When you bathe your dog, you are removing dirt and debris from their fur, helping them look and smell their best. Today, our Meadow Vista vets share how often you should bathe your dog and explain the bathing process to help make the experience as smooth as possible for you and your pup.
How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?
If you give your dog a bath regularly, you don't want to give him one too often as it can cause skin irritations, dryness and other conditions. What should you do to bathe your dog? The dog's health depends on a variety of factors, such as your dog's lifestyle, coat type, and health condition.
Dogs with longer coats tend to get more dirt and debris stuck in their fur, requiring more baths (approximately once a month depending on how dirty they get), whereas dogs with shorter fur may only need a bath once every 3 months.
Those dogs that spend most of their time indoors will need more baths if they are active and enjoy playing in the mud and dirt.
You can also give your dog a bath if they are covered in mud and dirt, if they smell, or if they have oily hair. Just remember not to overdo it!
If your dog has an allergy or a specific health condition, your vet may tell you that your dog needs to be bathed more or less often.
If you are unsure how often you should give your pup a bath, it is a good guide to follow once every 2 or 3 months. However, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian, who will be able to provide you with specific bathing needs.
Why Should I Bathe My Dog?
Dogs are generally very good at giving themselves a bath, but there are still times when they need extra help, especially if they like to roll in the mud, swim in lakes, or their fur tends to get naturally oily.
There are a number of reasons why you should bathe your dog regularly, from helping them smell better and reducing their shedding to strengthening the bond you have with your dog. It's important to give your dog routine baths for a number of reasons.
- It removes dirt and debris from their fur
- Helps prevent skin conditions
- Reduces shedding
- Helps them smell better
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 dog. You can find 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 dislikes baths, and they try to fight you every time you try to get them into the tub, it might be best to take them to a groomer. Licensed professional groomers have the tools and training they need to bathe dogs of all breeds, sizes, and temperaments safely.
At Meadow Vista Veterinary Clinic we offer professional grooming for dogs. On request, we can also provide your pooch with nail trimmings, de-shedding treatments, teeth brushing, ear cleaning, hair cuts, and more.