If your dog is dirty, he will need to be bathed. If he is a light-colored or white dog, he will need to see the inside of the bathtub or kitchen sink often. During flea and tick season, he may also need frequent insecticide baths. Longhaired dogs usually need regular baths to get rid of "doggy" odor. Many Terriers and shorthaired dogs only need to be bathed a couple times a month. Where you bathe your dog depends on his size. Small dogs can be bathed in the kitchen sink. Large dogs will need to be bathed in the bathtub.

Bath Equipment:

1. Rubber mat or large towel (for dog to stand on in tub or sink)
2. Shampoo
3. Flea shampoo (optional)
4. Small bucket (large dogs)
5. Sponge
6. Cotton balls
7. Wide toothed plastic brush (thick coated dogs)
8. Big towels
9. People hair dryer or canine dryer (free-standing preferred)

Before beginning, always brush and comb your dog thoroughly to eliminate dead hair, knots and mats. Have all the necessary products and towels ready before you put your dog in the tub. Clean your dog's ears if necessary and place a small ball of cotton in the ears to soak up any water accidentally entering the ear canal (a common cause of infection). Place a rubber mat or towel on the bottom of the sink or bathtub. A hand-held rubber spray attached to your faucet is very helpful for managing the water.

Dogs with thick fur need to be completely wet to the skin before applying shampoo. Some dogs have an oily coating on their fur that makes it waterproof. A good quality dish detergent will eliminate this oily coating and let the shampoo (and conditioner, if used) penetrate.

Large dogs with thick double coats can easily take an hour to bathe. A raised tub makes this process easier. Although it is especially important with large dogs, all dogs should learn to tolerate bathing as puppies. They need to get used to having hands all over their bodies and to remain willingly in the tub until the final rinse is complete. While bathing a large dog, have ready the needed quantity of shampoo in a small bucket, diluted with warm water. Use a sponge to apply the shampoo mixture to your dog's coat. For smaller dogs, apply dabs of shampoo to the back, each leg and under the tail. Work up a good lather down to the skin, proceeding from back to front. Take special care to clean the anal area and paw pads.

Unless the dog has fleas, start wetting him down, rear end first and work toward the head. Pay special attention to the anal area. (If your dog has fleas, however, wet and wash the head with a dog insecticide shampoo first, taking great care to avoid the eyes.) Make sure he is completely soaked before proceeding.

Wash your dog's face with a washcloth and baby "tearless" shampoo, taking great care to avoid the eyes. Tip the head up to rinse. Rinse every part of your dog's body until all traces of soap are gone and the water runs perfectly clear. This step is very important because any remaining residue will irritate your dog's skin and make the coat dull and also prone to infections.

At this point, you may add a conditioner. A handful is sufficient for a Golden Retriever sized dog. Work it into the coat and leave on for a minute or two. At this time, any minor knots can be relaxed with a little extra conditioner. Very scrupulously rinse away any remaining traces of conditioner. And then dry him.

If your dog is short coated, you can rub the coat to absorb excess moisture. However, longhaired dogs should have their coats squeezed, not rubbed, to avoid tangles. Use as many towels as are needed to get your dog to the "damp-dry" stage.

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