“Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend, has never owned a dog.”
Pet owners have it right. What makes a pet the greatest thing of all time?
- More time outdoors
- A bit of adulting
- Lots of love and fun
- Pet owner communities to be part of
- Creating a family with your fur baby
- Having a canine best friend to unconditionally love you
Your fur baby will quickly become your number one. You will want to be up to speed on the best way to bath and pamper your new puppy or dog. So let’s chat about bathing and washing under the collar, ‘free’ shampoos and products for travelling.
Yep, most dogs love water and bath time, but as a new puppy life can be a bit daunting. Even splashing in puddles, let alone a tub full of water can cause apprehension. So, first build trust. This could include letting your pup sniff or pounce on your grooming tools, hear the bath run or stand in the empty bath. Make sure your pet is all loved up at these times, more than normal. Is that even possible? This might take minutes for your fur baby to be ok with you bathing them or perhaps days of trying. Try and keep calm if it’s not as quick as you hoped. If your fur baby gets distressed ease up and try again at another time. Starting early is key to ensuring your fur baby is happy to be bathed and groomed for many years to come!
- Brush your pet all over to remove any dirt, dust or matted fur*
- Check for ticks and fleas
- Ticks – rub your hands slowly over your pet’s body taking special care between toes and behind ears feeling for any little bumps
- Fleas –Look for the crawling or jumping little brown critters especially around the tummy as fleas like hiding in the warm spots. Spread your pups fur to check the skin on other areas.
- Collect all your grooming and bathing equipment
- bath or tub
- cup to pour water or spray nozzle attachment – for easy and quick rinsing
- several towels – at least one for you, one for the floor and one for your pup
- cloth for face washing
- hair drier if desired (but not all pets need a hair drier to be used, or like one)
- Wear clothes you are ok to get wet
- Gather up your calm and patience
- Find a quiet place for bathing, preferably a room with a door that can close
- Avoid eyes and ears using a warm cloth instead
- Wet pup before lathering with shampoo
- Rinse before using conditioner if you are using one
- Ensure your final rinse is very thorough
- Wipe over puppy’s face with a warm cloth to avoid any shampoo and water going in your puppy’s ear and eyes
- Dry your puppy well to avoid moist fur, especially around the collar area, causing skin irritation
- Clean pup’s ears gently with a cotton ball ensuring it’s not inserted into the ear
- Spritz puppy if desired
- Lastly, enjoy a treat, a play and snuggle time
* CAUTION – Your puppy has very thin soft skin so you mustn’t be tempted to use scissors to snip off any stubborn matted spots in the coat. If this is not going to be the job of your groomer then you can invest in a pair of animal clippers. This will avoid injury to your puppy and punctured enthusiasm at brushing/bath time.
Shampoo and conditioner | Spritzer | Cotton balls | Any medicated treatment products such as flea rinses
Washing around the collar
The collar area can be an extra challenge if the coat has become very soiled or matted here. This area will need attention as well as your furry friend. If your dog is off to the Groomer, change to a clean collar before he goes. Soak and give both sides of the collar a good scrub to remove dirt and oils. Some collars may be machine washable. When purchasing collars, keep the cleaning method in mind.
As collars come in all different materials, check out the best way to clean your pet’s collar here.
Traveling with your pet – wipes and spritzer
Frequent bathing might not be easy while you are on the move with your furry friend, travelling or exploring or staying with friends. But brushing is vital. You could try using corn starch to help loosen any matted spots if you have a longer haired dog. Or a spritzer de-tangler will make the task much more pleasant. Spritzers are also great for short-haired dogs to cleanse their fur and give them a refresher. Choose a puppy specific spritzer if your fur baby is still young. Another option is pet wipes. A two-in-one cleaning and moisturising wipe is a great option for messy pups on day trips or holiday travel.
Can I use baby shampoo on my puppy, how about conditioner and do we need “everything free” products?
These are questions we often get asked. First of all, we definitely recommend only using products formulated for pets.
