Homepage At-Home Pet Care How to Give Your Pet a Bath

How to Give Your Pet a Bath

Prep work is the first step to getting your pet clean. Not only with it making giving them a bath much faster and easier, but it will get them as squeaky-clean as possible. Here’s how to start.

1. Trim your pet’s nails.

Since an animal’s claws are shaped differently than that of a human’s, you should a nail trimmer designed for your size and type of pet. You can use guillotine-type trimmers, scissor-action trimmers, or even a Dremel drill to sand down the nails. Your veterinary technician or groomer can teach you how to do this.

2. Brush your pet’s coat.

Make sure your pet is de-matted prior to bathing. You will need a brush or comb appropriate for your pet’s coat. There are many types of specialized grooming tools, such as slicker brushes, greyhound combs, flea combs, dematting blades, and shedding rakes. Ask your vet or groomer which will work best for your pet.

3. Protect your pet’s eyes.

Apply eye lubricant to the corneal surface to protect your pet’s eyes. Most pet shampoos can cause corneal burns if there is accidental contact. Use a tear-free shampoo if you don’t have complete confidence that you can avoid the eyes. We frequently have to treat eye ulcers after a pet is groomed by their owner — and sometimes even after a professional grooming. Accidents do happen!

4. Apply shampoo.

Wet your pet thoroughly from the back of the head to the rest of the body, then apply shampoo down the back and spread through the entire coat. Next, spread some shampoo along your pet’s underside, using your fingertips (not your nails) to lightly massage the shampoo into the skin.

5. Rinse your pet.

Start the rinse with gentle water pressure to avoid upsetting your pet, gradually increasing the pressure, if needed. Be sure to rinse off all the shampoo, as any residue can irritate the skin or cause nausea if your pet licks it off.

6. Dry off your pet.

Use clean towels or, if it won’t scare your pet, a hair dryer, being careful not to burn your pet’s delicate skin. Since they can’t tell you if the dryer is too hot, it’s safest to keep the heat at medium. Brush their coast again to fluff up all that clean fur.

7. Clean your pet’s ears.

Use cotton balls and an ear cleaner recommended by your vet. Most cleaning solutions contain a drying agent to evaporate any water that may have gotten in your pet’s ears. This will prevent ear infections and keep your pet’s ears healthy.

Voila! You have a clean, fresh-smelling pet to cuddle with.

This copyrighted article first appeared in the Residences section of The Palm Beach Post. It may have been updated since its original publication.

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