Giving your dog a bath removes dirt and debris from their fur and helps them smell their best and look their healthiest. Here, our Murfreesboro vets explain how often you should bathe your dog and offer tips on how to make the bathing process as smooth as possible - for you and your pooch.
How often should I wash my dog?
While it's important to bathe your dog on a regular basis, we recommend not doing it too often since it can cause dryness, irritation to the skin and other conditions. So, how often should you bathe your dog? There is no singular correct answer to this question, as the answer for your dog will depend on numerous factors such as their lifestyle, health condition and type of coat.
Dirt and debris tend to accumulate more quickly on dogs with longer coats, resulting in the need for more frequent baths (about once a month depending on how dirty they get). Dogs with shorter fur might only require a bath once every 3 months.
Your dog will need more baths if he's active and jumps at the chance to jump in a mud puddle versus a dog that is happy to curl up on your lap while you read and nap.
If your pooch is covered in mud and dirt, their fur is oily or they smell, they'll need a bath. Just remember not to bathe them excessively.
For dogs with specific conditions or allergies, your vet may recommend more or less frequent baths.
If you are unsure how often you should give your pooch a bath, one rule of thumb is to start with once every 2 or 3 months. That said, it's always best to ask your veterinarian, who can tell you about your dog's specific bathing needs.
Why should I bathe my dog?
Now that we've given some insights on the question, 'How often should I bathe my dog?', your next question is probably about why you should take the time. Dogs are generally great at giving themselves a bath, but there are still times when they need assistance, especially if rolling in the mud or swimming in lakes are hobbies, or their fur tends to get naturally oily.
There are a few reasons you should bathe your dog regularly, from helping them smell good and reducing shedding to building your bond with your pooch. Here are some reasons why it's essential to give your dog routine baths:
- Helps prevent skin conditions
- Removes dirt and debris from their fur
- Helps them smell great
- Reduces shedding
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.
At Brogli, Lane, Weaver & Alexander Animal Hospital we offer professional bathing and 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.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms.