How to Wash a Long Haired Dog

Medium
15 - 30 Minutes
3 Months

Introduction

No one truly looks forward to giving their long-haired pooch a bath. The good news about this is that most long-haired dogs like Fabio rarely need to be bathed more than a couple of times a year. Be sure to check with your vet to see how often you should be bathing Fabio. Keep in mind, bathing him too frequently will strip his skin and coat of the natural oils they need to remain healthy. Of course, no one ever said bathing a long-haired dog was going to be easy. There will be tangles and mats to deal with, along with a heavy accumulation of dirt. That all has to be removed, making the job that much more challenging. 

Dog's Perspective

Being brushed is the last thing your dog Fabio wants to deal with. That is with the exception of being bathed. But, when you put the two of them together, he is really not going to be very happy with you. No matter what Fabio thinks, you must get the mats out of his coat. Leaving them in can lead to serious skin sores and infection as they continue to rub his skin raw. 

The Perfect Bath Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Pin Brush
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
To the Brush
As with any type of grooming, the first step is to use a pin brush to go through Fabio's coat. This is to remove tangles, loose hair, dirt, debris, and anything else hiding in all that hair. If necessary, cut out any major mats. This is also a good time to check him over for fleas and ticks.
Step
2
Prepare the tub
Place a rubber mat in the bottom of the tub to keep Fabio from slipping. Run a few inches of tepid water in the tub. Lay all the items you plan to use out where they are handy and make sure you are wearing clothes you don't mind getting wet in, as you are going to be soaked by the time you are done.
Step
3
Rinsing down
Put Fabio in the tub and use a detachable shower head, pitcher, or a spray attachment to soak his coat thoroughly all the way down to skin level. Take care not to spray the water directly in his face.
Step
4
Scrub time
Using a vet-approved shampoo and working from the top of his head down the body, scrub the shampoo thoroughly into his coat. Take care not to get shampoo in his ears, eyes, mouth, or nose. Rinse thoroughly, using your fingers to ensure you have removed all traces of the shampoo.
Step
5
Add the conditioner
Using a small amount of dog hair conditioner at a time, work the conditioner into his coat. Rinse thoroughly again to remove any excess. Dry Fabio's coat using a blow dryer set on low or use a towel to blot him dry. Do not rub with the towel as this will only tangle his coat. Finish up by using a pin brush to remove any tangles and a slicker brush to put on the finishing touches.
Recommend grooming method?

The Well-Prepared Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Pin Brush
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Gather your supplies
You need the following: vet-approved dog shampoo and conditioner, a pin brush, a rubber bath mat, a detachable shower head/spray attachment/pitcher, and a washcloth. You will also need some soft towels, a blow dryer, and some cotton balls to keep water out of Fabio's ears.
Step
2
Prepare Fabio
Grab Fabio's brush and give him a thorough tip to tail brushing. This will help remove debris hiding in his coat, along with tangles and minor mats. In most cases, it is easier to get the mats out while his hair is dry unless they are severe, in which case you may need them to be wet so you can work them out with your fingers.
Step
3
Prep the bathroom
Place a rubber safety mat in the tub and fill it to a depth that should be up to Fabio's knees when he stands in it. Bring Fabio in and close the door. Use the cotton balls to plug his ears and keep the water and soap out while you are bathing him. Then have him get in the tub or, if necessary, pick him up and put him in the water.
Step
4
Time to groom
Using the vet-approved shampoo, start by gently scrubbing the top of his head and then working the shampoo into his coat. Move from front to back and don't forget his belly, chest, and both the inside and outside of his legs. Make sure you scrub the shampoo all the way down to his skin. This will help clean his skin, which needs to be scrubbed just like his coat. This is a great time to look for fleas and ticks.
Step
5
Rinse, dry, and finish
Using washcloth and a small amount of the shampoo, gently wash Fabio's face, ear flaps, and under his chin. Then, using the detachable shower head, rinse every inch of him thoroughly, you cannot leave any shampoo residue as this may cause skin irritation. Using a soft towel, pat him dry, but do not rub as this will tangle his freshly washed hair. You can also use a blow dryer set on low if Fabio will let you. Go over him again with his brush and you are all done.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Brushing Fabio's coat daily will help keep it from becoming tangled or matted. You may want to make this a regular routine in order to cut down on the maintenance you will have to do on mats later. 
  • Check with your vet to see how often you should be bathing Fabio. Over-bathing him can lead to dry skin problems. 
  • Never use any product intended for use by humans as they contain ingredients that may be harmful to your dog.
  • Use cotton balls to block your dog's ear canals and keep out the water but do not shove them too far into the ear as they can get stuck or leave cotton debris behind.
  • If necessary, you can use petroleum jelly to protect Fabio's eyes. A small amount will provide adequate protection. 
  • Have everything you need at hand before you start, this way you don't have to leave Fabio alone in the tub.
  • If Fabio likes to struggle at bath time, try taking him for a long walk first to get rid of any excess energy. 

Conclusion

Bathing a dog with long hair can be quite challenging. The best thing you can do to make it easier for both of you is to keep his coat brushed on a daily basis. Not only will this help keep tangles and mats from happening, it helps to remove debris rather than letting it build up. Take your time! There's no reason to rush and Fabio will learn to appreciate bath time with enough care and patience. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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