Between your dog's mournful looks and the struggle that takes place, it's tempting to just skip bath time altogether. If all your precocious pooch needs is a little freshening, you can make a natural concoction that doesn't involve emotionally scarring her or yourself during a water-soaked wrestling match in the tub.
Cornstarch is useful for absorbing excess oil and removing the stale smell it gives your dog. It also works wonders if your dog has any mats to be removed from her hair. Generously sprinkle cornstarch on your dog and work it into her coat with your fingertips, using more cornstarch on matted fur, then brush it out with a stiff-bristle grooming brush. Perform your dog freshening over a newspaper or outside to minimize the powdery mess that will result when you brush the cornstarch out of your dog's coat.
You use baking soda to freshen the refrigerator, the laundry and even the cat box. Use it to freshen your dog's coat, too. It will eliminate odors from your pup, making her look and smell fresh-bathed. Just rub a liberal amount of dry baking soda into your dog's coat. If she is particularly stinky, let it sit for about 20 minutes before you brush it out of her fur. Be thorough and get all the soda out of her hair, or she'll spread fine, powdery dust all over your house every time she shakes herself off.
Add Some Herbs
If you want to do more than just eliminate oils and odors, and would like to leave your pooch smelling pleasant after freshening, add some herbs to the cornstarch or soda dry-bath you give her. Lavender, rosemary and thyme are herbs that all leave behind pleasing odors. Citronella is a good-smelling and useful alternative, as it will repel fleas -- though don't get it near her face. Dogs don't care much for citronella.
If you prefer a more damp solution to your dog freshening woes than a dose of dry shampoo yet still want to avoid the bath-time drama, make a freshening spritz that you simply mist on your dog's coat to quickly refresh her and banish distasteful odors. In her book on herbal oils, Marlene Jones recommends mixing 10 drops of lavender oil in a spray bottle with 3 drops of Roman chamomile, 3 drops of geranium oil and 3 drops of sweet marjoram oil. Add a cup of water to the bottle, screw on the nozzle and shake well before spritzing the refreshing mist on your dog.
- VetInfo: Dry Shampoo for Dogs
- "City Dog: Choosing and Living Well With a Dog in the City"; Patricia Curtis
- "Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things: 2,317 Ways to Save Money and Time"; Reader's Digest
- "Vet On Call"; The Editors of Pets: Part of the Family
- "The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats"; The Editors of Prevention Health Books
- "The Complete Guide to Creating Oils, Soaps, Creams, and Herbal Gels"; Marlene Jones
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.