How to Give Your Pet a Proper Holiday Bath

The holidays are here and everything is in its place. Well, almost. Chances are in the massive to-do checklist you’ve built yourself you overlooked a simple necessity that can make the holidays more pleasant for you and your guests: bathing your pets.

Maybe your cats and dogs love baths or maybe they don’t. Either way, giving them a proper bath can not only make them feel (and smell) better, it can keep their skin healthy and give you a chance to discover any abnormalities you should pay more attention to. Even cats who groom themselves can benefit from a good wash. As always, if you do discover any abnormalities (infections, smelly areas, redness or drying) you should consult your veterinarian.

Here’s how to bathe your pet in time for the holidays!

First, have the right shampoo for the job, which means no human shampoo! If your cat or dog has normal skin (absent itchiness, scaliness, dry patches or greasiness) we recommend a gentle shampoo for normal skin. If you plan on bathing your pet more than once a month, a soap free shampoo (such as Vetoquinol® Aloe and Oatmeal Shampoo) is recommended to clean your pet’s skin without removing their natural skin oils. If your pet has abnormal skin, consult your veterinarian on what type of shampoo is best for them.

Second, choose the right location for the job. Make sure both you and your pet can be comfortable while you bathe them. Having treats on hand (such as Vetoquinol® Pill Wraps) can help with their comfort level and yours, and of course, wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet.

Be sure to help your pet feel secure by placing a towel or rubber lining down to create a nonskid surface for your pet to stand on. You don’t want them slipping and sliding around while you’re bathing them!

Then, use lukewarm water to wet the coat and skin. No one likes water that’s too cold or too hot, especially your pets. If they have less cause for alarm or discomfort, the process will go smoother for both of you.

Rub the shampoo in to clean the skin, and if you’re using medicated shampoo, wear rubber gloves in case your own skin has a reaction to the medication. Some shampoos may be easier to apply if you dilute it in a second bottle first, so check the shampoo instructions before you begin. If you have a shampoo that requires setting for 5-10 minutes before rinsing, distract your pet with a short walk or other activity.

Rinse! If your dog or cat needs extra moisture on their skin, you may want to consider a leave-in conditioner (such as Vetoquinol® Aloe and Oatmeal Conditioner).

After the bath, brush your pet’s coat to confirm you’ve removed all the shampoo. Chances are they’ll enjoy this, too, which will keep them calm and happy. Then dry them with a towel (and give them a little massage), and brush them out one more time. This way, they’ll have a shiny coat free of tangles and knots.

We hope these tips will help you give your pet a bath they’ll love. Happy Holidays!