Thursday, April 11, 2013

Shih-tzu hate taking showers, but love having clean bodies!

Furbee and Sophie love laying beside each other, but they really enjoy it when they've both been cleaned with a fresh shower. Sometimes it depends on who needs a bath more, but Sophie is a very cooperative ragdoll that makes cleaning easier than Furbee because Furbee dislikes water near his head or rear-end.
Before any water is turned-on and warmed to a nice, warm temperature, their fur is combed-out to remove snags and tangles. Once their fur has been combed-out - the shower water should be warmed to a temp the dogs can handle. Furbee has a low tolerance for warm water because to him it's hotter as he has a smaller body than we humans so he is bathed with relatively cooler water, but Sophie doesn't complain and she's bathed with the same warmth preferred by temperate humans.
After a refreshing rinse, the babies are lathered from tail-to-head using a Cedar shampoo which is applied with therapeutically (for the shih-tzus and I) massaging strokes that helps promote healthy circulation and good, general health. This opportunity is used to identify any abnormal growths or scabs that may have occurred since their last bath, but it's also a way to find and remove fox-tails, splinters, thorns, or any other noticeable health hazards.
After rinsing the lathered shampoo completely, the anal gland is checked for 'expression fluid' which is removed from the exterior of the anus by feeling for what feels like tiny, round marbles on either side below their anus; the tail is manually lifted and held in-place, the anus is pointed towards a poop-spray-safe wall-like surface and the little sacs are gently squeezed from bottom-to-top until the sacs are drained. A successful anal-gland expression should stink worse than anything you've ever smelled - so don't get it on your skin or any surface that is not easy to clean. Immediately clean and sterilize any surfaces touched by the anal gland fluid. Sometimes the fluid is pearlescent; other times it's mustard-like, but in all cases it smells horrible. The best way to know whether your dog's anal gland needs to be expressed is to feel it from the outside, but another indicator is if your dog is scooting their butt on the floor; they are not just 'wiping' their butt on the floor to upset you - their butt is probably upsetting them and they perform the routine to provide relief. A simple expression will usually solve this.

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