Phase 1 - Preparing
Preparing your Poodle for a bath is just as important as the bath itself. All of the dead hairs and any tangles must be carefully removed from the coat by brushing
and combing before the bath is given. Keep in mind that even though the Poodle is technically a non-shedding breed, the coat is comprised of hairs that have a life cycle. This consists of growth, rest and release. Therefore, the coat is in constant renewal and hairs will fall off. Some will fall to the floor and others will fall back into the coat.
Brushing also helps to loosen any dirt. Your goal is to give a thorough brushing from the skin outward to be sure the dog is free of mats before getting wet, as wet mats are much more difficult to remove. In addition, when shampoo is applied to any wet mat, it becomes trapped inside the mat and then is nearly impossible to completely rinse out.
Phase 2 - Preparing the Facilities
After your Poodle is thoroughly brushed and combed, it is best to give your dog an opportunity to relieve themselves, as the bathing and drying process can take a while and you want your Poodle to be comfortable and to stay still for you. If you will be using a grooming table, prepare this first by removing any hairs and spreading a large, soft towel over it. Have your supplies close at hand including a blow dryer, if you will be using one.
The bath tools and products that you will need includes:
- A rubber mat for the bottom of the tub or sink
- A hand-held water hose or a plastic container for wetting and rinsing
- A shampoo brush
- A sponge or washcloth
- Petroleum jelly
- Shampoo (color enhancing if the coat is dull or yellowing)
- Creme Rinse or conditioner
- Several clean, soft bath towels
Young puppies and toy Poodles often do best in the kitchen sink. Prepare this as you would the bathtub by having it clean and having all your supplies within reach.
Before you begin the bath, use cotton to gently plug your Poodle's ears
so that water cannot enter the ear canal. If your Poodle has any type of chronic ear troubles, you can put a bit of Vaseline on the cotton to make double sure that water does not enter.
For show dogs - All topknot, ear wrappers and bands must be removed. While it is not mandatory, if you show, you may find it helpful to part the long mane down the center of the back with a pin brush, letting the long hair fall to ether side.
Phase 3 - Shampooing
Most owners know this, but it is so important that it must be mentioned: Never use human shampoo. It is vital that the shampoo be Ph balanced for canines, it is essential for healthy skin and coat. All shampoos are either acid, alkali or neutral. The degree of acidity or alkalinity is measured on a Ph scale that runs from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral.
Anything between 0 and 7 is "acid" and anything between 7 and 14 is "alkaline" You need to use an alkaline based shampoo on a Poodle.
Coats can become stained, colors can become uneven....For this reason, some owners may wish to use color enhancing canine shampoo
, which does not contain any dyes but rather intensifies the natural color of the Poodle's coat. For white and light colored Poodles, this will help to remove yellow or grayish discolorations. For black or brown Poodles, it will help to remove any red or orange tipping and make the coat more solid.
There are 2 methods for shampooing a Poodle, the most common being to stand the dog in the tub and then use warm water (with the spray hose or container) to wet the coat thoroughly, avoiding wetting the head or ears. It is very important that the coat be extremely wet, to the roots, before you apply the shampoo. If you are using a hand held spray, hold the nozzle as close as possible to the dog's body, this will force the water to the skin and flush out any dirt.
For show dogs, the Poodle should be shampooed and rinsed 2 times. If you are keeping your Poodle in oil treatments, 3 cycles may be necessary. Please do refer to the AllPoodleInfo Book
for full chapters on bathing both pet and show Poodles correctly.