Power-washing Dogs

A fast and light washing program for dogs that swim a lot.
Because our dogs swim a lot (and often in saltwater), we found ourselves rinsing them down frequently to remove the salt and dirt from their coats. However, sometimes rinsing alone does not remove the algae and funk. We found that frequent traditional bathing tended to dry out coats and skin, so we have developed a system to quickly clean coats and skin. We are now not afraid to "power-wash" multiple times per week based on our experience with the results.
This is NOT really power-washing, per se..but a hose-spraying method.

We've used this on our dogs for several years and friends have had their dogs power-washed here to clean them up after "swimmies". We've used it on dogs as young as 11 months and old hairy veterans. Dogs should be introduced to hose spraying before this is attempted.    Printable version
We use a "Garden Green© Fertilizer and Weed Sprayer". This is a hose attachment that screws right onto the end of a garden hose. The dispenser is designed to take concentrated liquid fertilizer, mix it with water, then spray it over large areas of the ground. It can be purchased new (never had any chemicals in it) at most home and garden stores. We mark is so it won't be mistakenly used (contaminated) with gardening or car cleaning products.
We use a shampoo concentrate. We have found (through trial and error) that about 2-3 oz. (but no more than 4 oz.) of concentrate makes the correct solution strength in the 26 oz dispenser. The dispenser further dilutes the shampoo as it is applied so you are really putting a very light shampoo on the dog. This is desirable for weekly (or bi-weekly) washing but if you were using this for heavier duty bathing you probably want a slightly more concentrated solution. If you use a regular-strength dog shampoo, you will probably have to play with the concentrations to get it right. You want visible but thin suds when dispensed.
The dispenser can control the flow itself, but we put it on a hose-end sprayer for better control. The dispenser has a little 3-position switch on top: "off", "water" and "on". The last one dispenses shampoo. Because this is a restriction on the end of the hose, it streams the water. We have found it very easy to manage flow so we don't scare dogs that haven't been power washed before. The stream is actually fairly gentle.
You simply turn on the "water" to wet the dog down, and then turn the dispenser to "on" to dispense some shampoo. The correct concentration should dispense thin by foamy suds.

The spray is much gentler than it appears from the photos and most dogs tolerate it very well. (Notice how relaxed the dog appears to be).
For thicker coats, you will want to work it in a bit with your hands.
Then you simply turn the dispenser back to "water" to rinse the shampoo out of the coat. This goes really fast and powers out saltwater, mud, dead hair, and other filth.

If you only have a cold water hose, you probably want to wet down and rinse young dogs (<8 mo old that might have little body fat or condition) with (containers of) warm water.
After toweling off, we brush in a (spray-on) leave-in conditioner/lusterizer (while the dog is still wet) so the skin and coat don't dry out.

We have never experienced any of the flaking, itching, or skin rashes associated with salt-water damage OR over-bathing since we started using this system.
Good Luck, have fun with it....and don't hesitate to email with questions!

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