring him with the hair dryer and just let him dry naturally.

Common Bathing Mistakes to Avoid

In order to keep the grooming experience positive for your pooch, there are a few common mistakes that can easily be avoided during the bathing and grooming process. Avoiding these issues from the get-go will help get your dog accustomed to the grooming process, and maybe one day he’ll even begin to like it!

Mistake: Getting shampoo or water in your dog’s eyes.

Solution: As previously noted, the face and eyes are a sensitive area for your dog. Once shampoo gets into your dog’s eyes, it can be very painful and will need to be flushed out with water immediately. There really is no need to wash your dog’s head with shampoo and water, as it can cause more harm than good. Instead, use a damp washcloth to wipe your dog’s face and remove any dirt or allergens from his fur. If your dog had an extremely dirty mud-rolling session and a washcloth just won’t do, make sure you tilt his head upwards and only pour water on top of his head in between his ears so the water will roll down his neck and not into his face or ears.

Mistake: Leaving lingering shampoo residue.

Solution: When shampoo residue is not thoroughly rinsed away and left to dry on the skin or hair, it can become itchy and lead to excessive licking and skin irritation for your dog. You’ll want to spend a good amount of time making sure all shampoo is rinsed from your dog’s fur in the bath. If your dog has dense fur, this is where a handheld nozzle will really come in handy. This will allow you to spray water onto your dog with a little bit of force, and the water will penetrate the fur and reach his skin, removing potentially lingering shampoo.

Mistake: Continuing on when your dog is afraid.

Solution: One of the biggest mistakes you can make when grooming your dog is pushing it too far if he’s showing signs of fear. When you’re first starting out, pay particular attention to your dog’s mannerisms with each thing you do. If you notice something is making your dog act fearful, stop what you’re doing right away. Remember, you want your dog to associate grooming and bathing with a pleasant experience. Treats and lots of praise can also help reassure him and let him know he’s doing a good job!

Find the Perfect Pet Towels

Bath Towels in Bulk

When you’re looking for towels to use when grooming your pets, there are many options to choose from. Take into consideration the size of your pet, and purchase towels that will be large enough to cover them. Since you’ll be using quite a few towels during each grooming session, it makes sense to purchase pet towels in bulk so you’ll never run out of essential towels mid-bath!

Towel Super Center has a variety of sizes, styles and colors of absorbent pet towels to choose from. Find your perfect pet grooming towels today!

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