Shampoo for Puppies
While your fur baby is young, choosing a shampoo formulated for puppies is ideal. Puppies have very delicate skin. Exposure to unsuitable ingredients is detrimental for the maintenance of the skin’s healthy pH balance. Unbalanced skin pH could begin to create a lifetime of skin problems.
Puppy shampoos support skin health while cleansing and conditioning the coat. This avoids compromised dry skin, prone to sores and bacterial infections.
A great choice is Fido’s puppy and kitten shampoo. This product is specially formulated to use on puppies, kittens and small domestic pets. With a unique soap-free hypoallergenic formulation, it washes your pet without stripping the oils from the coat. The best part; it leaves your pet with a gorgeous lingering, baby powder fragrance.
Shampoo for Dogs
Once your fur baby has grown, there is a wide range of shampoos to choose from targeting different needs:
- Brightening white coats
- for frequent washing
- to repel insects and fleas
- for medicated skin conditioners or
- with a variety of herbal and other refreshing fragrances
Conditioners are great for replacing any moisture and natural oils lost from your pet’s skin and coat. Most dogs love a gentle massage so adding a minute to apply conditioner and massage your pet is a great idea. If you choose not to condition, then it’s extra important that you select a non-drying soap-free shampoo with gentle surfactants. More about this next.
As I’m sure you have noticed, the “free” revolution is in full force. And sometimes it gets pretty poor publicity in the media. Gluten-free, additives free, cruelty-free to name a few, are labelled mere fads. If you are reading this you probably want to make it your business to be woke, especially where your pet is concerned. So, let’s investigate a few “frees” pertinent to your furry friend.
This means not containing soap. Soap is one of the earliest developed surfactants.
Soap = fats (animal or vegetable) + water + lye (sodium hydroxide, a strong alkaline solution).
Soap promotes removing dirt, dust and grease. Great for a dirty pet in theory, but it can also leave your dog with very dry skin. Dry skin can lead to an oil overproduction as the skin tries to compensate for lost oils. This is an undesirable cycle to encourage with a puppy. Excessive oils can create unpleasant odours and dry compromised skin is prone to dermatitis and parasites. So, soap-free is a good “fad” to buy into to keep your puppy’s skin healthy. Modern and gentle surfactants are available nowadays. Try a high-quality soap-free shampoo that’s effective and safe for your puppy or dog.
Cruelty-free labelling means ingredients or components of a product are not tested on animals. Human Society explains the European Union began paving the way against animal testing for cosmetics in 2013. They banned animals testing and the marketing of cosmetics tested on animals. Since the following countries have passed similar laws, to ban or limit cosmetic animal testing:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- several states in Brazil
The USA as a whole is yet to follow suit. Cosmetic companies in the United States that test on animals cannot legally sell their products in any of the above-listed countries.
You can do your part to contribute to promoting cruelty-free if you want to. Avoid products made in China. Here legislation still supports mandatory animal testing. Also avoid products produced elsewhere that still test on animals by choice. To learn more about supporting cruelty-free check out Cruelty-Free International.
Paraben-free refers to the absence of Paraben. Paraben is a preservative used to extend the shelf life of a product. It minimises the growth of bacteria, mould and yeast. Used in many pet and human pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, it’s also in processed foods such as beer and in one study, red wine topped the list!
There is widespread discussion on the safety of parabens and how much needs to be ingested or absorbed before it may disrupt hormone function. Literature particularly associates parabens with cancer and reproductive toxicity. As humans and pets have unique bodies and circumstances, it is hard to quantifying toxicity levels. Awareness is always beneficial though. So where possible choose products with gentler preservatives.
Fragrance-free products are free from artificial and natural fragrances. This is often chosen to minimise skin or sensory irritation. Sometimes fragrances per se irritate animals or humans. For other people, natural fragrances are preferred over artificial ones. Natural fragrances often come from herbal formulas or essential oils. A popular oil for pet grooming products is tea tree oil. This oil has a fresh fragrance and helps to repel insects when your pup is frolicking in the grass.
Your pet will thank you
There’s lots to take in about adulting with a pet! With a one-step-at-a-time approach and all that love you have for your pet, your efforts will surely be returned with plenty of puppy love, wet kisses and energetic tail wags.