Bathing Your Pets: How to Get – and Keep – Them Clean

Pet owners expect the unexpected, which usually comes with a big mess. Your dog tries to make friends with that black-and-white “kitty;” your cat comes back full of pine pitch; your kid decides to pour orange juice over her furry friend.

Occasional baths are a necessity, although not universally loved by all pets. How can you ensure bath time is a success and everyone is clean and happy?

Bathing Your Pet

Assuming your pet tolerates baths—a big assumption!—the steps are very similar for cats and dogs:

  • Select a good shampoo. Choose one without harsh chemicals, which can irritate your pet’s skin. Nontoxic, biodegradable ingredients, such as oatmeal, tea tree oil, and aloe vera, clean without harming your pet’s sensitive skin.
  • Get your supplies ready. The worst time to wonder, “Where’s the shampoo?” is when your cat or dog is wet and trying to escape! Have shampoo, towels, and an empty pitcher or container ready.
  • Prepare your workspace. Bathtubs and sinks work well. If it’s warm enough, you can wash dogs outside (cats will escape!). Cats may feel more secure in a smaller sink or container.Dog owners: many vets recommend putting a towel down on the bottom of the tub so he will feel more secure. This may relieve some of the anxiety.
  • Brush your pet. In addition to loose or matted fur, cats and dogs pick up a lot of debris in the course of their days. Also, use this opportunity to look for ticks and to soothe your pet.Cat owners, bad news: your cat is probably not going to like this bath business one bit. The ASPCA recommends trimming and clipping his/her nails before baths.
  • Gently put the dog or cat into the sink or tub. Speak to your pet in soothing tones, and keep the experience calm. Wet him down with lukewarm water, and work the shampoo in from head to tail, working quickly.Cat owners, position your pet so his hind end is facing you, and hold on to the scruff of his neck. This reduces the risk of scratches.
  • Rinse. Drain the sudsy water. If you have a hose attachment on your tub or sink, use that to gently rinse your pet off. Otherwise, use an empty container. Keep rinsing until the shampoo is gone, and then towel dry your pet thoroughly. Make sure to avoid getting shampoo/water in their ears.
  • Praise and treats! Reward that dog or cat—and yourself!

Well, that was easy. What happens when you have pets who object to bath time—with their claws or teeth? Here are some tips to help:

  • Enlist a helper. This person can soothe while you clean and help keep apprehensive pets in the bath.
  • Get into a routine. If you have kittens or puppies, get them used to the routine as soon as it is safe to bathe them. That way, they won’t fear the situation—and they’ll know they get a treat afterwards.
  • Choose your timing. When is your pet most mellow? A good walk or a play session can help relax them before the big event.

Keeping Clean In Between Baths

To ensure your pets stay clean between baths, choose a nontoxic, biodegradable enzymatic cleaner. The enzymes break down organic matter—like leaves, sticks, debris, and other goodies your pets pick up. Look for a product with Ordenone. These molecules capture malodors in a bubble, while the enzymes eliminate them completely. Smell that? That’s a fresh pet!

Pet-safe products can be used directly on your cat or dog. To eliminate odor, simply spray it on and leave it. To remove dander and do a quick clean, spray and then wipe with a towel.

Why not keep your house clean at the same time? Use this enzymatic cleaner on carpets, upholstery, doggie and kitty bedding and clothing to remove stains, attack messes, and eliminate odors.

A clean house and clean pets? That’s one thing pet owners never expected! It’s possible with occasional bathing and an enzymatic pet product for the times in between.