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How to Bathe Your Dog at Home

Living with Pets, Pet Health, Dog GroomingJanet BreyComment
Washing you dog at home can have some great benefits.  Photo by Autri Taheri on Unsplash

Washing you dog at home can have some great benefits. Photo by Autri Taheri on Unsplash

Call me crazy, but I prefer to groom my dog at home instead of bringing him to the dog groomer. The main reasons I choose to bathe my dog at home are:

  • Less stress on my dog who equates car trips with a vet visit

  • Less stress on my wallet as grooming costs can add up

  • Quality time spent with my dog

There are other benefits to bathing your dog at home. You chose the time; you choose the shampoo and the have the peace of mind that exceptional care was taken not to get water in the ears or soap in the eyes.

On the other side, bathing a dog a home can be a challenge. Over the years of bathing large dogs, I have discovered some tips to ease the challenges of bathing a dog at home.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?

When I asked the veterinarian how often I should bath my Labrador, he said every 3 months was plenty. Seemed a bit on the light side so I did some additional research. I found that dog bathing frequency depends - depends on the breed, the environment, where the dog has been, and any existing skin conditions.

According to Your Dog Advisor, your dog’s coat will determine how often you should bathe your dog:

  • Oily coat - If you have a dog with an oily coat you may have to bathe as often as once a week. Breeds with oily coats are Newfoundlands, Alaskan Malamutes, Basset Hounds.

  • Water-repellent coat – Dogs that have water-repellent coats should be bathed less often as they have natural oils in their coats that actually keep dirt away from the skin. Breeds with water-repellent coats are Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.

  • Short-hair, smooth coat – Breeds such as Beagles or Boston Terriers do not need frequent bathing.

  • Double coated – Australian Shepherds and Alaskan Huskies have double coats (lots of shedding!) and do better with less frequent bathing. These breeds really need to be brushed daily. This will eliminate those awful mattes, remove dirt and debris as well as distribute natural oils through their coat.

Tips for Bathing Your Dog at Home

A long hose makes it much easier when in the bath tub.  Photo by Autri Taheri on Unsplash

A long hose makes it much easier when in the bath tub. Photo by Autri Taheri on Unsplash

Based on my own experience and a bit of research, here are some tips to help you have a better dog washing experience.

Step 1 - Get Your Tools Ready (and keep within reach before your dog gets in the bath)

  • Rubber bathmat – in sink or bathtub. Stops slipping and stress.

  • Shampoo – use dog shampoo. Conditioner is optional.

  • Sprayer hose attachment. Longer hose makes life easier

  • Washcloth (2)  or sponge (2) - Need a clean one for the face area

  • Small bucket to dilute the shampoo - saves you in the rinse cycleWide tooth brush (long thick coats) and regular dog brush - gets out extra hair or knots

  • Assorted size towels - I like a small one for head and a large for body

  • Hair dryer  — A long cord is helpful and use a low heat setting 

  • Drain hair catcher - I think this is critical as I am always amazed at the hair it catches

  • Dog Treats or Toy (optional) - Rewards the good behavior

Step 2 - Dog Bath Process Tips

  • Brush and  comb hair to loosen knots and loosen dirt. If your dog has a lot of mattes, you may be able to remove them before the bath. Mattes retain water, pull skin and can be irritating. If really bad, go to a professional dog groomer.

  • Place the rubber mat in the tub or sink.

  • Lay a towel down in front of the tub and roll one up to kneel on.

  • Run the water ahead of time to get it to a lukewarm temperature.

  • Invite your dog into the bathroom with a treat. My lab will jut step in the tub whereas my Aussie Shepard has to be bribed.

  • Talk softly and calmly to your dog through the entire bath. A treat or two does not hurt either.

  • Wet the dog, starting at the back and working up toward the head. Do not wet the head as you will wash the head area last with a washcloth or sponge.

