Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On Dog Cleaning and Rethinking Home Baths

Since Miss M and I were bachelorettes together, I have always dreaded dog baths. Back then it was just me and her. Me trying to wrestle her 75 pound body into a tub. Her heaving her 75 pound body back out of the tub. And it went on like this just like a terrible episode of the roadrunner and coyote. Finally, with all the heavy lifting, costume changes (I had to don a bathing suit), and soaked apartment afterwards, I just realized it would be much easier to take her to PetSmart. 
And with all these terrible memories, we have been taking the pooches off-location for their baths for the past several years. That is, until we realized he had a nicely manageable apartment-sized pooch:
It was when I saw our Super-Levi staring into the bathroom, and trying to think when we could schedule a time to take the 3 pooches in for baths, I realized the obvious. I could actually pick him up and bathe him myself. And amazingly enough, when I lifted him in: he stayed. Maybe it's part of his Superhero genetics allowing him to repel water. He stayed in place quite nicely, except for the occasional tongue-lick.
Through all this, we noticed someone else peeking into the bathroom:
And I had my second realization: now that I have a husband to help me out, bathing a 75 pound pooch is quite possible, and enjoyable. But maybe not for Miss M. She came out smelling like mangoes.
So then we had to get Mr. B in on the deal. I definitely could have never lifted him in by myself, but with one swoop from strong husband, he was in the tub and looking like a fat little seal--according to the hilarious comment on our facebook page. Now his fur gleams like the inside of a seashell.
We were kind of disgusted by how dirty the bath water was, especially since we were using some dry wipe cloths, and always make sure to wipe their feet.
Now we've realized how baths don't have to be like bad Warner Brothers cartoons, we're going back to dog-bathing basics. We're curious: how often do you wash your pooches? And how do you keep the hair from clogging the drain? And any dog shampoo tips? Does the shampoo matter? Or does anyone still think it's easier to go off-location?

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43 comments:

jet said...

I don't bathe them!!! We take Bender down to the ocean when he gets stinky. Barbie doesn't get stinky, she has a nice Greyhound smell.

TheQueerBird said...

We only bathe our dog every 6 months or so, when our hands start coming away dirty. No one wants to pet a dirty dog! More often than that can really dry out their skin... we go to a DIY dog bathing place, since Daph is super nervous about everything. She hates it, but it's over faster and with less mess. In a pinch, we have bathed her at home (like when she found stinky stuff to roll in on a walk) and use dog shampoo. I think it's better for their skin and fur than human shampoo. Re: sink clogging? No idea.

waldobungie said...

Daniel installed a hand-held shower head that has done wonders for bathing the dogs (it's like we have our own do-it-your-self bath area at a pet store)! We use all-natural shampoo that smells like heaven (I always hated the ones that smelled so....dog-like) and we always blow dry Rufus at the end, but Turk and Ginger prefer to air dry. All of your pups make bathies positively adorable!

Nancy said...

We are fortunate in two things..1. We have a walk-in shower with a hand held shower head 2. Cal likes baths and will walk willingly into said shower- Seriously!
I use either baby shampoo or whatever dog shampoo I find on sale. He gets bathed every 3-4 months or whenever he has managed to get himself into something nasty.

HoundDogMom said...

I normally bath ours. Amiee hates it but will deal with it. Winston whines the whole time. I find it takes me longer to get ready to take them out to get baths then deal with it myself. Probably don't do it enough though, Amiee looks like she rolls around in the dirt like a Pig sometimes. To stop the drain from clogging up we use one of the stainless steel strainers for sinks and bathtubs. It sits in the drain and catches all the hair and you can just pull it out and empty it. We use an oatmeal shampoo, because Mango would have a fit if used his DNA to bath ourselves with. BOL. Hope you have a great day and thanks for the nice comments about Cleo. Sniffs, The HoundDogs

Lindsay said...

I wash my pup about every 4-6 weeks. I have a big double sink in my basement and that's where she gets her baths. I guess I've never worried about the hair clogging the drain!!! ;-)

The pics of bath time are just adorable.

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

When they get baths we hose them down outside, lol. On hot days it works really well because they like to lounge around in the sun to dry off (we don't do baths when it gets cold though). We tried bathing them inside once or twice, but it was a nightmare so we've never done it again, haha.

Maggie said...

Emmett has to have a weekly bath for his therapy dog work. The other two get baths on an as-needed basis! Two things have streamlined the process. First, a detachable pet shower like this one http://www.amazon.com/Rinse-Ace-Pet-Shower-Deluxe/dp/B0002ZINFW. And, I know this sounds gross, but I put a dot of peanut butter or easy cheese on the inside/opposite wall of the shower. They have to jump in themselves to get to the treat. So far I haven't had to lift either one of them!

