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Dog Washing Mistakes You Should Avoid

Taking a bath is a calming experience for most of us. However, for dogs, dog wash can be a troublesome experience that is far from relaxing. Amidst the water, scrubbing, soap, confinement, and noises, your dog will certainly sprint in various directions away from the direction of the tub. But sadly, washing and grooming dogs is a necessity which cannot be overlooked as it reduces shedding, reduces allergies, eliminated germs and infections, and keeps your dog clean and healthy. However, dog wash can be an easy and enjoyable process if you avoid these common mistakes.


Inappropriate Water Temperature

Lukewarm water is what you should always use for dog wash. Water should neither be too cold nor too hot as it will create a negative stimulus for your dog. This condition can turn off the dog’s bathing mood, and the bathing process will become more difficult. To set an ideal temperature, sprinkle some water on your forearm to check the temperate. Set a temperature which you feel would have been ideal if you were giving bath to a baby.

Hard Spray

One of the simplest ways to bathe your dog is with a faucet nozzle or a handheld shower in a sink or tub. However, the loud noise of running water and a sudden spray with high pressure can frighten and upset your dog. Therefore, instead of a harsh spray right into the dog’s fur, let the water hit the back of your hand as you move your hand across your dog’s body. Your dog will slowly start feeling comfortable and get accustomed to the temperature and feel of water. Slowly, you can remove your hand and proceed the dog wash to make the dog’s entire coat wet.

Inappropriate Shampoo Selection

Beginners make this mistake, quite often. They simply grab their shampoo and start bathing their dog. It is something you should avoid no matter what. Even if your shampoo is all-natural or mild shampoo, you should understand that a dog’s skin has a different pH balance than humans. Thus, using your shampoo on them will roughen their coat and dry their skin. If you are confused about selecting a good shampoo, you can consult your vet.
As a rule of thumb, you should only buy products which are specifically formulated for dogs and come with directions for dog wash. Oatmeal-based shampoos are a decent option. You can also go for medicated shampoos as they play an essential role in treating skin conditions. If you are still unsure about a shampoo, test the shampoo on a small area of the dog’s back and look for signs of itchiness and irritation after a couple of days.

Inappropriate Shampoo Application

Selecting an excellent dog shampoo will be pointless if you don’t apply it properly. What most people do is apply the shampoo to the dog’s fur and then let it soak in for some time before you wash it away. This method does not remove all the dirt away, and you need to agitate the shampoo for trapping the grime and washing it away. You should actively massage your dog’s fur with your hands for a few minutes. Start the dog wash by washing your dog’s legs and then slowly proceed towards the face. Dog’s face is the most sensitive area of the dog’s body and needs to be washed carefully with a washcloth or a cotton ball to avoid contact with eyes.

Wash the area outside of the years with a small amount of shampoo on your fingers. However, you can also use a washcloth or a cotton ball. During the dog wash, always tilt your dog’s head before washing him to prevent water from entering into the ear canal and preventing ear infections. Pay extra attention to your dog’s paw pads as they sweat more and can tap bad smell. Now you can rinse the shampoo with a nozzle in the reverse order of which you shampooed. Start rinsing the dog’s head and move your way down to the legs. This way, you will be rinsing any soap if there in your dog’s eyes.

Inappropriate Brushing Technique

Your dog needs to be brushed before and after the wash, but only if you regularly brush it thrice a week. If your dog’s fur has knots or mats, brushing can be uncomfortable and painful. You cannot just brush them out and doing so can have a negative impact. If your dog’s fur is tangled, visit a professional groomer, and then start a regular grooming routine. Doing this will help you maintain a shiny and tangle-free coat for your dog, but will also help a lot during dog wash.

For breeds such as Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds, you can brush them while they are shampooed to remove excess undercoat. But, for other breeds, make sure the dog is completely dry after the dog wash. If the fur is saturated with water, brushing will create mats. Therefore, it is better to wait for a day to brush.

You can also use a long-tooth comb or slicker brush as they work well for most breeds. A few undercoat rakes and de-shedding tools are known to cause infections by knicking the skin. Therefore, you should check all the tools with a vet or a professional groomer before using them. Moreover, a groomer will also explain to you how to properly use the tool and effectively groom your dog after dog wash.

Inappropriate Drying Technique

You should have towels ready before you take your dog for a bath. You don’t want a wet dog running all over your home. Moreover, if you own a dog, you should have a few towels on the floor and a few towels to drape over his back. After the bath, many dog owners quickly towel down their dogs, which is wrong. You should properly dry the fur to make sure it is as dry as possible.

Gently squeeze the fur with a towel to pull out the maximum amount of water. In the end, your dog should be damp but not dribble water. You should never use drying tools like a blow dryer, and leave it to the professional groomers. Temperature regulation of the airflow is difficult, which increases the chances of burning your dog’s skin. Also, many dogs are scared of sudden loud noises, and the loud noise of the drier can hamper the otherwise pleasant dog wash experience.

Excessive Bathing

New dog owners or beginners make this mistake of bathing their dogs, more often than needed. Dogs have a self-cleaning mechanism and groom themselves regularly. So, bathing your dog once or twice a month is sufficient. Excessive bathing removes natural oils from the coat and causes skin problems like irritation and itching.


Dog wash is a process which needs to be done in a systematic manner. You need to consider a lot of things before washing your dog. You need to make sure the weather is normal, and the temperature of the water is appropriate. The shampoo you use to wash your dog should be specifically made for dogs. You should consult a professional groomer before using any tools or machines on the dog’s coat. Excessive bathing is harmful to the dog’s coat and should be done only once or twice a month.