Valéas (customer-submitted photograph)

The river maybe your dog bath, but inevitably there will come a time when a river dip doesn’t cut through the stench—be it skunk, dirt, scat, or carcass…all those wonderful things dogs find themselves rolling in!

When bath time does approach, you may find it difficult to coax your dog into the shower (Labs and Goldens excluded).  Here are few tips for a successful anti-stench dip:

1.  Start by brushing your dog to remove loose and matted hair.  This will also help remove crud, debris, tangles, and part of the tree your dog launched himself into full-speed.  Brushing ahead of time will make for easier washing and post-bath brushing.  Use a clipper or scissors to combat serious crud.

2.  Get all machinery for combat ready beforehand.  This means towels (lots of them), suds, brush, earplugs, and buckets. Because dogs have a different PH than humans, it is recommended to use actual dog shampoo for cleansing.  Plus, they often contain ingredients that help combat fleas, ticks, and stink.

3.  Shut the door.  Seriously, don’t forget to shut the door.

4.  Lather the fur with water.  A spray attachment is really handy for this, but not necessary.  A large cup or bucket also works.  For double-coated dogs, it helps to brush the hair back against the grain and then run water over them.

customer-submitted photograph

5.  Let the games begin.  Put a generous amount of shampoo on your hand and begin lathering.  If both hands are being used to restrain the dog, yell for your partner to hurry up and give you a hand.  Then make sure they close the door behind them.

6.  Pay careful attention to the real stink offenders—that would be in between the digits (toes), leg pits, and the unmentionables…on second thought, you can hire a professional for that part.

7.  Rinse cycle.  Make sure to give your dog a good rinsing because soap residue can irritate dog skin.  Residue is also a magnet for more dirt because it counters a dog’s natural oils, which prevent dirt from sticking.

8.  The inevitable shake.  You can try to wait for it to happen while the dog is still in the bath, however, that is no fun for Rover, so he will most likely wait until he is out the bath and as close to you as possible to shake.  Hopefully you remembered your snorkel.

9.  Towel off the remaining moisture and keep your dog out of the draft until fully dry.  Most likely, he will beg to go outside to “potty” right after a bath, but this is just a ploy.  He really wants to go roll in the dirt to cover up the smell of vanilla with scat.

10.  Clean up.  Bathroom cleanup after washing a dog takes almost as much time as the actual bath.  You will probably have to take a plunger to the drain to loosen up the mass of dog fur, then towel down the walls, and Clorox the tub.