  • Using your sponge or washcloth, dip into the diluted shampoo. Diluting helps you avoid using too much shampoo.  Too much shampoo makes it hard to get a good rinse as you need to get all the soap out to avoid skin dryness.

  • Start the washing on the back of the dog and then the chest. Work back towards the tail. Wash the tail and private areas last. Put that washcloth/sponge aside.

  • Rinse your dog thoroughly – until no soap in the water.  Lastly, with a clean washcloth, wash the dog’s head – tilt the head back as you do not want to get soap in the eyes or water in the ears.

As soon as I turn off the water, my dogs wants to jump out of the tub. I firmly give the stay command and wrap a large towel around him, as if it is a robe. Then I quickly grab a small towel and dry his head and ears. If my boy is not ready to jump, I take another small towel and dry his legs and tail.

Time for a big hug! Image.  Photo by Sasha Sashina on Unsplash

Time for a big hug! Image. Photo by Sasha Sashina on Unsplash

Once out, I rub my lab a few more times with the large towel. Now, the Aussie should be squeezed dry - more than rubbed as vigorous rubbing can cause tangling. 

All done? Time for a big hug! And, now that I have a clean dog, I want to make sure he lies on a clean dog bed. I make sure to put on a clean sheet on the dog bed - a fresh PawSheet. Since they are so easy to remove and replace, I can do this immediately after the bath.

If you have any tips or suggestions, please share.

 



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My Dog's Bed Stinks - How Can I Remove Odor from a Dog Bed

Pet Health, Living with Pets, Cleaning dog bedJanet BreyComment
The sooner you deal with it the better - don’t let stink make you throw out your dog bed. Image: Karin Hiselius.

The sooner you deal with it the better - don’t let stink make you throw out your dog bed. Image: Karin Hiselius.

If you have a dog and that dog has a dog bed, there’s a good chance you have to deal with DOG BED STINK. As I see it, there are two ways to get rid of the dog bed stink:

  • Trash the dog bed - not a good solution for a number of reasons, one being cost and another is adding to landfills

  • Wash it - sound easy but not if you have a large bed. Also, sometimes even washing it will not remove the stink

Here is my recommendation:

  1. Remove the cover. Shake it out and wash in the washing machine. Add 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to the washer or put in the fabric softener dispenser. Sprinkle in 1/2 cup of baking soda on top of dog bed cover.

  2. If your inner mattress is washable and fits in your washer, your can add it to Step 1 with your cover. If it is too big for the washer, fill up your tub with hot water. Add a 1/4 cup of a mild detergent and 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar.

  3. Let the bed soak for about 15 minutes. Make sure it is submerged and not floating.

  4. Drain the tub of the soapy water and, if you have a shower hose, shoot it with water to get some of the soap out. Then fill the tub up and squeezes the mattress to all the soap out.

  5. Once you have thoroughly rinsed the inner mattress, you need to dry it. Best to do on a warm sunny day.

  6. When completely dry, give it a sniff. Hopefully, it will not stink. If it does, you may want to try a few sprays of Febreze. My research indicates Febreze is safe to use around pets. For a very detailed assessment of Febreze and pet safety, click here.

  7. Put on the washed cover and then to keep it fresh… invest in a few PawSheets.

As the founder of PawSheets, I created bedsheets for dog beds to deal with this issue. However, the I have noticed on occasion an odor in the general vicinity of my Lab’s dog bed.

PawSheets are great to keep the surface of a dog bed clean, but will not prevent a stinky bed from sending out stink signals. Best tip to keep the dog bed clean, is to never let it get too stinky or dirty. Make sure to change the cover (or PawSheet) at least once a week.

3 Simple Ways to Keep a Dog Bed Clean

Pet Health, Living with PetsJanet BreyComment
Bathing your dog regularly helps to keep the dog bed clean. Image by  oritslama  from  Pixabay

Bathing your dog regularly helps to keep the dog bed clean. Image by oritslama from Pixabay

Ask Google how to clean a dog bed and you will see tips, videos and products recommendations. One post offers 15 steps on how to clean a dog bed.

