There are a few things to keep in mind when getting your dog and bathroom in order for the start of spring, AKA puddle season! The key is to always remember that although giving your pet a bath can sometimes be stressful, it is a great way to bond with your pet and encourage trust to grow between you.

Before you begin to prep your dog for bath time, the best thing would be to ensure that your bathroom is up to the task of getting your pooch into the tub! First things first, would be to make sure you have an abundance of your dogs favourite healthy treats, because bath time is the best time to indulge in some tasty snacks to reinforce positive behaviour!

An important step is also to find the least stressful way to accomplish the actual bathing! Finding the best place or room in the house or yard is a necessary step in order to make sure your dog is as comfortable as possible. For a larger dog, i.e. a Golden Retriever, it would be best to attempt in a large bathtub or even a walk in shower for those larger breeds.  Where as a smaller breed such as a Jack Russell, may be easier to bathe in a laundry tub. Depending on where this comfortable place is, a jug or cup may be needed to reduce stress due to the loud noises that a faucet or hose can bring about. Certain noises can cause a lot of what can be perceived to be negative behavior due to stress. This can take some trial and error, as the first bath you give your pet is just that! The first. It will get better with time and patience on your part, along with love and support for your four legged family member!

The second most important step is to get your fur friend ready for bath time! The best way to do this is to make sure that their fur itself is all ready with the least amount of knots and unwanted mats! Although for some breeds, and dogs in particular, the best way is always to go to a professional groomer as they have a wide variety of tools to ensure a stress free and safe way of keeping them clean and smelling great! Mats are unfortunately one way that they can get some uncomfortable skin irritations, as they are able to trap water in and hold it close to the skin.

An important thing to remember is to only use dog specified shampoos on your pet! Some dogs can be quite sensitive, and so using only a small amount of the shampoo on a small section of skin on your pooch to ensure that there are no unwanted irritations! When shopping for the best shampoo for your dog, knowing what you’re looking for is the first step. There can be many shampoos out there that are all for different uses. Most of them that you see out on the shelves can be for flea and tick ranging to dander control. Knowing which one to choose from can be confusing and difficult but is always something that you can turn to your veterinarian or groomer (if you use one) for, as those questions are always ones that they welcome with gratitude, as they know what kind of skin your pet has and the shampoo to help them sparkle and smell great, without causing any unwanted allergy flare ups!

Once the bath is done, it’s important to ensure the coat is dry and not going to cause any hotspots if sitting for too long. This is depending on which breed of dog you own. Where a Labrador Retriever may be just fine with a quick towel off, a longer haired dog will need a little bit more assistance with a blow dryer. If using a blow dryer, it needs to be on a low heat with a slow setting as not to burn their skin or scare them with the loud noises, as everything should be a form of positive reinforcement!

Knowing your pet will always be the most important step of gearing up for spring puddle season (also known as bath season). Whether this be using only lukewarm water or by needing an abundance of treats, every dog is different with different personalities. Keeping an open mind, with an abundance of patience and love for your pet is essential, and will help your relationship with your pet grow.

And the last step for ensuring you, your pet, and your bathroom is prepared for bath time is by making sure that everyone is in a safe environment and is in a good headspace to ensure that everything in done in a positive reinforcing way!

Written by Allison Shaw, Hospital Assistant
Learn more about Allison Shaw, Hospital Assistant here.