How to bathe your dog – and how often to bathe your dog – are two big questions for pet lovers who want to keep their companions clean and healthy. Let’s dive in!
How often should you bathe your Morkie?
One of the mistakes first-time dog owners make is bathing their dog too often.
Regular combing can keep your Morkie’s coat smooth and mat-free and can even reduce dirt and reduce smell.
It’s not hard to bathe your Morkie, and if you make it a habit when the dog is young, he may even enjoy it. Remember that your goal is more than a clean dog. You want to create a positive bonding experience between the two of you. Take your time, be positive and offer lots of praise.
Once every 6 to 8 weeks is plenty often enough
Generally speaking, more than once every 6 to 8 weeks is too often. Some experts recommend waiting 3 months between baths.
Too much bathing will strip the natural oils from your dog’s coat and can cause skin irritations.
Dry hair is more prone to tangle and go frizzy. Too much washing will actually harm your dog’s coat and skin rather than make it healthy. Your Morkie’s skin can become dry and flakey, and his coat will go dull when the natural oils are washed away.
Try a foot bath instead
Your dog’s feet can pick up lots of stuff outside, including road salt.
Plus, dogs sweat (almost entirely) from the bottom of their paws. Their little feet can end up smelling like a teenage boy who’s worn high tops all day! It’s called Frito Feet, thanks to its uncanny resemblance to a certain corn chip snack.
Keeping her paws clean will make your Morkie more comfortable, and a cleaner companion.
Dog expert Cesar Millan recommends a good long walk before the bath, to burn off your dog’s excess energy. I can attest that this is a great idea.
BEFORE YOU START, make sure your Morkie’s hair is mat- and tangle-free. A matted coat will only get worse when you add water. In my experience, there isn’t a conditioner or special treatment in the world that will help. In fact, these products can make it even worse. (I know professional groomers will bath a tangled dog, but I leave it to their expertise.)
Step One: gather together everything you need
You can’t dash off and get what you forgot; your Morkie might jump down from the counter and seriously injure himself. Keep everything you need within arm’s reach:
- a plastic apron for you
- 3 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 organic shampoo
- cotton balls
- very wide toothed comb or “rake”
- hair dryer
- ear cleaner: an over-the-counter type of ear cleaner for dogs
Put the rubber mat in the bottom of the sink, and run some lukewarm water. (Dogs cannot tolerate hot water like we can.) A laundry tub works well, or you can use your kitchen sink.
Step Two: run the bath and start shampooing
Take your Morkie’s collar off and put one or two cotton balls in each ear. Don’t put them in with anything other than your finger. No need to jam them in hard.
Now, place her under the lukewarm running water, encouraging her to keep all 4 feet on the bottom of the sink.
Gently wet your Morkie’s body first – you can leave the head and neck area for last because dogs generally don’t like getting their heads or faces wet.
As you wet down your Morkie, praise her for being calm, and talk to her in a low, gentle voice. Your Morkie may even take a small treat or two.
As she gets used to the water, put the plug in the sink 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 to warm it up. Apply to your dog’s body – not the head.
Massage your Morkie all over with shampoo, starting with the top of the body. Work your way around to the tummy, giving the tail and genitals extra attention.
Carefully lift each leg and give it a quick shampoo; the legs will get rinsed in the water in the sink.
Don’t scrub too hard; your Morkie’s skin is sensitive and is irritated easily.
Let the plug out of the sink and rinse your Morkie with more lukewarm running water, starting with the head. Again, don’t run the water into your dog’s face – let a little run on top of the head and down the neck.
There’s no need to ‘rinse and repeat’ – one shampooing will do the job. And Morkies do not need a dog cream rinse or conditioner unless your home is extremely dry.
Step Three: finish the bath with a towel dry
When she is fully rinsed, lift your dog out of the sink and place her on the waiting towel.
Be watchful she doesn’t try to jump down after her “ordeal.”
Quickly pat down the dog’s coat with the towel, then wrap her up in it. Don’t rub – that will cause mats.
Remove the cotton balls if they haven’t already fallen out.
Continue to pat her dry with the towel and have your hair dryer ready.
Is your Morkie crazy after a bath?
It scared me the first time I gave my tiny Maltese dog a bath. She was calm throughout and did not seem upset. But as soon as I put her down, she started running wildly around the room at breakneck speeds – the “zoomies.”
She rubbed her head on the carpet and the doormat, anything she could find. It was like she was trying to rub dirt BACK ON. I think if I had a pile of manure or a dead animal on the carpet, the dog would have been rolling in the stinky stuff. And all the while, she was making strange, growling noises, like a spinning tire in the snow.
This is nothing to worry about, and in fact it can be hilarious. Experts say dogs do this for a couple of reasons. They may be looking for a more ‘natural’ smell instead of that nice clean scent.
Drying and more combing
Your Morkie is clean but still wet, so let’s finish the job. Don’t worry, he’ll help dry himself with a few good shakes! Get the second towel you’ve set aside, and pat your dog all over with it. Then, with the setting on cool to medium, use a blow dryer on the coat. You can pause every couple of minutes and run a comb (or the rake or the de-matting comb) through your Morkie’s coat.
Keep the nozzle of the dryer moving constantly so there’s no chance of overheating any one area. Another safety measure is to leave one hand on your Morkie as you’re drying, so you can tell just how hot the airflow is.
Your Morkie hates air blowing in her face, so keep the dryer moving, and never focus the heat on just one area at a time. The hair dryer’s sound might stress him, so take it slow.
Finally, when your Morkie is damp dry, wrap him in another fresh, dry towel and give him a snuggle. Don’t forget to put your Morkie’s collar back on – a collar with legible, up-to-date I.D.
Professional groomers often use a finishing spray at the end of bathing and drying. These are leave-in treatments to make the dog’s coat shinier and great smelling.
These sprays can be used (sparingly) between baths too, to freshen up your Morkie.
But as with shampoo, it’s important you avoid anything toxic. No parabens, phosphates, pthalates, DEA, synthetic dyes or perfumes.
Some sprays are harmful, or sickly sweet smelling. Avoid any that contain alcohol, which will dry out your Morkie’s coat and skin.
If you look for Certified Organic, you’ll find a spray that won’t hurt your Morkie or his coat. A finishing spray brand I like is K9|essence® Shine Conditioning Coat Spray, available online or in some retail stores. Heavenly Organics Grooming Products gets good marks from consumers and can be found here: www.animalsensepetproducts.com
Want to learn how to groom your Morkie at home?
You can keep his hair long and luxurious in just minutes a day – and forget that puppy cut!
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