How to Groom Your Dog Before a Bath

Easy
5 - 10 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

So you're going to bathe your dog. Why waste your time brushing him first? He's just going to get wet.

It turns out that grooming your dog prior to a bath is actually very useful and important. Removing excess dirt, debris, and dead hair prior to the bath prevents exposure to contaminants to areas of the body, such as eyes and genitals, from runoff bath water that can contain bacteria. Also, matted or tangled hair that gets wet becomes an irredeemable mess that cannot be worked out and will need to be cut out with scissors. While fur is dry there is a chance you can work out a snarl or two before bathing! Also, grooming tasks such as nail trimming and excess hair removal can be performed prior to bathing when your dog is still fresh and less likely to object because he has lost patience with the process!

Dog's Perspective

Grooming before a bath can be relaxing for your dog, if he likes a good brushing. If your dog is stressed by grooming, then you may want to break up pre-bath grooming and bathing into two stages, with a break in between to let your dog recover. What works best varies for each individual dog, so know your pup and whether he needs the process broken up or is just a diva that loves an extended spa day!

The Routine Pre-bath Groom Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Dematter
Clipper
Step
1
Brush
Brush out your dog's coat to remove dirt and debris and distribute oils prior to a bath.
Step
2
Untangle knots
Remove any knots or tangles with your fingers and comb out. Separate hair down to the skin to locate and remove any tangles in the undercoat.
Step
3
Remove mats
Scissor out or use a de-matting tool to remove stubborn mats that will become unmanageable during bathing.
Step
4
Trim nails
Trim your dog's nails carefully. Watch for quick of nail. Use a styptic if any bleeding occurs and make sure bleeding stops before bathing.
Step
5
Remove contaminants
Clean your dog's backside with a damp cloth to remove any feces present and remove bacteria that can cause contamination during bathing.
Recommend grooming method?

The Thorough Brushing Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Pin Brush
Dematter
Comb
Step
1
Spray detangler
If you have a long haired dog or a dog with a thick undercoat, apply a detangler spray prior to brushing to condition hair and aid in brushing.
Step
2
Part hair
Part hair and remove loose hair and debris with a slicker brush or pin brush prior to bathing. Get right down to the skin.
Step
3
Work in sections
Work in sections to brush out fur and any tangles and mats all over the body, abdomen, legs, backside and face.
Step
4
Remove debris
For thick coats brush against the grain, working outward to remove hair and debris, then with the grain to smooth the coat.
Step
5
Remove mats
Use a comb and fingers to work out any tangles and thoroughly work through hair. Remove mats with de-matting tool or scissors when necessary.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Knots in your dog's hair will become unmanageable when wet. Brush them out, use a de-matter, or scissor them out prior to bathing.
  • Remove as much debris and bacteria from your dog as possible prior to bathing to prevent contamination of delicate areas during bathing.
  • Make sure your dog does not become frustrated by long grooming sessions prior to bathing. Take a break if necessary.
  • Ensure you have the right tools and supplies available prior to grooming to cut down on time so you and your dog do not lose patience with the process.

Conclusion

It may sound counterintuitive to groom your dog before you bathe him, after all, he is just going to get wet anyway! Grooming prior to a bath actually is very productive as it removes excess dirt and hair that can just tangle up during the bathing process. Make sure to take breaks, especially if you have a long-haired dog that will need a long time to brush out and bathe, so that you both don't get tired and impatient with bath day.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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