Bathing Your Pets

Bath time should be a fun time for everyone, your pet included. Bathing is good for pets in several ways. It cleans the coat and skin, removing things such as dead skin flakes, dirt, faeces, urine, scabs, dead hairs, excess grease and other foreign material from contact with your pet. It also reduces smells associated with toilet material and muddy paws!

Here is some information that will make bath time more enjoyable for you and your pet...

How can I get rid of that ‘doggy smell’?

It is normal for dogs to have a certain degree of odour. However, a dog’s odour can increase and become offensive when the animal is wet or has an oily, though normal, coat. Shampooing your dog is an easy and effective way to resolve this problem.

Some odours are related to an underlying problem. For example, odours around the head may be associated with oral or dental problems or ear infections; generalised odours may be associated with a seborrhoeic skin condition or a skin infection. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from an underlying problem or you are unsure what is causing the odour, you should consult your veterinarian.


What shampoo do I use?

Choosing a pet shampoo is as important as choosing the proper food for your pet. Some shampoos are for routine use, while others are medicated for specific purposes and needs.

Particular care should be exercised in the selection of a shampoo. If your dog’s skin is irritated, dry or otherwise abnormal, some shampoos may help while others can actually aggravate the problem.Many dog products are not suitable for cats so check the label carefully.


Can I use human shampoo, soap or detergents?

Dogs have very different skin and hair growth compared to humans. A dog’s skin is thinner and less acidic. Detergents and human shampoos have an inappropriate pH and can strip the dog’s skin and hair coat of the natural oils and therefore should definitely not be used on your pet. Due to these differences veterinarians highly recommend specifically formulated pet shampoos and skin treatments.


How often should I bathe my dog?

Most normal dogs unless dirty or smelly do not require frequent bathing. A rule of thumb is once a fortnight, however individual requirements for frequency of shampooing will vary from one dog to the next. The dog’s coat should be routinely examined and brushed or combed in good light. This allows for the early detection of any possible problems or changes affecting the coat or skin.

Cats tend to be more difficult to bath than dogs & are better at keeping themselves clean. Most cat owners bath their cats infrequently unless they have a skin condition that necessitates regular bathing

Pets with skin problems may require bathing more frequently to help treat the skin condition. Your vet will advise you in these situations. Your vet will be able to check your pet’s skin and hair coat, point out any abnormalities and prompt attention to a minor problem will prevent the problem from getting any worse.


Tips on how to shampoo your pet

For the best results, there are several hints and tips when you shampoo your dog (or cat).


Before shampooing:

Examine your pet’s skin and coat for any signs of dry skin, hair loss, redness or itchiness (if evidence of this is found it may mean you need to change the shampoo you are using).

Check the areas around the top of the tail and the back of the neck for signs of fleas and pay special attention to your pet’s feet checking between the pads and the toes for matted hair, sore skin or objects such as stones or splinters.

Gently comb hair, removing matts. Carefully clip the matts if necessary.

Optional: Restrain the dog with a lead or collar. It is important to note that not all dogs will need restraining, however it may make the job a lot easier for you if your pet does not move around during bath time.

1. It is recommended that you shampoo your pet in a warm comfortable and quiet environment.

2. Use a quality shampoo(ensure to read the shampoo label for any specific instructions)

3. Use lukewarm water to thoroughly wet the skin surface. Make sure you do not forget under the neck, stomach and the legs.

4. You can use a sponge to wet the skin around the face and difficult to reach areas.

5. Apply shampoo to several points over the body.

6. Gently massage the shampoo into the coat and skin, all over the dog until sufficient shampoo is used to produce a good lather . Take care around the face area to avoid eyes, nose, mouth and ears.

7. Leave shampoo on the dog for 5 to 10 minutes (depending on label instructions), this gives the active ingredients in the shampoo time to start working on the skin. During this waiting period you can occupy your dog by doing some basic training, playing or feeding.

8. Thoroughly rinse all shampoo from the skin using lukewarm water

9. After shampooing it is a good idea to use a conditioner such as Epi-Soothe Rinse & Conditioner,

especially if your dog has a long coat or itchy skin.

10. Massage these into the skin as per label instructions and rinse lightly.

11. Thoroughly dry your dog with a hand towel.

12. After drying gently comb the hair.