I don’t know about you but I do not have a lot of time to spend cleaning a dog bed. So here are 3 simple ways to keep your dog’s, or dogs’ bed(s) clean.

  1. Keep you dog clean. This means bathing and grooming. Brushing daily and bathing regularly. What does regularly mean? According to Canine Journal®, bathe your dog at least once every three months.

  2. Cover the dog bed with an easy to remove, easy to wash and dry, and easy to put back on dog bed cover. If a dog bed cover is hard to remove and a struggle to put back on, you will avoid doing it.

  3. Change the dog bed cover weekly - or sooner if it looks dirty. It is a good idea to vacuum the dog bed cover daily - if you can.

The best way to keep a dog bed clean is to cover it as soon as you buy it. Then, change or wash the cover weekly. Simple, right?

After a bath my dogs feel so happy. They run around and play. How do you feel after a shower?

The same concept applies to a fresh bed. As soon as I change the cover on the bed, my dogs jump right on the bed. Clean feels great. Next time you bathe your dog, give him or her a fresh bed cover. Putting a clean dog on a dirty, smelly bed just does not make sense.

PawSheets make it easy to keep your dog’s bed clean and fresh. Use promo code “3SIMPLE” for 10% off your next order.

How To Help Keep A Dog Bed Clean and Odor Free

Living with Pets, Pet HealthJanet Brey3 Comments

According to a recent survey conducted by PawSheets, the top challenge of dog owners is keeping their dog’s bed clean and odor free. 

PawSheet Customer Survey - What is Your Biggest Challenge With Caring for Your Dog?

PawSheet Customer Survey - What is Your Biggest Challenge With Caring for Your Dog?

This is no surprise. There are more styles for dog beds than ever before. Even for not-so-big dogs, extra large dog beds, bolster dog beds and couch type beds are becoming very popular. 

According to International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH), a dog bed should be washed once a week.  Germs and other nasty stuff can live on a dog bed for up to 12 months! The large and extra large dog beds present more of a challenge.  Removing a stinky, hairy cover is not fun, and refitting the washable cover is no easy task.

If you are like me, washing a couple large dog beds (or even the covers) every week is a bit more than I can handle. I find that there are several reasons for this:

  • My dog beds are too big for the washing machine – so need to go the laundromat.
  • What if the dog bed cover shrinks at a high temperature making putting it back on next to impossible?
  • What if the dog bed cover zipper wears out?

I don’t know about you but washing the dog bed cover ends up at the bottom of my weekend ‘to do” list – right after cleaning the garbage cans.

Tips to Help Keep The Dog Bed Clean

Keep in mind the longer you wait to wash the dog bed, the harder it will be to get it clean. So here are a few tips to help keep a dog bed clean and odor free:

  • Buy beds with a removable, washable cover and a good zipper.
  • If you dog tends to have wetting issues, trying enclosing the mattress in a large plastic bag and then put the cover over the bag.
  • Vacuum the bed daily. Use a pet hair sticky roller to remove the stubborn hair.
  • Make a deodorizer spray with some baking soda, essential oil (lavender, lemongrass) and water. Spray the bed daily.
  • Some people spray the dog bed with Febreze®. If you do, I would suggest spraying the underside of the dog bed in case of a sensitivity.
  • Do not let it get too stinky. If it does, it may be time for a new bed.
  • Try using a durable dog bed sheet – or two. PawSheets are made with plenty of fabric and big enough to use two at once.
    • I use two PawSheets and wash the top one weekly. Then if the underneath one is still fresh, I use it on top of a fresh PawSheet.

The Best Tip to Solve Dog Bed Odor

Extra large, XXL and fancy dog beds look great when they are new. The best tip is to think about how easy or difficult it will be to keep the bed clean and fresh – before you buy.

Have any other ideas for keeping you dog’s bed fresh? Please share with us.