For many people, a dog is more than a pet – it is family, and as a family dog bathe is always a challenge! Dogs are loyal to their masters and are great companions.
While they are boisterous and energetic when they are young, it’s a different story when they age. Just like human beings, when they get old, dogs also need a lot of tender loving care when old age creeps in. They often face the same challenges that old age brings to every living thing, so it’s up to us to love and care for them.
Besides feeding your elderly dog and ensuring they get enough exercise and rest, you must make sure they stay clean. It means taking the dog for grooming regularly and also bathing it every time it gets too smelly. Washing your dog ensures that it maintains a healthy coat of fur, the skin does not get infected and you get rid of any pests hanging on to it.
Bathing your elderly dog will also help get rid of the stink they carry along with them when they don’t wash for a long time.
An elderly dog is full-grown and depending on how big they grow, it can be cumbersome to get them under the water. However, some do love water, so it’s easy to get them started, but others just hate getting wet and so you have to deal with your dog according to its temperament.
Bath routine for your dog
Do it on schedule
Regardless of the size and temperament of your elderly dog, you must keep it clean. So you need to bathe it often irrespective of the challenges. Start establishing a routine and schedule so that the dog knows how often they get a bath and what to expect during the tub. It’s good to bath your dog at least once a week. Of course, you have to do it more often if it gets into messes a lot, especially those that love playing in the mud and other dumps.
Make adequate room for the dog bathe time.
You need to set aside a room to wash your dog, and often a tub will do. If not, you can purchase a big plastic water storage tank that you can improvise and use as a tub in the basement or garage for the bath session. Ensure that you clean your dog in an enclosed area to keep them from bounding away when they get distracted by something or just want to avoid getting a wash.
Prepare the dog bathe area properly.
Place a non- skid mat at the bottom of the tab or container before you fill it with water. It will keep the dog from slipping and sliding as you scrub it. Also, put some large towels or absorbent mats around the tab area to absorb any water that splashes around. Dress in clothes that allow natural movement because you need to keep the dog in one place as you scrub it. It sounds easy, but dogs are playful, and even if yours is old, it still may be hard to control if you don’t focus.
Use all in one shampoo and conditioner when dog bathe
Get a great dog shampoo and conditioner that cleanses and also protects your pet from parasites. It helps to have a two in one instead of shampooing them separately and then using the conditioner afterward. Ensure that products you use are moisturizing so that the skin and fur won’t dry out. You can scrub it using a loofah or washcloth just as long as it gets the dirt out but is not rough on the skin.
Lukewarm water and massage during dog bathe
The water you use for bathing your elderly dog should be lukewarm. Once you fill the tub or plastic container with water halfway, then bring the dog in and close the door to the bathroom, garage, or basement. Start by gently massaging its joints and brushing its coat to relax it before you put it into the water. If the dog is reluctant, you can throw a favorite toy in the tub or get in if it’s big enough to follow.
Some dogs are losing their sight or have such stiff and aching joints that they can’t climb into the tub. If you have such an old dog, lift it into the tub or plastic basin gently. It’s a good idea to give it a treat so that it softens the shock of the experience, especially if it hates baths. Once it’s in the water, talk to it soothingly as you wet the body and apply the shampoo. Continue to massage it as you go along, lathering the soap and spreading it all over the body.
Wiping down the head area
Use a washcloth to clean the dog’s head area carefully to avoid getting soap suds in its eyes. Clean out the ears and wipe the eyes carefully as you talk to it in a soothing tone. If you need help, ask another member of the family the dog knows to help you hold it as you clean its head region. Most dogs hate this, so it might be a struggle but do it as fast as possible while comforting it.
Rinse and dry after dog bathe
Once you are done soaping and scrubbing the dog, let the soapy water run out and pour some clean, warm water all over the dog to rinse off the suds. An excellent trick to adapt when bathing your elderly dog is to mix some essential oils with antiseptic capabilities into the rinsing water. For example, you can put some rosemary, eucalyptus, or tree tea oil in the water. Just a few drops in the rinse water will help keep away pests like fleas and make your dog smell nice. You can maintain this protection by diluting the oils in water and using a spray bottle to douse them every other day. Just make sure that you use very little as too much may irritate them.
Once you rinse it, wrap the dog in a warm towel and hold on to it to get rid of any excess water. Using a hairdryer, blow-dry the dog’s coat on low heat to make sure it dries off completely. It’s essential to make sure it gets properly dry as it may catch a cold otherwise.
Other tips to keep your dog happy
Take it to the groomers for dog bathe.
Your dog will also benefit from an occasional trip to the groomer. It’s a great way to give your pet relief from the aches, pains, and general misery that they feel as they get old. Many groomers know just how to work on an old dog, and they give them lovely treats and massage treatments as they wash, trim, and rub them down. They will also get their nails cut, which is very important when dogs get old. Best of all, most groomers can identify anything unusual in your dog that you may not see. They are not vets, but they are experts when it comes to dogs, so make sure you take yours to visit a groomer at least once a month.
Supplements and warmth for comfort
Also, keep your dog warm, especially during wet days, because they often have joint pains. You can even get some high supplements or medicine from the vet that will lessen the aging pains. For example, there are capsules of glucosamine/chondroitin that work wonders in old dogs dealing with arthritis. These little things will make it easier for them to deal with any pain and discomfort.
Bathing your elderly dog is a great way to bond with it. Dogs undergo a lot of discomforts as they grow old, even if they cannot express it. When you bath, feed, groom, cuddle, and take care of them, it is easier for them to bear the adverse changes brought about by aging.