When I head out of town for the weekend, my brother is kind enough to agree to keep my dogs while I am gone.

I am getting better about bathing them before I drop them off (I am trying to be more considerate!). Usually (because my dogs spend their days outside and come in at night) they are quite filthy (ask my brother, he will confirm, then emphasize with an eye roll).

My veterinarian, Tal Guidry at Guidry Animal Hospital, gave me a handy tip to use when bathing my pups. He said to lay a towel down in the basin of the tub. This does 2 things:

  1. It gives the dogs something to stand on that isn't slippery.
  2. The towel catches much of the hair, keeping it from going down the drain.

The most important thing about the towel is that it gives the dogs more of a sure foot, which can usually ease some of the anxiety they feel when in such a strange environment (yes, I know, some people are lucky enough to own dogs that LOVE the bathtub!). When the dogs are slipping around, unable to achieve a good footing, the anxiety of being in a strange, wet, soapy enclosed area can be amplified.

Mannie/photo by John Falcon

Also, it's always a good idea to keep foreign objects from flowing into your drains. When you are done with the dog's bath, roll up the towel, wring it out, and then set it on the patio to dry.  Once it is dry, shake off the dog hair and then throw it into the laundry. Voila!

Oh, by the way: dogs hate smelling good. It's something about their nature to smell like their surroundings so that predators can't sense them. That's why they, fresh out of the bath, will roll in the nearest dirt pile or a pile of something else that doesn't smell like roses, so keep an eye on them for the first few hours they are clean.