Bathing your small dog can be a daunting task. They may either love it or try to squirm away from you. No matter what, though, they’ll need some help getting clean. In this post we will discuss how to bathe a small dog safely in 10 easy steps.

  1. The first step is to get all of your materials ready for the bath:
    Fur Brush
    – Rubbing Alcohol
    – Cotton Balls and Ear Swabs
    – Ear Cleaning Solution
    A Heavy Towel and newspaper for the floors
    – A Dryer or hairdryer if needed
    Dog Toothpaste and Brush
    Dog Treats to be given afterwards as an incentive for good behavior during bathing time.
  2. Decide where to bathe your dog.
    Make sure that you have enough space in the bathroom or laundry room because it may take a while depending on how dirty your pup is. It might be easier to wash them outside in an inflatable tub rather than inside the house where there might be more messes on the floor.
  3. Start by brushing the fur.
    It’s important to choose the right brush for your specific breed as they all require different types of brushes.
    For example, if you have a long-haired dog (like Korona) then it would be wise to invest in one with bristles that will help get through knots without causing pain or pulling on the hair too much. You may also need a durable pin brush or a slicker, or even an undercoat rake. If you find any mats that can’t be removed by brushing, use a trimmer to cut it away. Matted hair that is left unattended can allow bacteria to grow on the skin, resulting in a yeast infection. For short-haired pups, brush out his coat with a glove or curry brush.
  4. Trim The Nails: Use clippers or scissors on both front paws and hind paws before bathing them. Doing this before bath time saves you time and energy to hold still if he’s restless during bath time.
  5. Clean your dog’s eyes. Clean and healthy eyes should be clear with no evidence of irritation, discharge, or other complications. Carefully clean away any debris in the corners of the eyes with warm water. Dogs that are light in color or have long hair may need a special product that removes tear stains.
  6. Cleaning your dog’s ears: Most dogs do not like their ears being cleaned and your dog may be difficult to keep still. Put a small amount of ear cleaning solution on a cotton ball or small cloth and wipe the inside of your dog’s ear to remove any wax or dirt that may have accumulated. Be very gentle so you don’t irritate the sensitive skin inside the ear and avoid going to deep into the ear to prevent damage. Dab a few drops of rubbing alcohol into his ear to dry any water and to get rid of any ear mites or bacteria, then wipe the ear one last time with a dry cotton ball or swab.
    If you see anything unusual with your dog’s ears, like irritation, swelling, or an odd odor, you should contact your veterinarian because it could be a sign of infection. Clean, healthy ears should not have an odor and should only contain a small amount of wax. Remember to warm any ear cleaning products, alcohol, or medications in room temperature water before using them inside your dog’s ears.
  7. Brush your dog’s teeth.
    You can brush your dog’s teeth using a toothbrush or a piece of gauze over your fingertip. The Pets Tooth Brush is a specially designed glove with soft bristles on both the thumb and the forefinger. Most dogs are not too fond of having their teeth cleaned, but they typically prefer a human touch like this glove rather than a hard toothbrush. There are also antimicrobial sprays, like the one made by Petzlife, that can easily be sprayed inside your dog’s mouth to kill bacteria. Only use teeth and mouth products made specifically for dogs to prevent accidental poisoning or illness.
    If your dog will allow you to, you can use a standard dental scraper to gently remove tartar buildup from his teeth.
  8. It’s Bath Time!
    If your dog is nervous or apprehensive in the tub, you may need a special bath leash. These often feature suction cups to keep the dog restrained and your hands free to wash him. Remove your dog’s collar before placing him in the tub and use a waterproof collar that won’t damage your dog’s coat or skin if you need a way to restrain him. Make sure your dog is completely dry before you put his collar back on to prevent sores around his neck. Wait about 12 hours. It is best to wash your dog with running water, rather than filling the tub and washing him in dirty water. However, many dogs are frightened by the sound of water. Work with your dog gently, without force, to get him accustomed to baths and remember to be patient because it may take time. Get your dog completely wet. An attachment hose for your shower head or bath faucet or even a pressurized spray nozzle on your outdoor hose will work well for most dogs. Again, remember to be patient with your dog if he is apprehensive. Start washing around his neck and then work your way down over the rest of his body. Use a natural irritation-free shampoo like Wahl 4-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner. Dilute it with a small amount of water to make it rinse easier without leaving soap residue behind. Work in small sections, applying a bit of the shampoo to your hand and working it into the dog’s fur. If your dog has a thick coat, you can use a curry brush like the one available by Aumuca Long and Short Hair Brush to work the shampoo through. For bathing long hair, smooth the shampoo through the coat rather than brushing it in to avoid knots and unruly tangles. When you have finished washing your dog’s body, carefully shampoo his head. Rinse your dog completely before removing him from the water. Hot spots, or bald patches of skin that are itchy and uncomfortable, are caused by shampoo left in your dog’s coat. Rinse him with clean, running water until the water runs clear of both soap and dirt.
  9.  Dry Dry Dry! Once your dog is rinsed well, you can get him out of the tub and dry him. Use a thick, soft towel to absorb most of the water and allow your dog to shake himself as well. Make sure you dry his feet very well to prevent fungus or bacteria from growing in his paws. If your dog has a short, easy to manage coat, you are finished grooming him. Dogs with long hair, thick coats, and curly hair require a little more maintenance. If your dog has a lot of hair, you can use a blow dryer to speed up the drying process. Take care not to dry the hair completely with the appliance because you may cause damage to his skin. A brush, along with the blow dryer, can help keep long-haired dogs free of mats and tangles. Dogs with curly hair, like poodles, must be dried completely to keep their coats looking good.
  10. Dress up your pup with a bow, bandana or coat and he’s ready to go!

Do remember that little dogs can be hyper or nervous, so it is important to speak in a soothing tone while bathing and throughout the entire grooming process. Use the time to groom to bond with your dog. Don’t be afraid to get wet and enjoy the process!

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