No bones about it: this winter was ruff on all of us, including Fido. His skin is dry, his paws are chapped, and to top it all off, now he’s shedding for spring. To help our furry friends recover and prepare for better weather, here are 5 tips for spring cleaning your dog:
1. Different Dogs, Different Needs
Just like with people, dogs’ skin and hair are all different, so ask your vet or grooming professional to find out what’s best for your pooch. You never want to use human shampoo or dish soap — human products are far too harsh for dogs because their skin is three times thinner than ours and has a very different pH level.
2. Lather, Rinse, Repeat, Rinse, Rinse, Rinse
Whether you’re at home or in a self-wash tub like the ones at Dog Day Getaway, make sure you rinse, rinse, and rinse again during your dog’s monthly wash. Shampoo build-up is a major cause of skin and coat irritations, but rinsing with water before shampooing helps remove scales, crusts, dander, and loose hair. Just make sure the water isn’t too hot on your puppers’ delicate skin: it should be 78 – 80 degrees in the summer and 80 – 85 in the winter.
3. Shed Happens
Dogs blow their coat each spring and fall, and a de-shedding shampoo and conditioner can help when you’re spring cleaning your dog. If using at home, dilute it some with water in a separate bottle before bath time — a little bit can go a long way. (And clean out the bottle afterward: bacteria can grow in diluted shampoo bottles within 48 hours.)
4. Sugar? I Barely Know Her!
One of our fave treatments for dogs is a sugar scrub, an exfoliant/rehydrant one-two punch that leaves dogs itch-free and smelling awesome. Pick up this blueberry clove scrub or try a DIY recipe. Yum!
5. Think Paws-itive
After a winter of road salt and frozen ground, your pup’s paws need some love. Try a revitalizer or protectant post-bath, like Pet Head’s Paw Butter.
Bottom line: Whether you’re spring cleaning your dog at home or heading to the pros, your pup’ll thank you for it — maybe by treating you to a beer at a nearby dog-friendly taproom or patio? Or, if he’s a rascal, by trying to take his fresh springtime coat and post-winter glow into the nearest mud puddle. Sigh.