Every 2-3 months or so (depending on how dirty they get), it’s time for Dog Bath Day. To avoid eradicating healthy oils from the coat and causing dry skin, we only bathe when absolutely necessary. To keep shedding to a minimum we brush and de-shed their coats regularly. Not only is brushing your dog’s coat good for getting out loose hair and keeping foreign objects out (stickers, tree sap, etc), but it helps to distribute those healthy oils, thereby giving your dog’s coat a nice sheen. It also serves as a nice bonding time, relaxing both you and your dog. Mine like it so much they are often snoring by the time I am done.
Shedding is something to consider when choosing a dog, and I often get asked how much my breed sheds. It is not as bad as when I had Rottweilers, but they do shed. I am normally sweeping, vacuuming and mopping once daily. It was not unheard of for me to do it twice daily if I forgot to take them outside and use the shedding blade on them. Tumbleweeds (blobs of hair) are a fairly common sight here. I have always used a shedding blade, but when the trusty one I’d had for years finally broke, I decided to try something else. I’d heard many folks rave about the Furminator line of de-shedding tools, so I purchased one for myself to see how it performed. In addition to the de-shedding tool, I purchased their shampoo and conditioner. It smells wonderful and I swear, there is less hair in my house! I even notice less hair in and around their crates. This is a huge deal since normally every week I am moving crates and sweeping around and under them. Using the tool in conjunction with the shampoo and conditioner has made an amazing difference. The products are a bit pricier than you might expect, but they are absolutely worth every penny. The shampoo and conditioner retail for $12.99 each and the de-shedding tool starts at $37.99 on up to $72.99 depending on size and coat type.
While the conditioner sits on the dogs’ coats I usually clean their ears. Using a pair of hemostats (so as not to get any ear ick on my fingers), I clip a large cotton ball between the tips and soak it in regular rubbing alcohol, squeezing off the extra before using it to clean the dogs’ ears. Alcohol is a drying agent and will help to dry up any water that might have gotten into the ears. It will also clean out dirt and wax buildup, thus preventing ear infections if done regularly. Every time your dog gets wet, you need to be vigilant about getting any water out of the ears. For smaller dogs, cotton swabs are fine. Don’t worry about puncturing the ear drum; you couldn’t if you tried. The anatomy of the inside of the ear is such that you cannot reach the ear drum. The ear canal is L-shaped. The pocket at the base of the ear as well as around all the folds and inner surface of the ear should be cleaned. Don’t try to stick the swab or cotton ball down into the ear canal, since this might push debris down further. Below is a diagram from peteducation.com of a dog’s inner ear:
Crates are cleaned before anyone gets back into them, then they are crated while they dry. This prevents rubbing their wet dog smell all over my rugs, furniture or running outside and diving into dirt. Everyone gets a chewy of some sort so that they have something to look forward to after the unpleasantness that is Bath Day. When I am getting pups accustomed to being bathed/groomed, they will get treats throughout the process so that they associate it with positive things.
We usually operate Bath Day like an assembly line of sorts, with someone cleaning out crates while someone else does the bathing and towel drying, and when one dog goes inside to dry, another comes out to be bathed. We just keep going until everyone is done. Do you have a bathing/grooming routine?