Your bichon's snowy fur quickly turns gray and matted without weekly or biweekly baths. And since your pooch doesn't shed, it's important to thoroughly brush her before her bath, as water makes tangles worse. Bathing your bichon is similar to bathing other breeds, but with a few important differences.
A rubber mat will keep your bichon from slipping and sliding during her bath in your bathtub or laundry sink. Unlike some larger breeds, who are tightly contained inside a bathtub, your tiny bichon can injure herself racing around the slippery tub and falling. You also don't want to put yourself at risk of slipping as you lean and dart back and forth trying to catch her.
Whenever your bichon gets wet, her poof-ball ears act like sponges, holding water near her ear canal. This increases the chance of water leaking into her ear canals and causing painful ear infections. Protect her ears before the bath begins by placing a single cotton ball just inside her outer ear canal, where the cartilage first appears squiggly. Remove the cotton balls after her bath once she's thoroughly dry.
A shower hose is essential for bathing your bichon. The maneuverability and pressure of a shower hose allows you to thoroughly saturate her densely textured double coat in a way that's difficult to achieve by pouring water over her coat with a cup or using a sponge. Shampoo and conditioner residue are especially irritating to your bichon's sensitive skin, and it can be hard to remove all the residue without the directed pressure of a shower hose. Note that a shower hose is a removable shower head or something similar, not a standard garden hose.
The type of dog shampoo you use depends on your pooch and your grooming preferences. As a breed, bichons are prone to dry, sensitive skin, so if your pup has allergies or is generally sensitive to chemicals, you'll want to choose a dog shampoo without any dyes or perfumes. If for some reason your bichon is more tolerant of chemicals, scents and dyes, and you want to whiten her coat, choose a dog whitening shampoo specifically created to refresh the dingy fur around your pup's mouth and feet.
In addition to dry skin, your Bichon's dense bristly hair is also prone to dryness and tangles. Massage a detangling, moisturizing conditioner throughout your bichon's entire coat and let it sit for three to five minutes before rinsing her thoroughly with the shower hose. Conditioning her coat during every bath will make it much easier to brush and comb when you're drying and brushing her after her bath.
Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.