Use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) plug. There is nothing to it as long as you have a GFCI plug and buy a GFCI switch. You can do it without those, but I would not put my dog in the tub without them.
This is an email I sent out a year or two ago. Also Rev Oakes is a wiz at grooming problems and techniques. A lot of my "technique" came from her experience with the Collie rescue mission of a few years ago.
A commercial HydroSurge costs about $500 from a grooming or pet care catalog under the names "Bathing Beauty", etc. Here is how I made my own hydrosurge for about $65.
- 1/6 hp submersible sump pump from Menards ($45)
- 6 feet of garden hose (it's an extension for putting the hose closer to the faucet if you have a bush or something in the way; it has fittings on both ends. You can make your own by buying a piece of garden hose, cutting it and adding the fittings, but I found it was cheaper to just buy the shorter piece. (A regular garden hose screws into the top of the sump pump.) ($10)
- "fireman's nozzle" type hose end sprayer from Menards; adjustable, so you can make it more or less intense ($9)
- nylon stocking
Make sure you have a hair-catcher in the drain, because a LOT of hair is going to come off during this bath. Even on a non- shedding dog like a poodle there is a lot of dead hair wrapped up in the live hair, and it WILL come out. Pull the nylon stocking over the bottom of the pump to keep the hair out of the pump.
[editor's note: If you set this up with a Booster Bath raised bathtub, you can use a nylon stocking and a hose-end clamp to catch the hair from the water as it drains from the tub into the bucket with the pump to be recirculated. To use this set up with a Booster Bath bathtub, start with the pump submerged in a five or seven gallon bucketful of water positioned so that the water draining out of the tub goes back into the bucket.]
I also got a foot switch for a remote plug so I can turn it off and on from the tub without having to go across the room to unplug it.($10- with GFCI protection) There is no "on/off" switch on the sump pump.
Make sure you plug the whole thing into a GFCI plug just to be safe.
To do a bath with this, keep the washer oriented so that it is going WITH the grain of the hair, same with the dryer. This prevents further tangles from forming, and keeps you from damaging the hair or skin.
You are re-circulating the water, and the first go-round is dirty, but using a tiny bit of shampoo keeps the dirt from re- settling on the hair. You only need an inch or two of water in the tub to do this with about a teaspoon of shampoo. Get it thoroughly through the coat for a few minutes (a 1/6 hp sump is spitting out 20 gallons of water a minute) then rinse out the hair and the tub with clear water. Refill the tub (1-2" of warm water and a teaspoon of shampoo) shampoo with this for a few minutes. Then rinse the dog and the tub again and repeat with shampoo.
I do one round with a tiny bit of conditioner (like a teaspoon) and run that through for a few minutes. The water should all be coming off the dog clean by now. I rinse off the dog with some clear, fresh water with no conditioner, and voila! You're done. If there are mats or lots of dead hair (like a winter coat), leave the last conditioner rinse in and don't wash it out with the plain water. A little bit of conditioner will help get mats and dead hair out.
Then blow with an air force dryer and a sparingly use a very wide- tooth comb, or your fingers and ALL of the dead winter hair will blow out. I got every dead hair out of my Aussie--that's a LOT of hair 3-6" long--in less than 2 hours total.
Very easy and comfortable for both of us.
-Theresa at Bow Echo dot com