Where to Bathe
Some dogs get pretty scared in the bathtub. They jump around, slip and fall, shiver and shake, and are often quite unhappy. In the process, you can get even wetter than the dog does, struggling just to keep him in the tub. Instead of a bath, try giving him a shower– especially if you have a hand-held shower head. Your dog should feel much more relaxed standing on firm ground, rather than up to his chest in a tub of water. You will probably stay much drier and decrease the risk of hurting your back. Your dog will also get a cleaner rinse.
If you do bathe your dog in the tub, you will need a rubber bath mat or non-slip stick-ons for the bottom. This will prevent him from slipping and will make him feel much more secure.
How to Bathe
First, lay a blanket out on the floor in the room where your dog will be going after his bath; two towels by the shower or tub; his shampoo, conditioner and a washcloth; a brush and comb; and a trash bag.
If your dog’s coat is matted, bathing him first will make that situation even worse. If you’re unable to de-mat your dog’s coat yourself, it’s probably a job better suited for a groomer.
In the tub or in the shower, wash your dog’s face with a washcloth instead of pouring lots of water over his face, because his ears shouldn’t get too wet inside — not to mention the fact that he probably won’t enjoy getting doused over the head.
Use a good dog shampoo if you can, or you can use baby shampoo or a good herbal shampoo. Either of these should be mild enough to use occasionally for a dog. If your dog has long hair, you might want to use a conditioner. If your pet supplier or veterinarian doesn’t have a conditioner made just for dogs, you can find good herbal conditioners that are kind to their skin. Some herbal shampoos and conditioners meant for humans will even prevent lice and fleas on dogs.
After getting him lathered up and clean, you need to rinse very thoroughly. Shampoo residue will make his skin itch. Even with a no-tears shampoo, try to keep it out of his eyes.
How to Dry
When you least expect it, your soaking wet dog is going to give a good thorough shake from head to tail, which can drench you and the whole bathroom. Dry him while he’s still in the tub to prevent the water from venturing too far outside of it. You can prevent him from shaking by keeping a towel over his head. You can use one end of the first towel over his head and dry him with the other end, using and second towel to pick him up.
Lay your dog on the blanket you laid out and dry him off as much as possible. His first instinct may be to run and find a good place to shake and roll around, but try to keep him confined to the blanket until he is completely dry, even if that means staying with him or setting up a barrier, such as a doggy gate.
When to Bathe
Bathing your dog too often is not good for his skin, so keep it down to when company is coming, when he gets into something greasy, when he gets too smelly, or special situations (say, for instance, he gets sprayed by a skunk).