Bathing Tip: Make Sure Your Puppy Doesn’t Go Down the Drain!

Just when I thought we dog owners had heard every safety warning imaginable, up popped a new one that had never even occurred to me: that you have to make sure your little dog doesn’t slip down your bathtub drain!

Common sense would tell me that puppies and small dogs be washed in a plastic tub in the kitchen sink, like we do with human infants, which keeps them safe from slipping and sliding. A tub bath in the sink makes it more pleasant and less overwhelming for a pup or get wet and get suds-ed up. She has you right there, nearly eye to eye, and it’s easier on your back, too — plus, if you have a sprayer on your kitchen sink you can do a gentler and more thorough rinsing job.

In The Dog Bible I recommend that people rinse and shampoo their dogs regularly, always using gentle shampoos with the pH formulated especially for dogs (like Halo’s Cloud Nine shampoo, which I dilute in an applicator bottle so that it goes on more evenly and rinses out more easily). I also wrote that it’s good to get a dog used to being bathed from puppy-hood, or at whatever age she is adopted, and making it a positive experience for the dog so it is pleasant for both of you.

But there’s a Yorkshire Terrier puppy in Fort Erie who has a long way to go to think good thoughts about getting a bath! Apparently not everyone thinks the sink is the most logical place to give a puppy or toy dog her bath. An unusual news story came out of Fort Erie, describing how their Fire Department received an unusual call for assistance from someone whose little Yorkie puppy’s leg got wedged in the bathtub drain. The Fire Department called the Fort Erie SPCA, who apparently came and gave a sedative to the frightened puppy, who was struggling unsuccessfully to get it out. He relaxed enough for the Fort Erie firefighters to cut out the area of the drainpipe where the paw was lodged and free him. The rescue squad and the SPCA took the opportunity to remind dog owners “to practice safety first when giving dogs — especially those with smaller, drainpipe-sized paws — a bath.”

Fortunately, the puppy wasn’t injured during the hour-long incident, but I’ll wager it will be quite some time before he’ll want to put so much as a paw into that bathroom again!

—Tracie Hotchner


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