Sarah said...

We bathe the dogs every couple months. It helps with Maggie's itchies and I think bathing them more often gets them more used to the bathtub and more manageable when they're in it. Sadie also LOVES being blow dried so she will put up with an endless amount of baths so long as she gets nice and toasty afterwards. I use an all-natural oatmeal based shampoo to help keep their coat nice, soft & shiny. Love the pic of Mr B at the top!

Darwin said...

I bathe our pug every two weeks, favorite shampoo is Keihl's cuddly-coat grooming shampoo. The results are amazing, he has a beautiful shine that lasts for weeks.

Claudia said...

Franklin is fancy and goes to the groomer every 6-8 weeks. Lola gets wiped off when her white fur gets muddy, but only gets baths about every 3 months. We have a stall shower; so I'll trap her in there with me, or if we board her when we go out of town, we have them give her a bath before we pick her up.

Kari in Vegas said...

we used lots of cheese and taught them to hop in on their own. It took a while but is so worth it

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com

Kerri said...

We only bathe the pooch when he starts getting that doggy smell. So probably every 4-6 months. I also have a hand-held shower head which makes rinsing him off super quick and painless. We still use his puppy shampoo because it's very gentle, and the bottle was huge!

We also use a drain strainer for hair - I have to use it every day for my own hair, so when I drain the tub with Milo, I just make sure to pop it in after I pull the plug.

I do wear a bathing suit though, and get right in the tub with him. I put a leash on him to keep him controled, and we kinda just hang out in the water for a bit. So far it has been fairly trauma free.

SherBear said...

My vet recommended using an Oatmeal conditioner since Nala gets the itchies...although I haven't bathed her yet - pretty sure I will also be dooning a bathing suit!!

Antoinette Errante said...

I bathe Max and Lola about once a month. That's about the time they start to get itchy and my furniture covers dirty. I LOVE the Furminator deshedding shampoo and conditioner (I might not bathe every 4 weeks if I did not use a conditioner). It is amazing how much loose fur comes off and I bursh them every day while I have my coffee. Ms. Lola is not a fan of the tub so there always lots of treats before and after (I'll have to try cheez whiz in tub, that's inspired. Max just stands with equanimity. It is a bit involved because the shampoo and conditioner need to stay on for a few minutes but totally worth it. Lola is 45 and Max is 53 pounds so it's not too bad. Max is hard to catch on bath day but once he's in he's cooperative. Lola likes to look while Max is getting a bath. I tend to pick her up and carry her in so as not to mess up her "come" but she's definitely better about. And they know the reward is their favorite liver treats afterwards.

Christine said...

We bathe our dogs pretty often and they don't mind it too much because they always get a special treat after. :) As for the drain, I bought a little screen at the hardware store to put over the drain. I think the screen is designed for a kitchen sink, but it works well. P.S. The pooches are so cute in the tub!

Two Pitties in the City said...

I wonder if our dogs get dirtier than most? I feel like after about 3-weeks their fur is a bit more greasy and they start to smell like fritos. I wonder if this is another result of the infamous 'Chicago Grime'. Is washing every 3 weeks, even if they seem dirty, bad because it might damage their skin?

TheQueerBird said...

I think if you're washing more often, you should definitely use a dog-specific and maybe even "senstive skin" shampoo. The concern with extra washing is that it removes a lot of essential oils from their skin, which can dry them out and just be a bad idea. You could see if there are dietary supplements you can give them (fish oil, maybe?) that might help. Another thought is that if you are washing them that often, their bodies may be in hyper-oil-production mode, and the oil/grime production might slow if the baths slow, too, so maybe try going a week longer than you usually do and it'll even out? Good luck!

Gin said...

I have 3 big dogs, 2 60pound Pitties and one 80 pound Mutt. We've taught our pups to hop into the tub by themselves. We also put down the grip strips for the tub and that helps them help a bit more comfortable since they aren't slipping so much. We bath about once a month or everyother depending on season. I use special itchy shampoo and conditioner for my baby girl Mystic, cause she has really bad skin allergies. The other two just get sweet smelling dog shampoo. I use a good rubber curry comb too while I'm bathing to help keep the coat shinny. And I use a drain strainer for catching the hair. You could probably teach Miss M with treats to hop in and out of the tub. She's so smart and loves her treats. I had to play with my girls and destroy a couple of old towels playing tug-a-war. Good Luck

mrajcox said...

Lily gets baths more often in the summer because she is much more active then-dog beach swimming, running, chasing after squirrels in the mud. A hand held shower head (detachable) has been our very best friend. Although, like you guys, it's usually my husband who gets to lift her in, keep her there and dry her off.

