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Expert Tips and Hilarious Photos: The Best Way to Bathe Your Dog

Washing the dog. It’s simple, right? Well, yes and no. A lot depends on what breed of dog you have, and what your dog’s unique needs are.

Here, we’ve gathered tips to give your dog her best cleaning ever, from the ASPCA, the Humane Society, and the Partnership for Animal Welfare.

And honestly, even if you don’t have a dog, the photos are worth a look!

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  • My dog really hates being bathed and groomed. What can I do to make him happier with the process? 1 of 14
    My dog really hates being bathed and groomed. What can I do to make him happier with the process?
    Groom your pet when he's most relaxed, or a little tuckered out after some exercise. Keep grooming sessions short to start with, but do them regularly so your dog gets used to the routine. Here's a great tip from the ASPCA: you can help her get comfortable by making a habit of petting every single part of her body, including such potentially sensitive areas as the ears, tail, belly, back and feet. And don't forget to pile on the praise and offer her a treat when the session is finished!

    (Photo Credit: 61p)
  • How often does my dog need a bath? 2 of 14
    How often does my dog need a bath?
    It really depends on your dog. As a general rule, the ASPCA recommends bathing your dog about every three months, but dogs who spend a lot of time outside will need to be bathed more frequently.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto))
  • What do I need? 3 of 14
    What do I need?
    Not much! Give your dog a bath wherever it's easiest for you, whether it's the sink, the tub, or a a kiddie pool or whatever. If you don't have a spray hose attachment, plastic pitcher or unbreakable cup is handy for rinsing.

    (Photo Credit: Fork Party)
  • What kind of shampoo should I use? 4 of 14
    What kind of shampoo should I use?
    First of all, NOT human shampoo, says the ASPCA. Human shampoos generally aren't toxic to dogs, but they can contain a lot of ingredients that may be irritating. If you're not sure which shampoo is best for your dog, check with your vet.

    (Photo Credit: TDTS)
  • Uh, now what? 5 of 14
    Uh, now what?
    Before bathing your dog, give him a thorough brushing to get rid of loose hair or mats. Get the dog wet, and then gently massage in shampoo from head to tail. Rinse and repeat if necessary.

    (Photo Credit: lolhome)
  • A note about wrinkly dogs 6 of 14
    A note about wrinkly dogs
    Dogs with loose facial skin or wrinkles, like pugs and shar peis, need special attention. Dirt and bacteria left in their folds can cause irritation and infection. Clean the folds with damp cotton, and be extra-careful to rinse thoroughly. It's also very important to make sure the the areas between the folds are thoroughly dry afterward.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto))
  • Do I need to protect her eyes while bathing? 7 of 14
    Do I need to protect her eyes while bathing?
    Shampoo can be a major irritant to dogs' eyes, and they don't really like even getting plain water in their eyes, either. Some people use lubricating eye drops (ask your vet for those) before bathing to help protect the dog's eyes. You can also use a spray hose or carefully use a cup of water to direct the suds away from the eyes. Alternatively, skip the shampoo on your dog's face altogether, and just use a wet washcloth to wipe away any gunk. Another option, of course, would be Doggles.

    (Photo Credit: Fork Party)
  • Thoroughly rinsing is really important. 8 of 14
    Thoroughly rinsing is really important.
    To avoid itchy skin later, be sure to get allllll the shampoo out with that final rinse.

    (Photo Credit: cutedoggs)
  • Dry your dog. 9 of 14
    Dry your dog.
    Once you're all done, wrap your dog in a big towel to sop up most of the water. Short-coated dogs may enjoy a good rubdown, but if he has long hair, don't rub too much--this will cause tangling.

    (Photo Credit: Field Day)
  • As for hair-styling… 10 of 14
    As for hair-styling...
    Long hair should be blotted or patted dry to avoid tangling. Owners may get the best results with frizzy or long coats with blow-drying. The Partnership for Animal Welfare notes that pet dryers are really the best for use on dog fur. Regular blow-dryers can get too hot for dogs. If you do choose to use your blow-dryer, be sure to only use the low setting.

    (Photo Credit: Fork Party)
  • But most dogs will happy enough to shake it off. 11 of 14
    But most dogs will happy enough to shake it off.
    Generally, though, most dogs don't need much in the way of styling. Let them shake off the water themselves, and allow to air dry in a warm room. If te weather is at all chilly, don't bring him outside until thoroughly dry.

    (Photo Credit: Existential Angst Anonymous)
  • How do I clean my dog’s ears? 12 of 14
    How do I clean my dog's ears?
    Since you're in doggie spa mode, now's a good time to check on your pooch's ears. In fact, if your dog has long or droopy ears, you should check them once a week. The ASPCA recommends placing a little bit of liquid ear cleaner on a clean cotton ball or piece of gauze. Fold your dog's ear back gently, and wipe away any debris or earwax that you can see on the underside of her ear. Lift away the dirt and wax, rather than rubbing it into the ear. And don't try to clean the canal — probing inside your pet's ears can cause trauma or infection.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto))
  • How do I brush my dog’s teeth? 13 of 14
    How do I brush my dog's teeth?
    Get rid of doggy breath and keep your dog's teeth and gums healthy, with regular brushing. If your dog is new to this experience, it's best to work up to it gradually. The ASPCA recommends letting your pet get used to the idea of having her teeth brushed by gently massaging her gums with your fingers. After a few sessions, put a little bit of pet-formulated toothpaste on her lips to get her used to the taste. Next, introduce a toothbrush designed especially for cats or dogs, Finally, apply toothpaste directly to her teeth for a gentle brushing.

    (Photo Credit: Terribly Cute)
  • Time for a manicure? 14 of 14
    Time for a manicure?
    Are your dog's claws out of control? Use sharp, guillotine-type nail clippers to cut off the tip of each nail at a slight angle, just before the point where it begins to curve. Take care to avoid the quick, a vein that runs into the nail. This pink area can be seen through the nail. (Although if your dog has black nails, the quick will be much harder to see.) If you do accidentally cut into the quick, it may bleed, in which case you can apply some styptic powder to stop the bleeding. Once the nails have been cut, use an emery board to smooth any rough edges.

    (Photo Credit: Pets Welcome)

Read more from Joslyn at Strollerderby and at her blog, stark. raving. mad. mommy. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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