Should I Wash or Brush My Dog First?

Dog ownership is a study in joy. The love and companionship our canine friends bring into our homes and lives are without comparison, and they brighten up even the darkest days. This isn’t to say that dog ownership can’t occasionally be a bit frustrating, and one of the most hair-pulling chores associated with dogs is washing and brushing. Whether you’ve got a small sedate dog or a high-energy larger breed, bathing your pet is rarely without a bit of mess and hassle.

It makes sense to try and ensure bath time for your pooch goes as quickly and smoothly as it can, and doing things in the right order saves both time and effort. Which brings us to one of the most commonly asked questions about dog care: should I wash or brush my dog first? While the answer is (mostly) straightforward, there are some tips, tricks, and details you’ll want to be aware of.

Properly Grooming Your Dog

Bathing and grooming your dog are about far more than ensuring they look and smell nice. These kinds of care are essential to the animal’s health and well-being. Dogs rely on their fur for many things, and proper grooming and cleaning support these functions.

Up until the 1990s, the standard procedure for grooming and bathing was to brush out the dog’s fur, clip the fur, and then bathe the animal before the final trim. That approach has shifted over the last few decades, and now in most cases, groomers tend to recommend bathing first, then clipping and trimming the fur. There are a number of good reasons behind this change:

  1. Dirty fur dulls scissors, clippers, and trimmers faster–your equipment will last longer and with less maintenance if you bathe the dog first.
  2. Working on dirty coats stirs up dust and debris, which may irritate the eyes and sinuses of both you and your pet. In some cases, it can even cause respiratory illness if exposure is frequent enough!
  3. Brushing and trimming can damage dirty fur, whereas clean hair benefits from the procedure.
  4. Clean fur is just easier to work with–bathing your dog first saves time overall by making the trimming process easier.

As with all guidelines, there are exceptions to this rule. If your dog’s fur is overly tangled or matted, those issues should be addressed prior to bathing. Contrary to what some folks think, bathing a dog doesn’t get rid of mats or tangles; if anything it can make them worse! Matted hair soaks up water and becomes denser and more locked in, making it difficult to repair or remove. Likewise, tangles often get worse if they get wet. Using a bit of common sense when approaching your dog’s bathing and grooming will get you a long way.

The best tools and methods for trimming your dog will depend on the breed, size, and coat. Short-haired breeds need different care than long-haired ones and smaller dogs may want or need more fur than their larger counterparts. Seasonal variations count too–shorter coats may benefit many dogs in the summer heat while a longer coat may be just the insulation they need during wintertime. When in doubt, get professional help–a pro groomer will know what your dog needs and help you ensure they look and feel their best.

Speaking of helping your dog look its best (and saving you time and effort), K9000 self-serve dog washes make keeping your four-legged friend clean a snap. The process is easy on both you and the dog, clean, quick, and affordable. Get in touch today to find out more about the opportunities presented by K9000!