For dogs, few things are more fun than getting dirty. And for pet owners, there are few things less fun than dealing with a smelly pup.
Washing your dog can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. With homemade shampoo and our 8 best dog washing tips, you can feel confident in your ability to clean and protect your dog’s skin and fur.
How to make homemade dog shampoo
When it comes to bath time, the last thing you want to do is use human shampoo on your pup. Our skin has a more acidic pH than theirs, meaning that shampoo made for humans will be too acidic for your dog’s skin.
Luckily, making homemade dog shampoo is simple and uses ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Don’t worry if your dog has dry skin, we’ve thought of that, too! Check out the two recipes below:
For basic dog shampoo:
Mix 2 cups of warm water with ¼ cup of dish soap and ½ cup of white vinegar in a spray bottle. Wet your dog and spray away, following the tips outlined below.
For dry skin dog shampoo:
Grind 1 cup of oatmeal in a blender or coffee grinder. Stir ½ cup baking soda into the ground oats and add 1-quart warm water. Apply to your wet dog and let sit, rinsing after 5 minutes.
Dog washing tips
Whether you decide to make your own dog shampoo or buy a bottle from the store, acquiring the shampoo is the easy part. If your dog gets nervous or stubborn around bath time, you’re probably eager for some advice. Here are our top 8 dog washing tips to make bath time a breeze.
- Brush before you wash
Brushing your dog while he’s still dry is a serious key to dog washing success. Our dogs’ fur often gets tangled in everyday life. Adding water to knots only makes them harder to get out.
By brushing your dry dog first, you’ll help detangle and remove excess fur. If a mat in your dog’s hair is too tight to brush out, simply cut it out. Another plus? Brushing first helps prevent dog fur from clogging your drain.
- Get out some energy
Before you start the washing process, get out your dog’s excess energy. Take them for a long walk or enjoy an active game of fetch. Not only will your dog be less stubborn, but they may actually enjoy the feeling of water after exercising!
- Prevent slips
Whether you’re washing your dog in a bathtub or sink, it’s likely to be slippery. Dog nails make it especially easy for your pet to slip, which contributes to stress and discomfort. Give your pup some peace of mind by laying a nonslip mat or towel on the floor of your tub or sink.
- Lead your dog the right way
If your pooch is anything like most dogs, it’ll take some work to get him in the bath. Instead of raising your voice, which frightens dogs and makes them less willing to come, try leading them to the bath with a treat. Turn bath time into an opportunity for reward instead of a time to get scolded.
- Less shampoo, more water
To get a good lather, wet your dog thoroughly with warm (not hot) water, avoiding the ears and face. Apply shampoo and work it into a rich lather.
When your pup’s fur is adequately shampooed, rinse very carefully. It can take time to remove all the shampoo from your dog’s fur, so be sure to rinse several times to avoid irritating the skin with leftover product.
- Dry smart
As soon as bath time is over, dry time begins. Use a towel or two to pat your dog dry immediately. If your pup is a shaker, you can avoid getting wet by gently holding his muzzle. Dogs can’t shake their bodies without moving their heads, so holding his muzzle straight will help keep you and your house dry.
If your dog doesn’t mind the sound, you can even use a hairdryer to help dry his coat faster. Just be sure to keep the hairdryer on the cool setting to avoid burning your dog’s sensitive skin.
- Cut nails now
If your dog needs a nail trim, the moments after bath time are ideal. The warm water will have softened your pup’s nails, making them easier to trim. To learn how to cut your dog’s nails painlessly, check out our guide.
- Reward your (clean!) pup
Bath time is a tiring ordeal for everyone involved. Reward your dog for sitting through the cleaning by giving him his favorite treat. And reward yourself by snuggling up with your squeaky-clean pooch!