Wet the coat
Turn the water on slowly and adjust the temperature and water pressure before ever turning the water on the pet. The temperature should be lukewarm, not hot and not too cool. Shampoo works best with lukewarm water, and your pet will be more comfortable if the water is warm. Hold the spray nozzle as close to the coat as possible, about one inch from the coat. This way the pet is not frightened and you get the deepest penetration of water into the coat. Completely soak the pet’s coat to the skin. Start with the hindquarters and work to the front of the pet.
The head should be the last thing you wet. The flow of water must be gentle, and it should never be sprayed directly into the pet’s face. Slightly lift the face so that the water runs down the back of the head instead of into the eyes or nose. Use your fingers to help move the water around the eyes, nose, and mouth.
Shampoo the coat
Being systematic ensures you thoroughly cover the entire pet. Start with the hindquarters and work to the front of the pet, leaving the head for last. A tearless shampoo should be used on the face. Make certain you work the shampoo through the hair to the skin. Don’t just wash the top of the coat. A rubber brush can be used on breeds with shorter hair to help work the shampoo down into the coat. If the pet has especially long hair, massage the coat in the direction of hair growth so the hair doesn’t tangle.
Wash areas that need special attention
Areas that are often neglected are between the pads, under the stomach, under the tail, under the neck, in facial wrinkles, and the ear leather (flap). A rubber brush can help remove feces or any other matter that may be clinging to the hair.
Rinse very well
Again, check the temperature of the water. When rinsing, start with the head and hand rinse the soap from the face. Continue to rinse the rest of the pet, using your free hand to knead the soap out of the coat. Any soap left in the coat will dull the coat and cause a skin irritation.
Apply a moisturizer, if needed
Moisturizing treatments are designed to seal in the moisture from the pet’s own skin. These can be used on a regular basis for pets that are prone to dry skin or dandruff. In most cases, the solution is massaged into the skin after bathing and left on the coat.
Dry the pet
Once the pet has been bathed, squeeze the excess water out of the coat with your hands. Blot the excess moisture from the coat using a clean towel. Do not vigorously rub the coat of a longhaired dog. Shorthaired dogs can have their coats towel dried in a circular motion. Remove the cotton from the ears and use the towel to absorb any moisture in the ear.
Many breeds with long, flowing coats will have a better look and texture to the hair if they are fluff dried. These include the Poodle, Bichon Frise, Old English Sheepdog, Afghan Hound, and Maltese, for example. Use a blow dryer on the low setting. When working on the head, never direct the flow of air into the pet’s face.
Vaccination for Pets
Puppies do have an immune system of their own at birth, but it is not fully developed. Thus nature has arranged for them to acquire some protective antibodies from their mothers. These are called passive antibodies since they have not been produced by the puppy itself. A modicum of passive “Maternal antibody" passes to the puppy while it is still in the uterus, but most comes via the colostrums, the first milk from the dam. Antibodies to disease in the colostrums can only be absorbed by puppies for the first day or so after birth and that time can be much shorter. It is obvious therefore that when the litter is very large or the whelping is prolonged, the early puppies are going to have more opportunity to get colostrums than those born later, so the ability to resist disease may vary between the members of the litter. The antibodies which the mother passes to her puppies will be to those diseases which she herself has encountered or been vaccinated against. If she has lived a very isolated or protected existence, never met other dogs, and has never been vaccinated, she will have no protection to pass on, and her puppies will be vulnerable to all the infectious canine diseases from their earliest days. Although the mother will pass on protective immunity through the colostrums, this type of protection will fade quite soon – in fact the amount in the blood halves each week, so the puppy must develop its own antibodies either by encounter with disease or by vaccination if it is to be protected for the rest of its life.
Most disease–causing organisms consist mainly of proteins. A healthy body is quick to detect proteins foreign to itself and to set about rejecting them by the production of specific antibodies to the invader. These active antibodies (i.e. they are created by the animal itself) are produced by specialized white blood cells found mainly in the lymph nodes and spleen. The first time the body encounters a specific disease, or a vaccine, active antibodies may take as long as ten days to be produced, but next time that disease presents itself, memory cells come into action and antibodies are “Manufactured” very quickly, so that the disease does not have the chance to become established. This is why some diseases of man and animals occur only once in a lifetime. For example, measles in man is usually a once–only disease and once an attack has been survived, there will be life–long protection. Antibodies tend to be very specific and destroy only the microbe (the antigen) which stimulated their production. A blood sample taken from the dog and processed at a laboratory will show if the dog has antibodies to a particular disease circulating in the blood, and sophisticated techniques can often reveal whether the antibody has been made in response to a recent infection or has been present for some time. Antibody levels wane with time, but another encounter with the right antigen will cause a quick resurgence of production.