Bathing dogs in winter – our foolproof guide!

Bathing dogs in winter – our foolproof guide!

Washing dogs is inevitable in winter, but if your hound heads for the hills if you say the B word, this guide will help make bathing dogs at home easier.

Warmth is the key to winter dog baths. From regulating the right water temperature to drying their fur, there are plenty of ways owners can keep dogs clean and cosy in the chilly and muddy seasons.

1) How often?
Essentially, dogs should only be bathed when necessary, but that can be weekly for some dogs! At any time, dogs can smell a bit off, roll in something or get muddy, so regular bathing is an inevitable part of being a dog owner.

2) The best time
Bathe in the morning in winter so that your dog is completely dry before nighttime, when it’s colder. It’s best to wash after a walk and a snack so that dogs are less bouncy and more settled.

3) The best approach
If you have your dog from a puppy, start early! The sooner they realise it’s part of a normal routine, the more likely it is they’ll accept it. If you didn’t do this, or you have an older dog, the mantra to follow is ‘take it slowly, be relaxed, praise, reward’.

4) Where is best?
This depends on the size of your dog – but inside is always best in winter. Even if you have a warm tap outside, dogs will be more comfortable inside. A bowl/trug/kitchen sink is fine for a small dog, but with a larger dog you’ll need to use the family bath. A walk-in shower or dedicated dog shower for bigger dogs will be easiest. Wherever you choose to wash your dog, obvious though it sounds, close the door to avoid any escape opportunities!

5) How to stay in control
Purchase a caddy to neatly contain your dog wash kit: brush/comb, shampoo and spritz, non-slip mats, towel and Drying Coat, treats, wipes, cloth and plug hair catcher. Never use a human shampoo/conditioner - they are too strong, not the correct pH for a dog’s skin and will irritate.

Place everything where you can get to it easily: dog shampoo where you can reach it whilst holding your dog; treats in your pocket; Drying Coat close by and non-slip mats inside the bath and on the floor by the bath.

6) The washing process from start to finish!
• Before you start, praise your dog, and give them a treat!
• Always brush your dog before the bath as matted hair will hold water and irritate the skin and a brushed dog is easier to wash.
• Use a shower head or beaker, lukewarm water, and do not put a plug in if using the bath to wash your dirty dog. Place a hair catcher over the plug!
• Start from the neck down, leaving the head, face, eyes and nose dry initially. Don’t forget pads, armpits and belly, although leave the belly to last as it’s ticklish and may unsettle your dog if you dive in and do this first!
• Choose a gentle and natural dog shampoo and spritz, like Ruff and Tumble’s Ruff Wash and Spritz. The essential oils of Rosemary and Eucalyptus are especially designed to help neutralise doggy odours. The Spritz helps to detangle fur after washing, which means less of a struggle with a wet dog in the bathroom! Massage the shampoo into the dog’s body, as they’ll love the contact. We all love a good head massage when we are at the hairdresser, and it’s no different when your dog is having a dog bath!
• After the body, wash the face, eyes and nose with a wet cloth or wipes, keeping the ears folded down.
• Rinsing the dog shampoo off thoroughly is vital. Do not rush this. Rinse and rinse again, until you are sure that the fur is shampoo free. Leaving any residue will cause irritation and discomfort for your dog.

7) The drying process
Drying dogs thoroughly and quickly in winter is vital because it’s cold. The quickest and warmest way to dry a dog is with a Ruff and Tumble Drying Coat. Made of two layers of cotton towelling, the coat wicks wet from fur as it warms and dries the dog. Easy to pop on, the dog can walk, eat and sleep inside the house as it dries completely and easily. Drying Coats are practical for washing dogs at home because they instantly contain shake off and help to reduce the mess indoors. The natural cotton breathes as it dries, which means the dog can wear the coat until they are totally dry.

Drying dogs thoroughly with towels is impossible – they will always be damp and therefore chilly afterwards no matter how long you rub them down! As well as time consuming, towel drying is difficult on the hands and knees and flappy towels are unsettling and distracting for dogs. Hair drying dogs works for some owners, but it can scare dogs and care must be taken with the heat setting.

For fast, comfortable dog drying and minimal mess for owners,
a Ruff and Tumble Drying Coat wins every time!