When you bathe your dog, dirt and debris are removed from their fur, which helps them look and smell their best. In this post, our Stockton veterinarians discuss how often you should bathe your dog and explain how to make the bathing process as smooth as possible for you and your pup.
How Often Should I Wash & Bathe My Dog?
While bathing your dog regularly is important, you don't want to do it too often since it can cause dryness, skin irritations and other issues. So, how often should you bathe your dog?
The answer to this question will depend on a variety of factors, including your dog's health status, coat type and lifestyle.
Dogs that have longer coats tend to accumulate more dirt and debris in their fur, meaning they'll need more baths (about once a month depending on how dirty they get), whereas dogs with shorter fur may only need a bath once every 3 months.
Is your dog active? If he enjoys playing in the mud and dirt, he'll need more baths than pooches that spend most of their time indoors.
You may also consider giving your dog a bath if they have oily fur, or if they are covered in dirt and mud. Just remember not to bathe them excessively.
Some dogs have specific health conditions or allergies. In these cases, your vet may recommend bathing your pooch more or less often.
If you are unsure how often you should give your pooch a bath, once every 2 to 3 months is a good starting point. That said, it's always best to ask your veterinarian, who can assess your dog's specific needs and discuss them with you.
Why Should I Bathe My Dog?
While dogs are usually very good at giving themselves a bath, sometimes they'll need extra help, especially if they like to roll in the mud, swim in lakes, or their fur tends to get naturally oily.
Here are a handful of reasons you should bathe your dog regularly. Not only will a bath help them smell better and reduce shedding, it can also strengthen the bond you have with your four-legged friend. Here is a list of reasons why it's important to give your dog routine baths:
- Helps prevent skin conditions
- Helps them smell better
- Remove dirt and debris from their fur
- Reduces shedding
Bathing your dog also gives you the opportunity to monitor your dog's health and look for any signs of arising conditions such as redness, swelling, or unusual bumps on their ears, paws, nails, or skin. You even have a chance to check for external parasites such as fleas, mites, and ticks. If you see any of these unusual signs or external parasites call your vet and schedule an appointment.
How To Bathe Your Dog
Knowing how to bathe your dog and being prepared for the task can make the process easier for both you and your canine companion. Here we have provided you with a step-by-step guide on how to bathe your dog at home.
- Pick where you want to bathe your dog, it can be a sink, tub, patio, or kiddie pool. Make sure to bathe them in the same place every time so they know what to expect.
- Gather the supplies you need such as a slip-resistant mat (if you are using a tub), a brush, scrubber, and a shampoo that is specially formulated for dogs. Never use human shampoo or conditioner on your pup because it can irritate their skin. Your vet will be able to inform you which shampoo will be best for your pooch.
- Start by brushing your dog's fur from head to tail to loosen dirt, and remove knots and mats.
- Use lukewarm water when washing your dog (never use hot water) and keep the water out of your dog's face.
- Talk to your dog in a calm and soothing voice, pet them often, and offer praise and treats when they are behaving. If your dog starts to resist and struggle, wait for them to calm down again before continuing.
- Lather and massage the shampoo all over your dog's body, be sure not to get any in their eyes, ears, or face. You can start at their paws and work your way up to the head, to provide fewer opportunities for the shampoo to run into their face.
- Rinse your dog from head to tail. Continue rinsing in this pattern until you have gotten all of the soap out of your dog's skin because any soap left behind can cause irritation.
- Dry your dog well with a warm, clean towel to help your dog air-dry faster.
- Let your dog's fur air-dry. Don't use hot blow dryers that are designed for human hair because they can be too hot for your dog's skin. If you'd like, you can use a blow dryer designed for dogs' that operate at a lower temperature.
- Reward your dog. They have made it through the bathing process, give your dog a treat, lots of praise, and maybe even some playtime!
When Should I Bring My Dog to the Groomers?
If your dog doesn't like baths and they try to fight you every time you try to get them into the tub, it might be best to take your pup to a groomer. Professional groomers have the tools and training they need to bathe dogs of all breeds, sizes, and temperaments safely.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.