Bath Day!

Soaking wet tricolor dog in the bath tub, looking goofyFridays are now officially bath day at my house. I used to go along and just bathe individual dogs as they got dirty, which meant about anywhere from once a week to once every two or three months, depending on the dog. However, with the growing amount of dog hair that is floating in the air at any given time, I’ve decide this needs to stop, and from now on, everyone is going on a schedule. I am prepared. I have a makeshift grooming table with matted surface in front of a mirror (with a suction-cup grooming noose, even), a Metro Air Force dryer, a ridiculous number of brushes, and more hair products for dogs than I have EVER owned for humans.

It’s not that they get stinky, but the dust and mud that’s actually the biggest deal. A lot of websites say you shouldn’t bathe your dog more than once a month or you will dry out their coat. To this I say “HAH.” Most show dogs in the coated breeds- Shih Tzu, maltese, afghans, poodles- get bathed FAR more frequently than this, and if it damaged their coats? The owners and handlers wouldn’t do it.

The trick is, of course, to use an appropriate shampoo- that is, one with a neutral pH or one MADE for dogs- and rinse throughly. Most pet owners I know use FAR too much shampoo. With a few exceptions, pet shampoo is not meant to foam- and if you want to get foamy, sudsy lather, you need to use a ton. Foaming is , with most water conditions, purely cosmetic (it’s caused by adding foaming agents to the ingredients- look for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate on the label). Too much shampoo is harder to rinse off the dog, and yes, it WILL dry out the coat.

Lizzie needs the most baths. Between her love of digging in puddles (the muddier the better) and the fact that she likes to roll on chews (and constantly smells a little bit like choo hoves- UGH- because of it), well.. she gets bathed about once every 10 days with extremely diluted shampoo. (Her size is also a contributor to this- I can bathe her in the kitchen sink (barely) and even with all the coat she has, it only takes about 10 minutes to dry her completely with the blower. )

Malcolm gets the least baths, but is fairly well behaved for them. He will hop into the tub on command and hunch there looking pathetic. He is ALWAYS shedding some, and he’s my least favorite to bathe because of it- I get more hair off of him than Indy and Lizzie combined, and his undercoat is so dense that it takes FOREVER to dry. All that hair is fairly short- about 1.5″ long- and STICKS TO EVERYTHING. I end up with little black tumbleweeds in the bathroom, and will be picking them out of everything I own for the next week.

Indy lives with my mother most of the time at this point, and generally I only bathe him when he gets REALLY stinky (or got into something gross at the farm. He’s not BAD for baths, but he won’t jump in the tub on his own (can’t blame him, at his size :P) Depending on what exactly it is that he’s gotten into, he may or may not get bathed at home. Last time, it was skunk- and for that he went to the self-serve dog wash, which is MUCH better ventilated than my tiny bath room. (I can still tell which apron I wore when I washed him there, as it reeks faintly of eau de Pepe….) Indy is a pain though because he is one-sided- he will NOT face the other direction in bath tubs (he MUST be facing the faucet in case it tries something detrimental to the health and wellbeing of corgis)- which makes getting to the off side a pain. Like Mal, his undercoat is very dense, but he doesn’t tend to get cowlicks if I let him air dry to some extent before pulling out the blower.

A black, tan and white rough collie sitting in the bath tub looking woeful.Kaylee… Kaylee got her first bath here on Friday. 😛 She came to me very clean from Bethany’s and other than spot-cleaning her feet, stayed more or less pristine- until she got spayed. She came back from the clinic smelling funky, and I’ve been counting the days until her incision was closed and I could bathe her. She’ll be getting bathed fairly regularly once she’s in full training, since it’s important for a service dog to be VERY clean, but I have yet to actually have to do anything major for this. She’s had a couple of long grooming sessions (Good complete brushing, since she carries quite a lot of coat and I wanted to see how she behaved for it, nails, and tidying up her feathering a little bit) and was very well behaved. So her bath behavior was no real surprise. She doesn’t hop in the tub on command (note to self, work on that), but once she’s in, she settles for giving you woebegone looks (see photo to the left) and wondering how you could POSSIBLY have betrayed her trust by taking part in this terrible collie abuse?

That said, she was an angel for the whole thing- she stood nicely, turned when I manipulated her, and let me SCRUB her feet- like most roughs, she’s got lots of hair between her toes, and it needed scrubbing. (I need to buy a new pair of clippers to shave between her toes and her hocks.) She waited until we got outside to shake off all the water (I pop my guys on a leash, wring them out in the tub, and then head out to the porch to let them shake off, rather than getting water all over the house when they shake), and was excellent (see previous experience) on the table for me to dry her and finish brushing her out. Hooray Kaylee!

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4 Responses to Bath Day!

  1. I love your article! I am a professional Persian breeder, groomer, and I make natural shampoos for pets. I tell people daily- less is best when it comes to the shampoo. The more it suds up- the dryer it will leave their coats!
    Blessings, Laura

  2. Love the fact that Indy won’t turn around because he must face the faucet! You gotta love it! I also agree that it’s important to use a specially formulated pet shampoo when bathing your dog. So many folks make the mistake of using whatever they have around the house for themselves!

  3. Bethany says:

    The look on Kaylee’s face! She ALWAYS did that to me here. And yes, I always had to just put her in the tub myself. 🙂

    So glad she’s working out. I want to see her in her vest! I’ll put her pix up on my blog.

    Hug the gang for me!

  4. Emily says:

    Now, what shampoo DO you use? I only shampoo my pups for shows, and if they roll in something (otherwise I just rinse them in plain water), but we’re almost out of the large shampoo container we’ve had for years, and can’t buy a new batch for this type ;0P

    I got a sample of the stuff in the booth next to us at RCC, and it didn’t seem to do much. I had the same ending results as just rinsing them with water… or is that the point ;0P I was hoping for a little ‘shine’, but not a shampoo that makes hair soft.

    I really like Pet Silk products- they’re a fairly gentle, natural(ish) product that smells WONDERFUL and leaves coats feeling really nice and soft. There’s also some new stuff from Pet Edge that comes in pouches and you add water to dilute it and then dilute it again. It’s bizaare, but works really well. I also like the Kris Christensen stuff, but I don’t always have it around.

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