Raise your hand if you're that pet parent who's had to wrestle your dog or cat into the tub or shower for a bath. Is it really necessary to put your pet through the stress? Well, that depends.
If your pet is healthy and free of medical conditions, say, an allergic skin disease, for example, he most likely won't need regular baths, unless they're outside frequently. Most dogs and cats take care of their grooming needs on their own. A good rule of thumb to go by - if you can smell your pet when it walks into a room, he needs a bath. Deciding how often and which products you use for bath time depends on several factors. Some breeds with thick, shedding hair require both soakings, brushing and combing before, during and after the bath; while other pets can be brushed, bathed and dried off fairly quickly. Take some time to research your pet's breed so you understand their coat and skin needs and are prepared with the right products. If your pet has a medical condition, be sure to speak with your veterinarian about the best products to use.
Cats can bring a whole other set of challenges, and it's best to be well prepared before committing to the bath. Think about scheduling the bath when your cat is most relaxed or tired from play. Lay a rubber mat or thick towel in the bottom of the sink or tub to avoid your cat slipping. Fill the sink with three to four inches of lukewarm water before you put your cat in, and use a gentle hand-held spray to thoroughly wet them. Follow up right away with a diluted pet shampoo (1 part shampoo to 5 parts water) and massage gently from shoulder to tail. Using lukewarm water, rinse all the shampoo off, taking care to remove all soapy residue. Use a facecloth or small towel to clean your cat's face and voila! When done, wrap your cat in a large, fluffy towel and dry him in a warm place.