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Ask AKC: Bath Time Tips

Stress-free bathing for you and your pet.

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

Dear Lisa: I have a new Bulldog I rescued from a shelter about two months ago. He is about 5 years old. I'd like to give him a bath because he is starting to develop a doggie odor. Rather than take him to the groomers, can you give me advice on the best way to clean him? --Bath Time for Bully in Buffalo
Bulldogs, like all breeds, benefit from regular grooming. The more you groom the less often they will need a bath. Even though Bulldogs possess a short coat, the reality of keeping the wrinkles clean and the logistics of handling a muscular, low-to-the-ground breed will be your biggest challenge.

There are two things you can invest in making it safer for your dog when it comes to grooming; a grooming table and rubber mat for your bathtub.

Weekly Grooming
Placing a dog on a table will make it easier for you to inspect wrinkles, brush without fatigue and clean under his belly. Make sure the table is secure and covered with a towel before gently lifting and placing him squarely in the center. If your table doesn't have a grooming arm with noose, have a family member stand in front of him holding his collar so he won't be tempted to jump off the table. Start with a curry comb or mitt -- a tool covered with little rubber nubs -- and rub his coat in a circular motion to remove dead skin, loose hair, dried-on slobber and dirt.

Follow this with a clean soft bristle brush, using short flicks of the wrist brush the coat from head to tail. Finish up with some baby wipes, cleaning between the wrinkles and drying them well. For those tough places between deep wrinkles that always seem to get a tad stinky try rubbing occasionally with a thin layer of Bag Balm, Vaseline or Horseman's Dream to repel moisture. Moisture promotes that doggy odor you are trying to dispel.

Bath Time
Before you plunge your bully into the bubbles, place cotton balls in his ears to keep out moisture. Don't forget the rubber mat in the tub to prevent him from slipping.

Using a small amount of shampoo in your hand, wash his body, and rinse twice to remove all doggie shampoo. Use a small sponge or washcloth to hand-wash his head. Avoid getting water in the eyes. Then wrap him in towels, lift him out of the tub and place him on the floor so he can shake off excess water. Hand dry him with more fresh towels and use cotton balls to dry out those little pockets of skin around the tail and head that may not dry completely on their own. Now you and your sweet smelling dog are ready for some quality time.


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