It all begins with a bath. Your Jack Russell should have wash off every one to four weeks, depending on your dog’s activity level. Dogs who are more active or often outdoors usually require more frequent bathing. It is important not to over-wash your dog. The oils produced by your dog’s skin are essential to health of the coat.
Choosing Your Shampoo
Choosing the correct shampoo is an absolute must. Determine what your dog’s specific needs are. Does your dog have fleas? Is your dog’s skin dry and flaking? Does your dog have allergies or skin sensitivities? If you’re not sure what shampoo to use, ask your veterinarian.
The most common type of shampoo used by groomers is an oatmeal shampoo. These shampoos are generally mixed with baking soda, which deodorizes your dog’s skin and coat. The oatmeal itself helps to soothe itchy skin and provide extra moisture to the coat.
Jack Russell’s are notoriously stubborn. The trick to making back time easy is to make it fun for your dog. Keep your dog’s favorite treats by the tub. Make sure they have been cut into smaller pieces you your best friend doesn’t get overfed. You’ll want to reward your dog for sitting still and allowing you to reach certain areas.
To signal that they’ve done a good job, say the word “yes” as soon as the action is completed. Do not reward unwanted behavior in an attempt to coax your dog into behaving. Only give the reward when the action has been completed. Patience is a must for bathing!
Make sure the water is lukewarm. Your dog’s body temperature is higher than yours, so cold water will feel colder to them, and hot water can cause serious damage. Use the most delicate parts of your arm to gauge the temperature, such as the soft skin of your inner forearm or the back of your hand. The water should be a degree or two cooler than what you find comfortable.
Scrubbing the Pup in the Tub
The lathering part of the bath will be the most enjoyable for your friend. Gently scrub your dog with your fingertips, not your nails, so as not to irritate his skin. Rub in all directions. Apply shampoo liberally. Make this time about you petting and massaging you dog. Your pup will sit still for a longer amount of time if you take his mindset from bath time to play time. He will love the attention.
The next step in rinsing. This will be the most trying part of the bath for both you and your dog. When the pets are over and its back to bath time, your Jack Russell may become impatient. Do not forget about those treats! Reward your dog when he sits it stands patiently while you rinse. While applying water with one hand, rub the shampoo out of the coat with the other.
It is very important that you remove all shampoo! Any shampoo left on the coat can irritate the skin and cause hotspots or infections. Try the Squeak Test: after rinsing, rub a section of fur between your fingers. If the fur squeaks, then it is clean.
Conditioner is optional. If your dog has a drier coat, this may be beneficial. Always make sure that you choose products that address your dog’s specific needs.
After the Bath
Dry those ears!! Use a cotton ball to remove any water that may have entered the ear canal during the bath. NOTE: DO NOT USE A Q-TIP. Never put anything in your dog’s ear further than the ear leather. If you cannot see exactly where it is going, it doesn’t belong there!
It is very important to towel-dry your dog as much as possible. They will do a lot of drying by themselves while running around your home and rubbing themselves of every single surface. Towel drying lifts the fur and absorbs the excess liquid. It allows more air to reach the skin, making the air-dry time faster.
Smooth or Wiry?
Once your dog is dry, it’s time to brush! Even smooth-coated dogs need brushing from time to time! The tools you use will depend on the coat type of your dog.
Does your dog’s fur lay completely flat against his body? Then he has a smooth coat! These coats require minimal upkeep, but brushing removes shedding fur and distributes the skin’s natural oils through the coat. To do this, use a rubber curry brush.
Wiry coats require a different approach. Wiry coats can grow long, so brushing is necessary at least twice a week to prevent matting. Pay attention to those problem areas! Make sure you get your dog’s legs, feet, tail, and underside. These areas have the most sensitive skin, and are the most prone to matting. Your tool of choice is the slicker brush. Because these brushes are metal, make sure you don’t apply too much pressure, as you could injure the sensitive skin.
Shedding and Your Dog
Shedding occurs when the dog’s undercoat falls out. This coat keeps your dog cool in the winter and helps his to regulate his body temperature. When the light from the sun increases, this extra coat falls out to allow the heat to reach the skin. Shedding happens year round from light to moderate fallout, but around the spring and summer, it can sometimes look like your dog is shedding an entire other dog!
To deal with shedding, first find a deshedding shampoo that will meet the specific needs of your pet. For dogs that shed a lot, you will need to buy shampoo. It doesn’t necessary need to be deshedding shampoo, as all shampoos strengthen the hair follicles. Increase the amount of brush time your dog gets. You should aim for every day.
That’s it! You are all set for bath time! Remember to be patient and calm. Your dog will respond to your energy. Reward your friend for their cooperation, and bath time will become a breeze!