Snow is on the ground, and our increasing temperatures have turned walkways into ice. Every day, one or two of the dogs come in and get undivided attention. Today was Miley’s turn. Last week I noticed she was getting pretty dirty, as the snow starts to melt and mud season is starting, Miley, being yellow, is the first to show the effects of a wet winter thaw (her yellow daughter will likely be next). Miley also takes great pleasure in rubbing her body on the chain link in her kennel, transferring black carbon onto her coat. It’s nearly impossible to wash out, but seems quite easy to rub into the coat. I couldn’t take it one more moment. Today we’ll be having a winter spa day!
Miley, we’re off to the bathtub!
Our booster bath tubs are a Godsend. Yay for not having to bend to ground level to wash a dog! We can move it close to the large kennel door, and put the drain hose under the closed door, allowing it to drain outside, while keeping the kennel fairly dry and warm (except for the obligatory wet dog shaking, which manages to wet a six-foot circumference). She was so dirty, we couldn’t even work up suds with a ton of shampoo.
No doubt someone is going to ask what doggie shampoo we use, so this is where I tell you to listen to your Vet if you want to be sure, but in truth, we use human shampoos. I use baby shampoo on the face (no tears), and whatever shampoo I happen to have laying around on the rest of them. I DO NOT ever use a conditioning shampoo or a conditioner on a Lab. Their coat is supposed to be hard to the touch to properly shed water. When I am shampooing for a dog show, I do it a week or so before the show if they need a bath at all, and I usually use T-Gel shampoo on the blacks, to get rid of dandruff. If a Lab isn’t visibly dirty, the best bath for a show is just a good swim or hosing down. Yay for a wash-and-wear breed!
Bath time is an important time for us. You would be surprised how even while petting and playing with a dog, you can miss a suspicious lump or a cut. We’ve made it a practice to use bath time to do a critical hands-on exam, to physically go over each dog, feeling every inch of their bodies for any physical anomaly that may have come up. Once wet, and underneath that thick coat, we have found things our hands never detected before. It’s a good practice. All Miley had was that healing scratch under her left eye (she scratched her eye a couple of weeks ago and lost the hair around the scratch), and the scars on her chin that she has had for a long time (that’s another story for another day).
Our industrial blow dryer makes fast work of drying a dog, and quickly gets rid of shedding hair. It’s far better than a brush! I’ve had this dryer for better than 15 years. It is one of our most valuable possessions. Her groaning in response to being dried, spoke to how good that forceful/warm air stream feels.
As I type this, Dan is still out in the kennel trying to clean up the fur it blew off Miley, onto every surface of the kennel building. That’s one downside to winter baths – you can’t blow dry the dog out in the snow.
After a lot of soap, rinsing and drying, a nicely clean Miley ran to the back door and thought briefly about rolling in the mud next to the steps. I caught her just as she was headed for it and a firm “NO” stopped her (thank heavens). What is it about being clean that a dog can’t stand? It never fails that a sparkling clean dog will quickly roll across the lawn, in the bushes, in mud, or in a puddle.
Attention to the feet comes after the bath. Hair on the bottom of their feet probably keeps their feet warm in the snow, but when the paths turn to ice, their hairy feet have little traction ability. Skipping in the ice or wood floors is an invitation to injury. It has become habit, that after a bath, we check feet and nails. As you can tell, Miley was WAY overdue!
Now she can show off. There is nothing like the feeling of having a shower and pedicure!
The dog bath is found at: https://www.boosterbath.com/
The blow dryer may be found here: https://k9dryer.com/product/k-9-ii-dog-dryer/ – shop around for better pricing on similar items.