When you bathe your dog, you remove dirt and debris from their fur, helping them appear and smell better. Today, our vets from Little Elm will discuss how frequently you should bathe your dog and describe the bathing procedure to ensure a hassle-free experience for both you and your pup.
How Often Should I Wash & Bathe My Dog?
While regularly bathing your dog is important, avoid doing it excessively to prevent skin irritations, dryness, and other issues. So, how frequently should you bathe your dog? There isn't a one-size-fits-all answer; it depends on various factors, including your dog's lifestyle, coat type, and health.
Dogs with longer coats tend to accumulate more dirt and debris, necessitating baths approximately once a month, depending on their level of dirtiness. On the other hand, dogs with shorter fur may only require a bath every three months.
If your dog is active and enjoys outdoor play in mud and dirt, they will need more baths than dogs that predominantly stay indoors.
You can also bathe your dog if they are muddy, dirty, have an unpleasant odor, or possess oily fur. Just be mindful not to overdo it!
In cases where your dog has allergies or specific health conditions, your veterinarian might recommend more or less frequent baths.
If you're uncertain about the ideal bathing frequency, a general guideline is to bathe your pup once every two to three months. Nevertheless, consulting your veterinarian is always the best approach to determine your dog's specific bathing requirements.
Why Should I Bathe My Dog?
While dogs are generally very good at bathing themselves, they still 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
Bathing your dog allows you to actively monitor your dog's health and spot any signs of developing conditions like redness, swelling, or unusual bumps on their ears, paws, nails, or skin. You can also inspect for external parasites such as fleas, mites, and ticks. If you notice any of these signs or external parasites, don't hesitate to contact your vet and set up an appointment.
How To Bathe Your Dog
Understanding the process of bathing your dog and being ready for the task can simplify it for both you and your furry friend. Below, we offer a step-by-step guide on how to give your dog a bath 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 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 dog.
- 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 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 resists baths and struggles when you attempt to put them in the tub, consider taking your pup to a groomer. Groomers have the necessary tools and training to safely bathe dogs of various breeds, sizes, and temperaments.
At Healthy Paws Veterinary Center, we provide professional grooming services for dogs. Upon request, we can also offer nail trimming, de-shedding treatments, teeth cleaning, ear cleaning, haircuts, and more for your furry friend.