Bathing your dog at home seems like huge work, especially if you have a dog that sprints off to nowhere on the slightest mention of a bath. But bathing your dog doesn’t have to be rocket science and learning how to do it at home means fewer visits to professional groomers.
If you let your dog decide, he’d rather skip bath time but bathing is important for your dog’s coat and skin health. While there are dogs who make do with a simple wash, rinse and dry, bathing can be a whole work if you put matting and knots, impacted fur, hot spots, or ear infections into the equation.
Here are a few tips and tricks on how to bathe your dog!
How often should you wash your dog?
How often you should bathe your dog depends on a lot of factors, such as their coat type, skin sensitivity, medical needs, and how quickly they get dirty or smelly.
If your dog has a healthy coat and normal skin, a bath once a month would suffice. If you bathe a dog too frequently, you are stripping the natural oils off your dog’s skin and coat, damaging their fur.
Factor 1: Coat type
Some dogs are just lucky and don’t require frequent baths because of the natural oil that helps their fur from absorbing unpleasant smells. Siberian Husky’s coat falls under this category, however, they need regular brushing to prevent dead fur from building up that can cause overheating.
Smooth coats, like Pitbulls or Greyhounds, don’t require frequent baths as well. Their furs are easy to maintain and all you need to do is wipe them clean between their bath schedules.
Short and smooth-double coats present in Labrador Retrievers and Rottweilers need frequent brushing. By having a regular brushing schedule, you can also extend their bathing time.
Dogs with Silky coats, usually found in dog breeds like the Yorkshire Terrier or Poodles require not only regularly scheduled baths but haircuts, as well. Depending on how fast and how long their coat grows, a full grooming session is needed every four to twelve weeks.
Factor 2: Skin sensitivity and medical needs
When your dog has allergies or sensitive skin caused by a medical condition, discuss a bathing schedule with your veterinarian.
Dogs with sensitive skin might be undergoing treatments and will need frequents baths with their prescription shampoo to recover. However, once their skin has recovered, bathing them too frequently might lead to the stripping of natural oil and result in irritation.
If your dog has environmental allergies, such as grass, pollen, and dust, bathing frequently is the best way to remove any allergens.
In these cases (skin sensitivity and allergies), it is best to consult your veterinarians first so you know what works for your dog.
Factor 3: Dog’s Lifestyle
If your dog is a working dog that loves adventurer life, such as hiking and running, needs more bathing time than dogs who only stays at home. More especially, if they enjoy rolling in the mud. Owners who allow their dogs inside the house, and even sleeps with them, often bathe frequently.
Where should I wash my dog?
Small dog breeds are easier to bathe. Because of their size, they can be bathed in the sink or your laundry tub. But if you own a bigger dog that is not sink-friendly, you might need to use the shower and bathe them with a detachable nozzle.
If you don’t want to mix your and your dog’s bathing area, you can always purchase a portable doggy tub. You have a lot of options to choose from, depending on what fits and suits your dog the most. Some doggy tubs are heavy-duty and made with durable plastic, while some are collapsible and convenient.
If your little guy had too much with the puddle of mud at the park, use a garden hose. However, only do this occasionally and if the weather is appropriate. By default, dogs don’t like being cold.
How to bathe my dog?
Once you have everything prepared and have talk yourself into giving your dog a bath at home, it’s time to get on with it.
Brush first. Brush your dog’s fur first to rid of matted hair. If you don’t, you are risking irritated skin since matted hair holds water. If you can’t brush the matted hair out yourself, it’s time to bring your dog to the professional groomers.
Use the right temperature. Just like how hot water burns our skin, a dog’s skin can easily be burned too. Your dog’s bath water should never be hotter than that of a human baby. IF you have a large-breed dog, who is more prone to heatstroke, run their bath water a little cooler.
Talk to your dog in a calm voice. Some dogs treat bathing time as the bane of their existence. Talking to them in an assuring and calm voice will eventually teach them that bathing is not punishment.
Use dog shampoo. Casual dog owners who don’t take the time to know their dog would often use human shampoos, not knowing that this dries their skin. Use dog shampoo to lather and massage your dog’s body. Be careful not to get shampoo in their eyes.
Rinse well and air-dry. Unwashed soap can irritate your dog’s skin so make sure to rinse them well. If needed, you can rinse them repeatedly and as much as you like. Once you have removed all soap in their body, let it air-dry. A human blow-dryer can be too hot for your dog’s skin.
Rewards. Giving your dog a treat and lots and lots of praising will teach them that bathing time is a good activity and once they have fully understood this, your next bathing session won’t be as difficult as the first one.
When to go to the professional groomers?
Some dog breeds require the help of professional groomers. Dogs like Poodles, Yorkies, and Maltese has hair that grows long. They don’t shed as much but they grow longer and longer as weeks go by.
Aside from that, if you find yourself feeling like you’ve run a marathon after wrestling your dog into the bath, consider sending them to the groomers. Aside from bathing them, groomers will go the extra way to clip their nails, trim the hair near the eyes, and appropriately dry them off.