You might be enjoying some time off right now, and think you’ll give your Morkie a bath.
Two really important things to remember:
- you can’t use your shampoo (not even baby shampoo)
- please – get dog shampoo that’s “Certified Organic”
Why the fuss?
Simple – a dog’s skin is much thinner than our’s, so anything harsh can harm him. That includes people shampoo which is much stronger than dog shampoo, and it includes poor quality dog shampoo.
“Cancer is the primary cause of death in dogs over the age of two years. Minimizing our dogs’ exposure to harmful environmental factors is critical.”
Just 5% of dog cancers are hereditary, while 95% are a result of environmental toxins.
Since skin is a dog’s biggest organ (and our biggest organ too), it makes sense to take special care in picking products like shampoo. Toxic shampoos are not what we want.
—from the well-regraded DogsNaturallyMagazine online.
What makes shampoo toxic for dogs?
People shampoos can be toxic because they are too harsh and contain chemicals dogs don’t need. Our skin is FIVE TIMES THICKER than a dogs, so we can handle stronger formulas to clean our hair. Dogs can’t.
Plus, the PH level of dogs skin is close to NEUTRAL (7.5) but our skin is ACIDIC (7.5)
Regular Dog Shampoo
Cheap or regular dog shampoos, even well known brands, can be deadly unless they are clearly marked CERTIFIED ORGANIC. That’s because they contain poisons like:
- preservatives, including those that release formaldehyde into the shampoo
- artificial colours and fragrances
- a group of ammonia-like proteins such as DEA, MEA and TEA,
- Isopropyl alcohol and mineral oil
Unless the shampoo you buy clearly states CERTIFIED ORGANIC, it’s garbage. Terms like natural, pure, green, naturally-derived and organic have no legally binding meaning.
The production of pet shampoos is a huge business and they are aggressively marketed. The more confused consumers are by labelling, the better.
But you can avoid all this by choosing “CERTIFIED ORGANIC.” These products undergo a great deal of scrutiny. They are verified by neutral third parties who determine that there are no GMO ingredients, no pesticides, herbicides, artificial colours, or artificial fragrance.
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Lottsa questions lately from our readers about bathing their Morkie.
Like, what’s the best way to give a dog bath; how often should I bathe my dog and and what’s the best dog shampoo? So let’s jump in with the first of 4 posts about grooming your Morkie.
I’m a big fan of grooming my dogs myself. That’s because grooming is about much more than looking good; it’s also about:
- bonding with your dog
- showing him you are the alpha leader
- checking on his health by handling him all over during the grooming process
Three easy steps to bathing your Morkie
Giving your Morkie a bath isn’t hard at all and if you start when the dog is young, you’ll find your Morkie actually likes it! (Or at least, doesn’t hate having a bath).
BEFORE YOU START – make sure your Morkie’s hair is mat and tangle free. If his coat is matted, it will only get worse when you add water. In my experience, there’s no conditioner or special “detangler” in the world that will make mats better – usually they’re much worse.
Step One: gather together everything you need
- 2 large towels
- a rubber non-slip mat on the bottom of the sink to keep your dog from skittering around on the slick surface
- good quality, gentle dog shampoo plus Baby Shampoo – more about shampoos tomorrow
- cotton balls
- very wide toothed comb or “rake”
- hair dryer
- ear cleaner – an over-the-counter type of ear cleaner for dogs is fine
Step Two: start the bath
- put the rubber mat in the bottom of the sink, and run some medium warm water in a large sink – a laundry tub works or use your kitchen sink. (You can clean and disinfect it after with a good scrub)
- take your Morkie’s collar off and put one or two cotton balls in each ear – don’t jam them in with anything other than your finger
- gently place her under the warm running water, encouraging her to keep all 4 feet on the bottom of the sink
- gently wet her body first – you can leave the head and neck area for last
- as you’re getting your Morkie wet, be sure and praise her for being calm, and talk to her in a low, gentle voice
- as she gets used to the water, put the plug in and let it fill to just the top of her legs
- now, pour some of the dog shampoo in the palm of your hand, and rub it to warm it up; then apply to your dog’s body – not the head yet
- gently massage your dog all over starting with the top of the body and working your way round to the tummy – give the tail and genitals area extra attention
- you can gently lift each leg and give it a quick shampoo; the legs will get rinsed in the water in the sink
- if the tap is still running, refresh the coat with some more warm water
- finally, wet the head area and carefully shampoo; try to avoid getting water into the ears and avoid using much shampoo on the face itself using Baby Shampoo not the dog shampoo you’ve used earlier
- If the dog’s ears stand up, cup your hand over the opening of the ear while wetting and rinsing. Shampoo under the muzzle, where dogs sometimes get food stuck
- let the plug out of the sink, rinse your Morkie with medium warm running water, starting with the head
- don’t run the water directly into your dog’s face – let it run on top of the head and down, otherwise it’s like water boarding!
- there’s no need to ‘rinse and repeat’ with your Morkie – one shampooing will do the job. And Morkies do not need a cream rinse or conditioner unless your home is exceptionally dry (remember, rinses and ‘detanglers’ will only make mats and tangles worse so be sure to comb or cut these out before you start)
Step Three: finish the job
- lift your dog out of the sink and place her on the waiting big towel
- give her a quick all over pat-drying, wrapping her snugly in the towel – don’t vigorously rub the coat – that will cause mats
- remove the cotton balls (if they haven’t already fallen out!)
- pat her dry with the towel, and then dry the body area with the electric hair dryer ON LOW
- remember, your Morkie will hate that air being blown directly into her face
- keep the dryer at low temperature setting and move it all around your Morkie; never focus the heat on just one area at a time
- if you can, use the very wide toothed comb, or a coat rake, to work on her coat while you’re blow drying
- finally, wrap your dog in the second, fresh, towel and give her a good snuggle
- apply one or two drops of ear cleaner to each ear (never clean out the ears with a Q-tip or anything else that would go in the ear – if necessary, clean the visible part of the ear with another cotton ball. Never use tips.)
- put her collar back on and she’s done
Never let your Morkie lick herself when covered in shampoo.
It’s not unusual for a small dog to vomit a little after the bath from the excitement – no worries, just carry on and continue to reassure your dog.
Make sure your Morkie can’t hop out of the sink and jump to the ground – in her dislike of water, she may do that and the results could be a disastrous fall.