How to get your dog squeaky clean (without getting bitten!)

Cleaning your dog can go well if you reward him or her and stay on task.

Every pet owner needs to clean their furry friend, but sometimes it's easier said than done. A dog can put up a fight, refuse to sit still or simply not cooperate when it's bath time, but going too long without a wash is clearly a mistake. If you need more motivation or help to clean your pet, try some of the tips below for reference:

1. Figure out what you need to wash
It's always easier to clean if you narrow your work down and you can actually use this strategy for your pet, believe it or not. Now, obviously we're talking about giving your dog a good grooming, but you may also want to think about things the dog has touched or regularly rolls around on as possible candidates for a clean as well.

This comes in part from the British-based insurers Animal Friends, which wrote about the hygiene habits of British pet owners. The survey revealed that 31 percent of British pets aren't bathed at all. The next largest group in this survey was the pets that were bathed once a month, which accounted for 15 percent of these at once.

Don't just wash your dog, but your home as well, for a full clean. How often is good? The ASPCA recommends once every three months. You'll have to think of both germs and insects as well as hair left behind.

"Don't just wash your dog, but your home as well, for a full clean."

2. Get the right brushes
Another thing the ASPCA said to look out for is the hair length on your dog. You can take a different tactic for dogs depending on their hair length. 

Also, the amount you will have to brush varies based on how thick the coat is. Some dogs will take a daily brushing to keep the fur in neat condition, while others might be able to go longer. In any case, a good brush makes sense before you get out the soap and water as it can help clear the fur.

But that's grooming – let's get to the washing itself!

3. Work from one end to the other
Both the ASPCA and MarthaStewart.com recommend that you start at the head and work to the tail to give your dog a thorough shampooing. It's always a good idea to be methodical, and this approach certainly gives you an easy way to know when you're done!

While you're shampooing your pup, though, be careful that you don't get too much shampoo into his or her eyes or mouth. And once again, you may have to take a special approach depending on how long your dog's hair is.

"Be careful that you don't get shampoo into your pup's eyes or mouth."

4. Reward your dog!
No owner likes seeing their dog suffer, that's for sure. If your dog clearly isn't enjoying the bath, it might take a lot to keep them in place until it's over. Once it's done, though, you can let your pet relax and either give a treat or take him or her for a little walk to show that everything's ok.

Hopefully, your dog will be pretty forgiving. Aside from the direct treats, you might also want to get your dog used to touching and being held so it doesn't try to run when you get close to it for a bath.

5. Wash the dog's things, too
Clean toys, beds and other things the dog comes into contact with and hopefully you'll have a much nicer home. Even the things the dog itself regularly touches should get a good cleaning. Your dog might not be able to talk, but it will appreciate it, trust us!

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