When we go wash it is mostly always a relaxing activity, but when we wash our pets, the same can’t always be said, with inexperienced owners, bathing can be stressful for pets because of a number of reasons, it can be because they’re frightened by the water, by confinement, the noise, or by scrubbing them. That’s why they always run and hide when it’s washing time. As much as we hate to stress our pets, bathing and grooming are actually necessary for a whole host of reasons. It helps get rid of allergies, it maintains your pet’s fur, it helps keep your house clean, and it keeps your pet away from infection.
Even though our pets inherently despise going for a bath, there are ways we can go about as pet owners to make bath time a positive experience for our pets, you just have to avoid doing the following:
Too Much Water Pressure
Using a handheld sprayer while in a sink or a tub is one of the easiest ways of washing your pet, the only problem is that the sound of running water while it’s running with too much pressure scares your pet. A great way to solve this is to not directly spray the water to your pet, instead, let the water hit your other hand first and let the water flow through it as you brush its fur. This would trick your pet into thinking that you’re just caressing it because they feel your hand running through their coat rather than the harsh water spray.
Too Frequent Bathing
As a general rule, we shouldn’t wash our pets more than once each month, this might not seem enough, but we have to remember that our pets naturally groom themselves. Washing them too frequently can result in getting their skin irritated because it removes the natural oils their bodies produce to protect them from the elements. The best way for you to determine how often you should wash your pet, and what type of soap and shampoo to use is to talk to your veterinarian. Because they would often need to find out first your pet’s breed and level of activity before they come up with the answer.
Using The Wrong Shampoo
The human shampoo has a different pH level, it may be moisturizing for you, but it can be drying for them, so just don’t simply pick up a shampoo even if it says it’s all-natural or mild. At this point, your veterinarian is still the one that can give you the best recommendation. But, as a general rule, you should only pick up a shampoo that is specifically formulated for cats and dogs, and make sure that you always follow the directions that it says on the label. If you want a shampoo that’s gentle on for your pet, usually the oatmeal-based ones are a great option. But depending on your pet’s skin condition, your vet’s recommendation might be different.
If you know that your pet has sensitive skin, what you can do is put a little shampoo at the back of its leg first to determine if it would cause irritation before using it entirely.
Drying Too Hastily
Before you even start washing your pet, you must already have a bath towel ready, the last thing you would want is a wet dog or wet cat scampering all over the floor which can potentially create a slipping hazard. Also, if your pet is a dog, have a couple of spare towels in case your dog would want to roll over it helping to further dry its body. A common mistake among pet owners is that they just give their pet a quick wipe and that’s it, where what you should be doing is to get your pet’s fur completely dry. Try to pick up as much water as you can from your pet’s fur by carefully and slowly running the towel on your pet’s skin. Your goal is to make your pet damp and not dripping with water.
If you really want to really make sure that your pet is dry and if you have the proper drying tools just lying around, use a blow dryer for instance, although it can be difficult to regulate the temperature of the airflow, so just be careful to not burn your pet’s skin. Another problem that you might face is that your pet might be frightened by the loud sound your hairdryer produces and it might ruin the relaxing bath time it just had.
Inappropriate Way of Brushing
You have to brush your pet before and after washing them, and just like bathing, you shouldn’t brush them all too often, experts suggest that you should only brush them at least thrice per week. Frequent brushing can be uncomfortable or even painful for our pets if there are knots and mats on their skin. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t brush them as it can make grooming a bad idea. Also, if they have tangled fur, let the professionals take care of it first before you start brushing them on a regular basis, this would not only ensure that their furs are tangle-free and shiny, it would add another layer of cleanliness every after each bath.
For dog breeds like German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers which have double coats that shed, you can brush them while shampooing, this would help remove excessive undercoat, but for the rest of the breeds, just make sure that you completely dry them first before brushing them. Water saturation on their furs would cause mats. In some instances, you can even wait until the next day before brushing them.
The use of slick brushes and long-toothed combs are ideal for most breeds. There are undercoat rakes and de-shedding tools have been reported to injure the skin and cause infections, so you better check first with a veterinarian or a grooming professional before you start using them.
Water Too Hot or Cold
Veterinarians and pet grooming experts say that lukewarm water is best to use when bathing our pets, water that is too hot or too cold could negatively impact your dog’s mood and it can impact your dog’s willingness to have a bath in the long run. So, how do you know if it’s the right water temperature? Try to spray it first on your forearm and the temperature should be just like giving a bath to a baby. Make sure to spray it on your forearm because the skin there is more sensitive than the skin on your hands.
Badly Applying Soap
After applying the soap, let it settle on its fur, the problem is, that in itself would remove all the oil and dirt completely, you need to use shampoo in order to trap the remaining grime and wash it all away. As the soap settles on its fur, continue to massage their fur using your hands and fingers for about 5 minutes, starting with the legs until you make your way up to the face. Using a washcloth or a cotton ball, clean its face but just be careful to avoid the eyes.
Founder, Editor-In-Chief // A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, ICANN, and Raytheon. A mentor at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Entrepreneur School, Dr. David Choi. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; and invested in some. // Let's Connect: firstname.lastname@example.org