Consistent hygiene is important to the health of your dog's skin and coat. But how much is too much bathing? Here, our Cumming vets outline how often you should bathe your dog and what factors to consider.
How Often Should I Wash & Bathe My Dog?
Giving your dog regular baths is important, but it's crucial not to do it too frequently as it can lead to skin irritations, dryness, and other issues. So, how often should you bathe your dog? The answer varies depending on factors such as your dog's lifestyle, coat type, and health.
Dogs with longer coats tend to accumulate more dirt and debris, requiring baths approximately once a month, depending on their level of dirtiness. On the other hand, dogs with shorter fur may only need a bath every 3 months.
If your dog is active and enjoys playing in the mud and dirt, they will likely need more frequent baths compared to dogs that spend most of their time indoors.
You can also give your dog a bath when they are covered in mud, dirt, or have a noticeable odor or oily fur. Just remember not to overdo it!
If your dog has allergies or specific health conditions, your veterinarian may advise you to bathe them more or less frequently.
If you're unsure about the optimal bathing frequency for your dog, a good guideline is to bathe them once every 2 or 3 months. However, it's always best to consult your veterinarian to determine your dog's specific bathing needs.
Why Should I Bathe My Dog?
While dogs are generally very good at giving themselves a bath, 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 handful 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 pup. Here is a list of reasons why it's important to give your dog routine baths:
- It removes dirt and debris from their fur
- Helps prevent skin conditions
- Reduces shedding
- Helps them smell better
Giving your dog a bath not only helps keep them clean, but also allows you to keep an eye on their overall health. During bath time, you can check for any signs of emerging issues like redness, swelling, or unusual bumps on their ears, paws, nails, or skin. It's also an opportunity to inspect for external parasites such as fleas, mites, or ticks.
If you notice any of these signs or spot any external parasites, it's important to contact your veterinarian and arrange 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, a 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.