Grooming our cats and dogs is a necessary evil. Necessary because our pets are great at getting dirty; evil because a typical bath wastes a lot of water, uses chemical-laden products, and it can be painful for our furry friends.
But it doesn’t have to be so bad! Follow these simple steps for pet-safe – and hopefully pet-happy – grooming experience.
To Groom a Dog
Never underestimate the power of treats! Most dogs will tolerate a bath, but even those dogs who hate it can do much better with a constant supply of his favorite snacks. (My dog Lucas, who is terrified of water, will only take a bath for a slice of American cheese.)
Determine the best location for your dog’s bath. For small dogs, the kitchen sink is the perfect spot. On a nice day, you can leash up your dog and bathe him with a hose outside. For large dogs willing to get in the bathtub, a shower attachment works wonders at controlling water flow while rinsing all his hard-to-reach places.
Start the grooming process by brushing your dog. Check for fleas or hot spots, and spend extra time removing any tangles from a long-haired dog. Use a pet-safe, eco-friendly product like Molly Mutt Clean. Never use your own bath products on your dog; they’re not formulated for a dog’s skin and can cause irritation.
Thoroughly wet your dog, avoiding his face. Work the shampoo through his coat. Some medicated shampoos need to sit for a few minutes – this is where the treats come in handy!
Rinse the shampoo. If you use a conditioner, smooth it through his coat. While the conditioner is working – or after rinsing the shampoo if you don’t use conditioner – wet a washcloth to wash your dog’s face. If necessary, use a small dab of shampoo, then re-wet the washcloth to remove the suds. Leaving product behind can cause dry, itchy skin, so rinse your dog thoroughly one last time. Towel-dry your dog, then brush his coat again.
Hint: Most dogs hate having water in their ears. To prevent a freak-out, try putting cotton balls in your dog’s ears to keep the insides dry.
To Groom a Cat
Follow all the same steps as above, just be sure to use shampoo formulated for cats. Oh, and bathe your kitty in a room with a door that closes!