Instead of both you and your dog viewing bath time as a chore, why not turn it into good, clean fun?Bathing benefits
As a general rule, animals benefit from baths only when they are dirty, but for dogs, a cool rinsing or a swim can do a lot of good, particularly when it's hot. The sooner you get your dog used to bathing, the better, so integrate bathing into a puppy's routine.
Be careful, though: too much bathing will actually strip your dog's coat of its natural oils. When to bath your dog
Does your dog need a bath? If your dog has begun to smell, or you can spot any matted hair, sores and tenderness, then the answer is yes. You should also wash him if he has been swimming anywhere near toxic sprays or oils. Preparing your dog
Before bathing, take the opportunity to have a good look at your dog's body, checking for lumps and bumps. You should also brush and comb the coat to remove any foreign bodies.
Ask your vet which shampoo is best for your dog. To minimise any possible allergic reactions, the best choice tends to be a mild all-round dog shampoo, without harsh chemicals or perfumes.
Never use human shampoo as dog skin and hair has a different acidity to yours. Get a bath - a big plastic bucket will do - and line it with a non-slip mat. Fill it with warm water and then put your dog in. It is often easier to take large dogs outside and wet them using buckets of warm water. Shampooing and rinsing
After wetting your dog, apply a small amount of shampoo, taking care not to get any in his eyes or ears. Then lather right down to the tail, not forgetting the underside and neck. Rinse with a shower nozzle or jug of warm water, again avoiding the eyes and inner ears. Use your hands to help the soap run off. Drying your dog
After soaping and rinsing, dogs naturally roll and rub their heads, necks and bodies on any available ground, including grass. This is a natural follow-up to bathing, so have some towels ready on the floor or garden to try and encourage your dog to use these instead.
Dogs usually want to shake off any excess water themselves, so remember to remove your dog from the tub beforehand or you will be the one who ends up getting a bath! Once your dog has had a good shake, rub him or her down from head to toe with a towel. You can even use a hairdryer on willing dogs. Dealing with reluctant bathers
Baths can be a stressful and even quite frightening experience. As in any scary situation, beware of snaps and bites. If your dog has any history of biting when afraid, try using a muzzle.
Dogs that are simply fearful, but not aggressive, should be reassured and praised throughout the bath - food treats are always helpful.
Introduce bath times gradually - don't force the issue. You may also want to take the tub outside so your dog has more space and is less likely to feel threatened.