How can you wash your dog? What is the correct procedure for drying him/her? And at what age is it advisable to start washing a dog?

These are some of the questions that most people who are concerned about the health of their four-legged friend ask their veterinarian during consultations.

A puppy is a fragile individual from an immunological point of view, but this does not mean that they cannot be washed if needed. However, it is important to dry well all the excess water. A puppy should not be exposed to cold air (e.g., wind, air conditioning) if their coat is still wet or damp, to prevent them from getting ill.

Washing a dog correctly is not difficult, but it requires some important precautions. First of all, a suitably environment that is heated and protected from drafts should be chosen.

How to wash your dog

The preliminary stages

The surface of the tank or bathtub must be well sanitised, and a rubber mat can be placed on the bottom, which helps the animal not to slip, and therefore feel safer.

Before starting the actual washing, it is good to brush the dog’s coat thoroughly, to remove the most superficial dirt and dead hair, so as to allow shampoo to act more effectively.

It is good practice to allow your dog to gradually familiarise with the tub and with contact with the water, using a calm voice, giving breaks and moments of play, so that they can experience the bath as a pleasant experience, associated with positive emotions.

Washing operations

When you are sure that your dog is calm and relaxed, you can proceed to fill the tub more or less up to the knee, paying attention to water temperature, which must not be too high. For safety, you can use a bath thermometer that is easily available at drug stores.

1 How to wash your dog

With the sprayer, you can at this point wet the dog all over the body, avoiding the head area, to protect eyes and ears from water, and rub in, leaving the shampoo to act for a few minutes before rinsing with plenty of warm water.

It is essential to use a special shampoo for dogs, designed specifically for their skin type.

Finally, the dog must be dried well, first massaging the coat with soft towels and then using a hair dryer, taking care that the undercoat does not remain wet, as this could cause skin infections. The ears must also be well dry to avoid the development of unpleasant ear infections. At the limit it is possible to dry the external surface of the ear with the help of a soft cloth.

How often can you wash your dog?

It is advisable to bathe the dog no more than once a month.

Is it possible to dry clean the dog?

Certainly yes. Here are some tips on how to clean your dog without taking a bath.

The process begins again with careful brushing of the coat. Then proceed to massage and rub it gently starting from the back, and then moving on to the legs, the tail and, finally, the muzzle. It is essential to use a product suitable for pets. On the market there are several products to dry clean dogs: shampoo solutions in spray formulation, which must be applied with the help of a damp cloth, wet wipes and cleaning gloves.

Once these operations are finished, it is always important not to forget to give our four-legged friend a final thorough brushing!

Federica Pirrone, Mariangela Albertini, Patrizia Piotti researchers at UNIMI Veterinaria