And when in doubt (or rather when we don't want to unclog the drain!), we go to Soggy Paws. Their self wash tubs are heaven. Tall tubs, aprons. In fact that was Levi's first bath after the kennel. ;)

Love the pics of the wet pups!

Michelle said...

Gracie only gets bathed when she's especially gross...usually after a romp in the mud. I rather like her faint doggie scent most of the time. We have a double head shower thing...one stationary head and one hand held...I've taught her to wait for me to close the curtain and tell her "shake it, shake it!" to avoid drenching the whole bathroom. We have a litle wire catch thing sitting in the drain...that helps a lot with the hair not clogging it up. Post bath I try to dry her as best I can with towels but she'd rather play "bull fight" with them so we just let her zoom dry in the house.

Christine said...

You are not alone in the Frito dog phenomenon! Willie gets a bath every 6 weeks or so because he develops a strong Frito smell and his coat starts to feel really oily. Nabi is very clean and has almost no doggie odor, so she gets one 3-4 times a year. Both dislike baths and have to be leashed and held in the tub so they don't jump out. We bathe them at home. Nabi shivers and trembles the whole time as if she's being tortured. Willie doesn't act too bothered but still tries to jump out when the opportunity presents itself. After he is freed from the bath, he gets the incredible zoomies and races around at top speed for a while, which he never does normally. I have no idea why!

Benny and Lily said...

Just when we start smelling good, in the tub we go. Nutty. We would rather be lifted in and placed gently on our rubber mat
Benny & Lily

The Polite Fox said...

Bully breeds have more/different oils to them, so sometimes more baths are necessary.

Our dogs start to get greasy after about 3 weeks as well. But, it usually takes about 5 weeks to actually bathe them. I really want to try one of those tub attachment hoses to see if that helps get the job done.

msnform said...

Ok, we live at the beach so that's definitely a factor--Rikki gets bathed whenever she goes to the beach (sometimes twice a day!) but it's mostly to rinse off sand--shampoo is not always involved. Rikki knows the cost of the beach is a bath...She prefers warm water (outside shower, hand held attachment) though she tolerates the hose if she must. Started all my dogs early in the bath with warm water so if not happy they're resigned to it.

A&A Friese said...

Luckily Molly will hop in on her own with the coaxing of a treat, and then she will chill for the duration of the bath. We use an extra moisterizing shampoo combined with some whitening shampoo to get her gleaming and soft. We also follow up with PetHead Strawberry yogurt detangling spray, though her hair doesn't get tangled, it smells exquisite and gives her coat and extra oomph of softness. Also we bath about every month, other wise she too gets to smelly.

vschweiss said...

These pictures are great. I have to agree, the hand-held shower head and the rubber mat make bath time a lot easier. Having a man around to do the heavy lifting is nice too. ;)

WH said...

Since you give them fish oil they should be able to quickly recover any oils stripped by frequent bathing.
We get a lot of rain so I only wash the girls about every 2 months. During the summer they get the hose after especially filthy romps in the muskeg and any encounters with rotten fish or bear poop is treated with lots of shampoo and a few extra romps in the lake. During the winter I make sure to put lotion on Sasha's little bare tummy after a bath mostly because she loves it. Molly doesn't like the hair dryer but she has a lot of hair so I feed her treats while I dry her. Sasha's hair doesn't clog the drain but Molly's does and I hadn't thought to use a sink-strainer.

Doc Sinister said...

My pittie (who is a therapy dog) needs to get a bath before her visits, so she gets bathed once or twice a month. The mutt gets a bath every 2 or 3 months, based on the "does she smell / feel dirty" test.

houndstooth said...

I've heard that you actually shouldn't bathe them too often, maybe like twice a year. Still, things happen, and sometimes after really muddy hikes, we're still giving baths more frequently. Most of the time, we try to do it when it's warm enough to be outside, but when we do give baths in the house, we use a plastic drain trap or an old towel over the drain to catch the hair. The drain traps are pretty cheap and you can get them in a lot of places. We make sure that we use shampoo that's gentle and has conditioner, even for our short-coated hounds, too.

Tucker The Crestie said...

LOVE the bath pics!

Now, obviously, the bath situation here is a bit less of an ordeal simply because both Tucker & Phoebe together weigh about as much as Miss M.'s head. And they don't have the kind of haircoat that clogs bathtub or shower drains, either. But I spent sixteen years bathing a 70 pound Malamute mix who could clog a shower drain quicker than you could say rub-a-dub-dub! But that's another story.

Tucker gets bathed about once a month, Phoebe every two or three weeks. Tucker could go a lot longer ... he never seems to get stinky. Phoebe doesn't stink, but especially in the summer she can start to smell 'sweaty.'

