One of the most common questions dog owners have is: do you bathe a dog before grooming? We had this question once and asked a local groomer about it. The answer was not what I had expected, especially after taking care of dogs for 20+ years. Keep reading to learn more about whether or not you should bathe a dog before grooming.
Do You Bathe a Dog Before Grooming?
When you ask groomers the question: Do you bathe a dog before grooming? the answers conflict.
Those who recommend bathing before grooming base their opinion on these factors:
- Grooming a dirty dog clogs the clippers as debris becomes stuck in them.
- Dead hair can be easily washed away, which can cut down on grooming time.
- The finished look can be seen after the dog has been bathed.
Professional groomers who swear by NOT bathing a dog before grooming say this:
- Bathing a dog with matting or knots will make grooming more difficult because the mats and knots become tighter during the bathing process.
- It’s easier to wash a dog’s hair when there aren’t debris, mat, and knots in the way.
- Bath time can cause intense anxiety in some dogs, especially those who hate water, and that can make grooming more difficult.
Factors Influencing Whether You Bathe a Dog Before Grooming
When answering the question do you bathe a dog before grooming, consider the following factors:
Coat type can influence whether to bathe a dog before or after grooming. Short-haired dogs may not have the issue of having a lot of debris, mat, and knots so bath time before grooming is okay.
Long vs. Short Hair
Long-haired dogs need a bit more work with the fur, so grooming before the bath may be a good idea.
Skin irritation is a consideration. Some dogs may not be able to have a bath as often as others because of skin irritation due to the dog’s skin being naturally (lack of natural oils) dry or having a sensitivity to dog shampoo. Grooming without a bath may be a good idea for those dogs versus dogs who can handle more frequent baths.
Tip: Never bathe your dog with human shampoo. Shampoo for humans contains chemicals that can lead to skin problems for many dogs, as their skin is different. Always use dog shampoo.
You may also want to know about using baby wipes on your dog if you’ve used them before. Click here: Are Baby Wipes Safe For Dogs?
What Is Included in “Grooming”
When many people think about “grooming” they may only think about cutting a dog’s fur. That’s not the only thing that’s included, though. The following is what should be done during each grooming session:
- Clean the dog’s ears with a cotton ball.
- Wipe the dog’s eyes, which can help with that rust color that can be seen on many light-colored dogs.
- Gently clean the dog’s face.
- Brush your dog’s teeth.
- Clip the dog’s nails with nail clippers.
- Brush the dog’s coat to remove loose hair, knots, and matting.
Dog owners who choose to groom their dog before a bath may find themselves performing mini-grooming afterward to take care of anything that was missed or needed after time in the water. For example, water can get into the ear canal, so wiping the ear with a cotton ball again to remove as much water as possible is important to avoid infection. Learn More: Dog Shaking Head After Grooming
Using nail clippers may be easier on damp nails as they will be softer and easier to clip. Some dogs, such as Pitbulls, have very thick and strong nails so it may be easier to clip them after the bath.
Applying products to help with skin problems may mean brushing the pet’s coat again even though you may have done it before the bath.
Grooming After Bath Time – Wet or Dry?
Pet owners who decide to groom after bath time may ask if they should do it when their pup is dry or wet. Again, the answer depends on coat type. Short-haired dogs may not need much drying, so starting the grooming process while wet can work since by the time the pet’s coat is ready to be brushed, it’s already dry.
Longer coats, especially on large dogs, may be better dried with a blow dryer before grooming begins. This doesn’t mean the other grooming tasks can’t be completed before drying, such as brushing the dog’s teeth, clipping nails, cleaning ears and eyes, etc.
Dog Owners – Get Ready to Bathe and Groom or Groom and Bathe
Now that you have a good idea of whether you should bathe your dog before or after grooming, get to it. While you could have a professional groomer take care of this job, spending quality time with your pup with at-home grooming may be a better idea. This is especially true of dogs who may not enjoy baths or grooming. Being in a familiar place, like at home, may make it easier for your fur baby.
Since you’re grooming your dog, you may want to consider these products to make it much easier for you and your pup.
Bissell Bark Bath Dual– Wash your dog without a tub!
Dog Vacuum Brush – Brush and clip your dog’s fur with a vacuum that collects 99% of the fur.
Dirty Dog Shammy Towel– Dry your dog faster with the Shammy for dogs!
HolistaPet Hemp Shampoo – Calm and relaxing for your pup’s anxiety and skin.