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The Right Way to Wash Your Pup
Tips from the pros on getting your pooch clean with less mess and stress
We asked David Fitzpatrick, co-owner of Malachy, a Pekingese, Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show's 2012 Best in Show and Joe Bartges, D.V.M., Ph.D., professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Tennessee to give us tips on bathing fido. Say hello to a lovely-smelling four-legged friend.
Create a Dog Spa
Train your dog to accept or even enjoy being washed by establishing a bathing routine—same time, same location. Using a tub or sink works best because he can't easily run away. If he's fidgety, consider leashing him to the tub faucet. Praise him often in order to reinforce good behavior. And keep dog toys out of the tub—Sir Barkley will confuse bath time with playtime.
Wash with Care
Unless your veterinarian prescribes a shampoo, use an organic dog soap that has a natural scent—it's less likely to cause rashes. Apply quarter-size drops one at a time, massaging the shampoo into the skin. Rinse from the roots of the hair outward to break up dirt and bacteria and remove dead fur. Clean the collar too, where ticks and fleas can hide.
Wash your pooch's head from the top down so you don't clog his ears with water. To clean inside the ears, wrap your finger in a washcloth and use the same kind of gentle pressure you would to dust furniture. For paws, gently lift the leg and use the washcloth's tip to clean between the toes.
Dry the Wet Fur Coat
Before you let Sir Barkley shake, wrap him in a towel for 3 minutes. Use another towel to pat him dry. If he's thick-coated, use a blow dryer after toweling. Hot air is fine as long as the dryer is 6 to 12 inches away—you don't want to burn him.
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