The cats are another story - they get bathed maybe three or four times a year max, and surprisingly they are very good for it. Well, Olivia and Tanner are. Finn is still a bit squirrely. :)

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

amazing!! i love this - we always wash Havi, then have to wash out tub. ew.

Kristine said...

No tips. We bathe Shiva a couple of times a year and it's always a nightmare given her massive fear of water. Taking her to an off-site location and getting someone else to do it wouldn't help that either. Luckily she only weighs 40 pounds so I can easily lift her myself.

I am hardly an expert. We just use the dog shampoo you can find it pet stores. No idea how to keep the drain from clogging, though. I wish I did!

Kitty+Coco said...

We bath our two once a month usually with an oatmeal based shampoo to keep them from getting too dry. With two 20 lb pups, I can just hop in the shower with them. I let them stand on the bathtub floor, lather them up, and then pick them up and rinse them off really well. Coco even flops in my arms like a baby. She enjoys the warm water. My husband does the drying. Assembly line style. Nothing really to do about the drain except for liquid drano.
Side note: My parents bathe their 40 lb. mix every week because he honestly starts to smell. Vet says it is totally fine as long as you use the proper shampoo.

The Highlands Mathis said...

Our 70lb pit bull mutt loves jumping into the shower, so I never thought about having to lift him in. Treats help him stay there when the shower turns on, which he prefers to the tub of water. I shower with him and he gets the puppy shampoo because of skin sensitivities. Every month, because he starts to feel gross right about then, and then the monthly meds for fleas and such.

Felicity said...

It sounds to me that if they have 'frito' smell, they might be yeasty. Some dogs are just naturally prone to more yeast build up on the skin than others. I have one yeasty dog and he needs bathing a lot more than my girl. Plus he's a boy and I think it's because boys smell ;).
I've read advice that suggests rinsing with an apple cider vinegar can help with the yeast. You could try it and see if it lengthens the time between bathing.
PS Anouk does exactly what Miss M was doing in that photo. She peeps through the bathroom door when Ziggy is being bathed "Are they going to get me too??
I am jealous that your dogs are basically "wash and wear". Having long low shedding coats is great in some ways but they take forever to wash and double that to dry.

Mr. Pip said...

We try to wash Pip every week (doesn't always happen). He also goes to the groomer about 4 or 5 times a year. He has super sensitive skin so we have to use very gentle shampoo. We don't use conditioner, but other yorkie owners have suggested we should.

These pictures are hysterical!

Some guy in Texas said...

I very seldom bathe my three -- a pit mix, a rottie mix, and a Rhodesian mix. We live in the city and walk about three miles a day, but they just don't seem to need bathing. Now and then, when they get into some mud or roll in something disgusting, I'll bathe them in the shower with dog shampoo.ds

My pit mix has a coat that leaves a film on my hands when I pet her, but even after bathing, it's back in a day or two. I've just learned to live with it.

A Wonderful Dogs Life said...

Dad says it's our toes that smell like Frito's. I guess since it's the only place we sweat it makes since. I have to wonder has he smelled his own feet?

Emma

orange sugar said...

I bathe the huskies whenever I feel like they need it. I'm thinking that happens around 2-4 times a year. It's getting about that time. For the most part they are good about it. The Rinse Ace Shower Hose Kit and Rinse ACE Bathing Tethers help tremendously.

Leslie said...

Your pictures (and dogs) are adora-bull! Poor babies don't look especially thrilled about bath time.

I have given Bella only 1 full on bath in her lifetime. It was outside and, even with my death grip on the harness AND collar, she still nearly managed to get away. Afterwards I had to clean my kitchen and change all the linens in the bedroom.

We go through a lot of wash-wipes but luckily she appears to be part cat and cleans herself regularly as well.

cheapcat said...

I had one week this summer where Maggie had 3 baths because she kept rolling in turkey & deer poop! Duke isn't as bad, he only needed 1 bath in the same time frame. They haven't had a bath for about 2 months & still smell decent, even when coming in wet from snow or rain. We use puppy sensitive skin shampoo & have a detachable shower hose that looks like a kitchen sink sprayer; it's awesome! It was $12 at Home Depot and is higher pressure so they get wet & rinse off much faster. Which is good when giving a bath before work when stinky girl rolls in poop.

Courtney said...

Our Akita gets bathed about every 6 weeks or so - generally when we notice he's starting to feel greasy. Since Akitas don't smell "doggy" the way other breeds do, smell is not a good indicator for us. We use a dog shampoo (Hydra Pearls is the brand we use) and make sure to rinse well!

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