1. Thoroughly wet your dog all over. The more water you get into the coat the easier it is to shampoo. You may find it necessary to add small amounts of shampoo as you go, as this breaks down the surface tension due to grease on the skin and allows the shampoo to penetrate down to the skin where it is needed.
2. Use a sponge to apply shampoo particularly around the face. Pouring shampoo down the back of your pet will mean you will use more than you require. Most good medicated shampoos are made concentrated so you only need a small amount. Work on a figure of 1-2 teaspoons per 5kg dog. The larger amount is for long coated dogs.
3. When lathering up always add more water before you add more shampoo. A shampoo won’t lather in the absence of water. This results in more economical product use and reduces waste. You can always add water, why pay extra for it?
4. Rub the shampoo all over including around the muzzle, lips and under the tail. These are the areas bacteria and funguses spread from, and are common causes of infection. You will find this relatively easy if you are using a sponge.
5. It is important if using a medicated shampoo to allow time for it to work. In general, 10 minutes is required. Some other shampoos, which are known to irritate the skin, will specify shorter contact times with increased frequency of use to reduce the irritating effect. Most good quality medicated shampoos are low irritant. We recommend 10 minutes contact time. Your dog can do anything it likes while waiting, play ball or throw a stick to take its mind off being wet. If the dog does go and roll remember there is still shampoo in the coat so adding water at the time of rinsing will reactivate the shampoo.
6. Rinse thoroughly. It takes time to get rid of all the shampoo from the coat, about 5 minutes in longer haired dogs. A shower rose or hydrobath is excellent. Your pet should be ‘SQUEAKY’ clean. If the hair doesn’t squeak, there is still shampoo residue, which need to be removed.
7. Dry gently. Using heat or vigorous towel drying will irritate skin that is already itchy. A commercial grooming drier just blows the water out of the coat. It doesn’t use heat.
8. If you are sensitive to detergents or have hand dermatitis, we suggest you wear gloves when using any shampoo.
Hydration of the skin will help soothe an itchy skin often for up to 24 hours
© Forrest Hill Vets (2000) Ltd