One of the biggest challenges most pet parents face is grooming their furry baby. While with dogs, it’s usually a bit easier to bathe them, clean their teeth, and clip their nails, cat parents are often pretty desperate and tempted to give up because cats strongly believe that they are well-groomed as it is, they know better what they need, and being shampooed is beneath their dignity. Therefore, we decided to share our tips and tricks with you to make bathing your pet if not easy, then at least a lot easier for you.
In general, whenever you are planning to bathe your pet, it’s advisable to pre-plan it in advance to make the process as stress-free for you and your baby as possible:
Choose the time of the day when they tend to be at their calmest – for instance, when your cat tends to sleep, or your dog has just come from a long walk and is very tired;
Make sure it is a positive experience for them as give them their favorite treat afterward to associate the process with something yummy at the end;
Consider giving them hemp oil half an hour before you plan to groom them – it is a very effective natural anti-anxiety ingredient that’s available on Amazon and in pet stores.
Please always remember to use a pet shampoo because human shampoos are not designed for pet PH and can cause strong allergic reactions and worsen your pet’s pre-existing conditions. If your pet has a long coat, we recommend that you also use a conditioner so that it’s much easier to brush them afterward. Pre-brush your pet before bathing them to remove any tangles from their coat. Always use lukewarm water, never warm, hot, or cold water.
Prepare your kitty’s shampoo, conditioner, and towels in advance. Talk to them in a calming, reassuring voice throughout the process. Prepare their favorite treats to reward them immediately after they got through the process. Stay calm at all times – cats can feel your stress, fear, and anxiety, which is why most of them hate being bathed because they get infected by your anxiety about it. This is also the reason why many cats allow professional groomers to wash them without any protest – the groomers do it as a matter-of-fact, which reassures the cat that it’s a normal thing to do and is not something to be feared. Please don’t use anti-scratch silicone boots or grooming bags. Cats hate them and will start resenting you, which will damage your relationship with your kitty.
Most cat parents think for some reason that cats hate water, which is not true. They hate being forced into anything, including bathing, and this is the main reason why they refuse to participate willingly. Please bear in mind that cats do not need to be bathed as they are grooming themselves, and there is no reason to shampoo your kitty unless they are an outdoor cat and came home smelling and looking like hell. We tried about 20 different methods with our cats, and here is the easiest way to bathe your kitty:
Get your beachwear on, gently take your kitty, walk with him/her into your shower cabin, close the door, and let them go. Because they are not being contained and can roam free in the shower cabin, they don’t mind being washed that much. Use your shower head to soak them while they are walking around, then shampoo them pretending that you are petting them, and then rinse them while they are pacing around the cabin. Wrap them into a pre-warmed tower (ask a friend or a family member to put it in the microwave for 2 minutes) and hug them for 30 seconds to allow the towel to absorb water. Give them a treat and let them go. Sorted!
Remember to prepare towels, shampoo, and conditioner in advance so that you don’t get caught out missing something once you get your dog into the bathroom. Spread out the largest towel you can find on your carpet because this is where your dog will be heading as soon as they are released from the bathroom. It’s much easier to wash your dog in a shower cabin or a bathtub with a shower curtain because they tend to shake off the water and the shampoo in-between and the shower curtain/shower cabin wall will help you to contain ‘the damage.’ Use an attachment hose and sprayer to avoid using a pitcher if you don’t have a handheld shower head with a long hose where you are bathing your dog.
Put an old towel at the bottom of the shower cabin or bathtub to give your dog some grip because when they start to slip, many dogs begin to panic. Start washing your dog from the neck down, and wash their head last because they are most sensitive around their head and are unlikely to be willing to cooperate if you start with their head. Make sure you don’t get any water in their ears. If your dog hates being bathed, use a Lick Lick Pad to distract them while they are being washed – most dogs love them and over time grow to associate bath time with being able to enjoy their Lick Lick Pad, which really helps! Alternatively, use the peanut butter life hack (but make sure that your dog is not allergic to nuts first).
Towel dry your dog, give them their favorite treat. Let them enjoy rubbing themselves against your carpet, furniture, and the towel you prepared before washing them, and then play with them to reinforce the idea that bathing is a fun thing to do and comes with many perks. We do not recommend blow-drying your dog’s coat – heat damages not only human hair but also your dog’s coat, and most dogs don’t like being blow-dried.