bathing your dog

Is it that time again? Time to give your dog a bath.  Whether you do the washing inside the house or out in the backyard, bathing your dog may be troublesome so try to make it a fun and hopefully a tolerable experience for both you and your pooch. Bath time is not only great for your dog’s hygiene but it’s also a great opportunity to give your dog the once over checking for fleas, bumps and other abnormalities.

While dogs don’t require a daily scrub like us humans do, they do need regular baths – but just how regular depends on several factors, such as the dog’s environment and type of coat.

Dogs that love to dig, run through the mud and roll around in who knows what will definitely need more regular bathing than dogs that spend most of their days relaxing indoors.

It’s important though to avoid bathing too regularly as it can strip your dog’s coat of natural oils, causing a dry coat and irritated skin.

Most breeds of dog will benefit from and should tolerate a monthly bath. Depending on the length of their coat the frequency of baths may need to differ.

·       Dogs with longer coats are more likely to trap dirt and debris in their coats which will increase the need for cleaning.

·       Dogs with oily coats, such as Basset Hounds may even need bathing as frequently as once a week.

·       Breeds such as Beagles and Weimaraners that have short, smooth coats and will be fine if less frequent bathing.

·       Breeds with water repellent coats such as Golden Retrievers and Poodles should be bathed less often to preserve their natural oils.

·       Dogs with thick, double coats, such as Samoyeds and Malamutes will need fewer baths but lots of extra brushing to get rid of loose hair and distribute their natural oils to help keep their skin and coat healthy.

At a minimum, it is advised to bathe you dog at least once every three months. The best way to tell when its bath time though, is the good old sniff test. If your puppy is on the nose it’s time to get the water running.

Can dogs use human shampoo?

While human shampoo will make your dog clean, it is not ideal as, dogs’ skin and human skin have a very different pH balance. According to the American Kennel Club, human skin has a normal pH balance of 5.5-5.6, which is on the acidic side. Dogs, on the other hand, have a normal pH balance of 6.2-7.4, which is more neutral.

Skin has a thin layer called the acid mantel which protects the layers of skin below from harmful contaminants such as bacteria and viruses. The acid mantle also plays a role in keeping the body hydrated by absorbing water and reducing evaporation. Changing the pH balance can damage the acid mantle causing dry, flaky skin that can make dogs prone to scratching and making the skin open to contaminants. Dog shampoos are specially formulated to accommodate for the pH requirements of a dogs’ skin and are therefore the best choice when it comes to doggy bath time.

Where should I wash my dog?

girl bathing your dog in the bath

With puppies and small breed dogs, a laundry tub is a perfect place for bathing your dog.  Larger dogs can be washed in the bath tub or even the shower. If you want to avoid indoor wash ups for your pooch it can also be done easily outside.  A large plastic tub or even a kiddie pool can make for a great outdoor bath area. If it’s a particularly warm day your dog may not mind using the garden hose, but in general they will enjoy bath time a lot more if the water is lukewarm.  Remember not too hot though.  Think of what would be a good temperature for a newborn baby.

Bathing your Dog Pet Care

Bath time tips

·       Before you start bathing your dog, give them a good brush to remove any loose hair and brush out any matted sections.

·       Putting a cotton ball into your dog’s ears before bathing your dog can help keep the water out, helping to prevent ear infections and irritation.

·       Once your dog is all wet it’s time to lightly lather the soap in a circular motion, paying particular attention to their paws and other dirt prone areas.  Start by washing their feet, working your way upwards to washing their face last of all.

·       Then rinse, starting with the head and working your way down until the water runs clear.  This method will help to stop the shampoo from dripping into your dog’s eyes and ears.

·       Slick off excess water and then towel dry your dog.  You can then either air dry or use a low heat hair dryer for the final dry off.  It’s important that the heat of the hair dryer is not too high as it can cause itching and dandruff.

Bathing your Dog Pet Care

When the task of washing and drying is finally done, reward your dog with something special for his cooperation (maybe a new toy!!!). Well, hopefully you got some sort of cooperation.

Do you have any special tricks for getting them into the tub? What’s your technique for bathing your dog? Let us know in the comments below!

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