Scrubbing the Pink Piggy Pup

As I commented in another blog, dog bath pictures may be the canine equivalent of your parents showing your baby photos to your date for the junior prom. But here goes…

Before the bath. Little did he know what was coming.

Before the bath. Little did he know what was coming.

Today was Max’s bath day. We usually scrub the Malt twice a week.

Now, I can almost hear some of you crying in dismay about that frequency and winding up the scream generators to give me a good old fashioned tongue lashing about dry dog skin, removing skin protecting oils, irritation to sensitive tissues, etc.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

The thing is, Max is a very itchy furball. Ever since his puppy days he has scratched and chewed and bitten himself incessantly. It’s an allergy issue. It’s brutal to watch.

I said "bath" and Max retreated to his hiding place under the bed, next to his dog stairs.

I said “bath” and Max retreated to his hiding place under the bed, next to his dog stairs.

The Alpha Japanese Female and I have spent a small fortune trying to decipher the allergy triggers.

Max had that test and this test and the other test too.

We know, for example, that he is not reactive to ever-bearing Siberian quince flowers or caviar and that pre-pubescent winter wheat grass mites are no problem either.

But after a gazillion splotches and scratches and other alchemies that made the Mercedes payments for several canine allergists, we still don’t know what causes the itchies. It is likely a mix of things, a toxic soup of chemicals and botanicals and for all I know, oxygen and sunlight.

When we brought Max to Hawaii from Utah and asked his new local vet about the problem the guy started laughing and said, “You guys are totally screwed now. A white dog with pink skin in Hawaii is victim to an astonishing array of skin irritants and allergy triggers simply because of our year-round warm, humid sub-tropical climate.”

Wet and ready for the scrubbing. Malts have pink skin so Max looks like a little pig when wet.

Wet and ready for the scrubbing. Malts have pink skin so Max looks like a little pig when wet.

We were almost resigned to a miserable fate for Fluff Stuff but after much research, trial and error we finally landed on a therapy that works at the 90%+ level in terms of providing the Malt with comfort.

It consists of twice weekly baths using Douxo, a chlorhexadrine shampoo and ResiCort, an anti-pruritic leave-on lotion which is also prescribed for cats and horses.

If we are diligent about the routine, Max is a happy pup who still scratches but does not engage in destructive chewing, pulling or gouging of his skin and fur.

This stuff made all the difference. Costs a lot but worth it for doggie comfort.

This stuff made all the difference. Costs a lot but worth it for doggie comfort.

So bath time is a near religious event in our tiny condo. It is my job to scrub the Malt.

The first trick is to catch him. Plucking him from his favored position on my easy chair and carrying him to the shower requires deft movements lest he escape and hide under the bed.

Sudsy! And trying to make a run for it.

Sudsy! And trying to make a run for it.

I start by dousing him with cool water and I use my hand to slowly wet his face.

Max doesn’t mind baths but he loathes having his face wet.

Then I soap him to the point he resembles a Sta-Puft Marshmallow Dog (note “Ghostbusters” reference) and scrub him from snout to tail.

The scrubbing lasts 10 minutes and, yes, I actually time it on my watch.

After a thorough rinse with cool water and a light pat dry, I apply the no-scratch lotion which has a pleasant peach fragrance that seems appropriate for the pink-skinned Pupperoni.

Drying in the sun.

Drying in the sun. Note 12 pack of Asahi beer behind him. Daddy gets his treats, too.

Finally a slurp of hyaluronic wash into the canals under the floppy ears and we are ready for a thorough toweling.

A well-deserved cookie reward.

A well-deserved cookie reward.

The post-wash cookie treat is the highlight for Max.

That, and a short nap in front of the air conditioner.

For the next couple days the Pupsicle will be comfy in his skin and then we’ll do it all over again.

21 replies

  1. Poor little chap, but i’m glad you’ve found the combination which eases him.
    You have my sympathy as we have to treat the Alsatian every week with a coal tar shampoo for his skin – and not only is he not very happy about this he can run faster than us…..


    • On occasion it will go longer. The minimum contact time for the shampoo to be effective is said to be 5 minutes but we have found a longer exposure produces better results. To while away the time as we scrub and scrub I have taken to singing “Waltzing Matilda” but substituting new lyrics such as “Washing the Maltese”. I am not proud to admit that.


  2. You are the best doggie daddy ever! My little Bichon, lily, is also a pink skinned white dog and she looks so funny in the bath. She quite likes sitting in warm bubbles and loves getting her blow dry afterwards. Poppy, the Cavachon, is another story… It’s a struggle to get her to stay put in the bath… The Great Escape themetune!


  3. Yeah , I know what you mean about that ‘look’ once you start running the water. Sam acts as if I offed his litter mates. Luckily I only have to do it when he goes for visits at the hospital. Fortunately his simple dog brain forgets all about it once he’s out of the tub and I remind myself as I spend the next hour cleaning up the bathroom how much worse it used to be when there were 3 large dogs in the house (two Old English Sheepdogs were Sam’s ‘brother & sister’ until they both passed at the ripe old age of 13). Now THOSE were the days-more like a 3 ring circus and I’m sure the clean-up took far longer than the actual baths.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We used to have an Old English Sheepdog. He was exceptionally friendly but a bit of a crazy mutt we picked up as a rescue dog. He had skin rashes and stole food and processed it plastic bag and all. His jaws didn’t meet up and when he shook slobber splattered all over the walls and anything in its path.


  4. I cannot begin to imagine what bathing two Old English Sheepdogs must have been like. Even Young English Sheepdogs are a handful, snork snork. I think I’d simply strap them to the hood and drive through the car wash.


  5. Wow. Max really gets the pampered pooch treatment. No garden hoses for him. WE haven’t needed to bath Lady since the dead fish incident and I think we have bathed our Border Collie once in 8 years. Speaking of the Border Collie, Bilbo is due for his summer trip to the salon. The poor mutt loses his beautiful thick woolly back coat and turns into a pale grey skinhead for summer. He looks dreadful and the excess blubber is much more evident. It’s like sticking the poor dog into a cat suit and every little bump stands out. However, given the heat of a Sydney summer, he is so much happier and doesn’t labour so much.


    • Let’s be a little more careful with those comments about “excess blubber”, OK? That hits close to home 🙂 Poor Max really needs the twice a week wash or he itches so badly it breaks your heart. On the other hand, unlike your Puplets, Max does not shed at all, no dog hair around the condo.


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