An important part of caring for your pup will be keeping their fur clear of dirt. Today, our Eastham vets talk about how to successfully bathe your dog and how often you should do so.
How often is it necessary to bathe your dog?
While there is no exact answer for how often you should bathe your dog, there are a number of factors that can affect how often it should be done.
If your dog has long fur then you should look into bathing them at least once a month to help keep them clean, while dogs with shorter fur may only need a bath once every 3 months.
Dogs that frequently spend time outdoors will also require a clean-up more often than dogs that prefer being inside.
You can also give your dog a bath if they are covered in mud and dirt, they smell, or if they have oily fur. Just remember not to overdo it!
If your dog has an allergy or a specific health condition, your vet may tell you your pooch needs to be bathed more or less often.
If you are uncertain how often you should give your pup a bath, once every 2 or 3 months is a good guide to follow. However, it's always best to ask your veterinarian who will be able to inform you of your dog's specific bathing needs.
What is the importance of bathing your dog?
Most dogs are relatively good at cleaning themselves but if your dog is often in situations where they are getting messy or if they are getting older then you will likely need to step in to help.
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
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 can also take bath time as an opportunity to look for pests and parasites hiding within their fur.
If you see anything concerning then you should contact your vet right away to schedule an appointment.
How can you make bath time a success?
When you have a solid plan laid out for when it's time to bathe your dog, you will have a higher chance of it going smoothly. Here are some of the steps to take to make bath time a success:
- 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!
Should I bring my dog to the groomer?
If you struggle to bathe your dog or aren't equipped for the process then you should look into professional grooming services. Professional groomers have the tools and training they need to bathe dogs of all breeds, sizes, and temperaments safely.
At Eastham Veterinary Hospital we offer professional grooming for dogs. On request, we can also provide your pooch with nail trimmings, de-shedding treatments, teeth brushing, ear cleaning, haircuts, and more.