Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

How to Properly Wash Your Dog

Dogs should be kept on a regular schedule of washing. This is important to prevent skin and odor problems. It is also important to use a dog shampoo because it is formulated for a dog's skin. Here are some steps to follow when it comes to washing your dog.

Make sure to use a shampoo that is for dogs and if you have a puppy, get a shampoo that is for puppies. People shampoo is just not right for dogs. It can dry out the dog's skin.

For puppies and small dogs, it is best to wash them in the sink or bathtub. Make sure to use warm water and not hot water or cold water. This will be much more comfortable for the dog and make it a more pleasant experience.

If you have one of those massage shower heads on a hose, you can give your larger dog a bath in the tub as well. Most dogs find this just as relaxing as we do.

Brushing or combing prior to the bath will help remove tangles and matts in the dog's hair or fur. Depending on the breed, this will become important because the tangles will be difficult to remove after the bath.

The frequency of washing depends on the climate and breed of the dog. Generally speaking dogs should be washed once a week during the summer, once every two to three weeks in the spring and fall, and about once a month in the winter. This schedule is meant for healthy dogs and may vary if your dog has skin or health problems. It is best to check with your veterinarian if this is the case.

Begin your dog's bath by gradually wetting the dog's coat. Make sure the coat is sufficiently saturated and then apply enough dog shampoo to achieve a good foaming lather.

Gently massage the shampoo into the coat. Only shampoo the dog's head if necessary. Make sure not to get the dog shampoo in the eyes or ears.

Once you have achieved a good lather, rinse the coat very thoroughly and REPEAT with clean water. With your hands squeeze the water out of your dog's coat. Lift or remove your dog from the tub and towel dry. Make sure to comb and brush the hair as it dries especially if your dog has long hair. This will help prevent knots.

If your dog has a strong body odor, try thoroughly washing and rinsing. If this does not resolve the issue, your dog may have a skin problem. If this is the case, you should seek the care and advice of your veterinarian.

Many dog owners are reluctant to wash their dog regularly due to concern over removing natural oils from the skin and coat. Actually, many skin problems come from insufficient washing.

Regular washing is part of a good hygiene program for your dog. Since dogs cannot bathe themselves, it is up to us dog owners to take on this responsibility.

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