How To Bathe Your Dog
Most dogs would probably prefer to skip bath time, but being able to bathe your dog is very important. Giving your dog regular baths helps with the health and maintenance of their skin and coat.
Especially if you have a longer haired dog breed. Plus, if your dog has a proclivity for rolling in, er, less savoury things when out walking, bathing them is certainly going to be a necessity.
Here are a few frequently asked questions and basic of bathing your dog that you should familiarise yourself with.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog? – Now, it’s unlikely that your dog will need a daily bath – certain health issues, skin problems or an uncontrollable love for muddy puddles notwithstanding. The regularity of your dogs baths depend on their environment and type of coat.
Your vet or breeder can give you advice on how much bathing is appropriate for your individual dog.
But here are some general guidelines:
Once a month – is good enough for most dogs.
Oily coats – breeds such as Basset hounds, Newfoundland dogs, or Labrador Retrievers (to name a few) who have oily coats may require bathing once a week.
Short-Haired Breeds with smooth coats – such as Beagles do just fine with less frequent baths. Short-coated Basenjis are fastidious in their personal hygiene and rarely need a bath.
Breeds with water-repellent coats – such as Golden Retrievers and Great Pyrenees, should be bathed less often so as to preserve their natural oils.
Dogs with thick, double coats – such as Samoyeds, Malamutes, and other Northern breeds, do best with fewer baths and a lot of extra brushing, which gets rid of loose, dead hair and helps distribute natural oils that keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.
Of course, if your dog likes to go swimming, is obsessed with mud puddles, or lives in the country and does a lot of rolling in who-knows-what, then you may want to bathe more frequently than if that same dog lived in a condo in the ‘burbs.
That said, avoid bathing more often than truly necessary, or you’ll strip your dog’s coat of its natural oils, making it dry and more prone to dandruff, frizzies, and mats.
Some shampoos may dry or irritate the dog’s skin more than others, in which case you should bathe less often or try a different shampoo.
Basically, the best way to gauge when your dog needs a bath is to give them a good sniff. How do they smell to you? Not so good? Start running the water.
Where Should You Bathe Your Dog? – If you have a small dg such as a chihuahua or Yorkshire terrier, it’s pretty easy to wash your pooch. Just put them in the kitchen/bathroom sink and wash away!
If you have a larger dog though, you may need to use your bathtub or shower to get them clear. Bathing a dog actually takes up a lot of room and can get a little messy (!).
You can actually purchase portable dog bathtubs, much like portable baby tubs. Some of these tubs can be a little cumbersome but there are collapsible and light-weight ones too. These can be taken out on longer walks, hikes and even holidays. These “travel” bath tbs are also great if you have a smaller bathroom or limited space in your home, you can use them in the garden!
Using a garden hose is okay if the dog is truly filthy and the weather’s good but make it an occasional experience. Dogs don’t like being cold any more than we do, and many find being hosed down a frightening and uncomfortable experience.
How Should You Bathe Your Dog? – If you have a dog who find bathing stressful or frightening, try playing some of our Relax My Dog music whilst bathing them. It can really help keep them calm and at ease.
Brush Your Dog. It’s best to give your pooch a brush down because bathing them. This will reduce dander and loose hair rom clogging up the plughole and make your job slightly easier! This is also useful if your dog has matted fur – matts hold on to water can irritate your dogs skin.
Use Lukewarm Water. This might seem like an obvious one, but dogs skin is different to ours. It’s a lot more sensitive to temperature. Hot water that might make a lovely bath for us can scald your pooch. Bath water should never be hotter than what you’d run for a human baby. Keep it even cooler for large-breed dogs who can easily overheat.
Talk To Your Dog in a Calm Tone. Some dogs may learn that bath time is actually quite enjoyable, but the whole ordeal can be a bit stressful for some. Talking to them calmly can help your do understand that you’re not, in fact, torturing them. This also when our Relaxing music can really help you out!
Use Dog Shampoo. It’s tempting to just use the products you have in your bathroom. But it is vitally important that you, as dog owners, only ever use dog-specific products on your pet. This includes toothpaste, sunscreen, and other things.
Dog shampoo is designed to dry out your dog’s skin less than human shampoo. Work the shampoo into a gentle lather and massage it all over your dog’s body, being careful not to get soap in their eyes.
Rinse Well. Any soap left in their fur can irritate your dog’s skin once they’re dry. Rinse, rinse, and repeat the rinse.
Air-Dry Their Coat. As mentioned before, anything like a hair dryer will be far too hot for your dogs skin. You could really hurt/scare them by using something that hot and loud!
Towel-dry your pooch after their rinse then let them air-dry the rest of the way.
You can purchase hair dryers specially for dogs that blow at a much lower temperature. But there’s nothing wrong with letting your dog dry in the air – providing they are not out in the freezing cold!
Reward Your Dog. Follow up with lots and lots of praise, petting, or playtime. Many a damp dog loves to vent their frustration over bath time by playing boisterous tug-of-war with the bath towel — or just running away with it — when it’s all over. If you don’t want to encourage this kind of behaviour, their favourite treat will work just as well!
Please do bear in mind that everything in this post is strictly advisory and has been gathered from various reputable sources from the internet. We’re not vets, and you should always seek professional advice if you ever have concerns.