Roll Up Your Sleeves! It's Bath Time For Your Dog
With preparation and the right materials, you can achieve professional dog grooming results at home.
Virginia Parker Guidry
You plan to bathe your dog at home. The question is where? You probably don't have a waist-high, dog-sized bathtub like the pros, so you may opt for the kitchen sink, utility sink, bathtub or shower stall. These are okay, depending on the size of your dog and condition of your back-bending over a tub can be back-breaking.
Regardless of where you wash your dog, you need:
- A restraint to secure the dog. You cannot bathe your dog and hold it at the same time. Dogs that don't enjoy bathing may take flight mid-bath, suds and all. A sudsy dog that jumps from a waist-high tub can break a leg or run for the door and take off into the street. Professional groomers tether dogs for safety. Buy a grooming noose that attaches to a tub or sink with a rubber suction cup. The noose slips over the dog's head and clips to the suction cup. Check your local pet supply store.
- A rubber mat. Protect your dog from slipping in the tub. If it does slip, it probably will not fall and break a hip if it's on a mat. Be sure the mat fits the size of the tub or sink.
- A spray attachment. It's difficult to soak and rinse most dogs by pouring water on them. Several spray-attachment types are available at pet supply and home improvement stores or in pet-supply catalogs. Attach it to the sink or tub.
- Hot and cold water. Bring water to the perfect temperature. Dogs dislike extreme temperatures as much as we do.
Where to Wash
- Kitchen sink. If you own a Chihuahua, Papillon, Maltese or any Toy-size dog, the kitchen sink is the place for you. It's the perfect size for the dog, the perfect height for you and has hot and cold water, a spray attachment sometimes installed and counter space for supplies and toweling. If the idea of doggie germs is worrisome, remember sinks can be washed and bleached.
- Utility sink. Usually larger and deeper than a kitchen sink, a utility sink is a great choice for small- to medium-size dogs such as Pugs, Lhasa Apsos or small Terriers. You may need to install a spray attachment. Beware of the sink's lower height, which can be stressful on your back.
- Bathtub. The rest of the family bathes here. Why not the dog? For Beagle-size dogs and larger, the bathtub remains the best choice. You'll need a spray attachment that fits over the faucet or showerhead with a hose and the endurance to stretch and bend. The bathtub's low height means you'll have to kneel to scrub and rinse your dog. Dogs may not be willing to step into the tub, and larger dogs are more difficult to lift. If possible, train your dog to walk in and out on command. You'll get wet bathing a large dog in the tub. Wear a heavy-duty apron or a bathing suit.
- Shower stall. This is a good choice for large dogs, especially those that have difficulty stepping into the tub. Purchase a spray attachment for the showerhead to make the job easier. Again, be prepared to get wet.
Do not bathe your dog outside unless the temperature is warm. Remember, outdoor faucets are usually plumbed with cold water. Attach a hose to an inside faucet, such as a utility sink in the garage, to access warm water. Securing your dog is another consideration—you may need an assistant.
With preparation and the right materials, you can achieve professional grooming results at home and spend some quality time with your freshly scrubbed dog.
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