Turning Bath Time into Play Time

Categories: Pet Health

Terrier in a bath tub covered in bubbles

Spring Cleaning for your Pet!

As it turns out, spring showers make more than just beautiful flowers. All this wet ground means there are plenty of mud puddles around for your pet to end up in. There's only one solution to a muddy dog or cat, and that's a good old fashioned bath! There’s one issue… your pet can’t stand bath time. You know they will either bolt for the door, or turn your arm into their new favorite claw post. Whether you’re caring for a dog or cat there are some simple steps that you can take for a more enjoyable bath time.

Plan Ahead

Planning your bath time battle strategy ahead of time can help take some of the stress off of both you and your pet. Here are some tactics you can use to aid in your strategy:

  1. Start while They're Young -
    As we've discussed in our Puppy and Kitten care posts, socialization and exposure at the early stages of life is the easiest way to make your pet comfortable with bath time as they grow older. If you have the opportunity to expose your pet to the bathtub at a young age, do so! Check out our socialization tips for puppies and kittens for more information.
  2. A Well Deserved Treat -
    If you read our Busting Bad Behavior series, you already know that food is the number one motivator for both dogs and cats. Be sure to have your pet's favorite treats on hand, to reward them for good behavior. Other "treats", such as toys and good old-fashioned praise, are also great ways to teach your pet that bath time means fun time!
  3. Wear Them Out -
    Just like children, both cats and dogs are easier to bathe when they're tuckered out after a long day of play, so break out the tennis balls and kitty wands and have fun!
  4. Rush Less, Enjoy More -
    Our pets are more preceptive than we think, and if you are stressed out about bath time, so will your pet. So take your time and relax!
  5. Enlist the Help of a Friend -
    Two heads are better than one, especially if your pet can be a bit too much for you to handle on your own. If your friend is also a pet owner, invite them over for a pet spa day! After all, helping each other out is what friends are for.
  6. Strategic Scrubbing -
    Make the most out of your time in the tub by attacking problem areas first. Generally, the dirtiest parts of your pet will be their paws, belly, and private areas. From there, you'll want to work your way up their body, saving the head for last. When it comes to rinsing off, however, you'll want to start with the head, to make sure no extra soap drips into their eyes while you're working elsewhere.

Hit the Showers

Once you've got your plan of action ready, it's time to get down to business! Make sure the bathroom is prepped and ready to go before you start. Spread some towels on the floor to catch any splashed water, and make sure that you have your soap and a few extra towels ready to go. If you plan on using toys or treats to reward your pet during the bath, now is a good time to make sure you have them in the bathroom and ready to go. To start, go ahead and get a few inches of warm water in the tub, just enough to get your pets feet wet. Once your pet is in the tub, and they've had some time to get used to the water, you can add more as needed. During bath time, your pet will probably be a bit slippery and hard to restrain. If your pet acts up, remain calm and use one of your extra towels on hand to help with your grip. Of course, if your pet is too big to use a bathtub, you can use these same concepts to bathe your pet outside. Just be sure to use a kiddy pool or hard, clean surface, so your pet doesn't immediately undo all your hard work.

Shake it Off

Success! You’ve completed the hard part now it’s time to dry off. For easy drying, you'll want to grab those extra towels you brought with you. For dogs, use one to throw over them when the inevitable shake-a-thon happens, then a couple more towels to finish the job. Cat owners may find it easier to swaddle their grumpy little fur ball in one towel, then use your extras to finish the job. After that, you're all done! Be sure to enjoy your pets soft, freshly shampooed fur while it lasts!

We'd love to see your bath time photos! Share them with us on facebook, and your pet could be spotlighted on our page!