How to bathe a dog and how often it should be done.
Dogs are known for not enjoying showers. Even though it is true some love the water, getting in the river or the lake, swimming and playing without any worry, they do not express the same enthusiasm when being bathed with shampoo and a sponge.
First, although a dog’s hygiene represents a healthy habit, the activity of bathing a dog should not happen too often. It is recommended to give them a bath not more than twice or three times a year.
An extra bath should occur exceptionally, otherwise your dog runs the risk of damaging the naturally protective layer of fur, and causing dermatitis or eczema. In fact, a dog’s fur has a pH of 7, unlike us humans, which makes it more delicate and vulnerable than ours.
The need to bathe our dog will depend on its surroundings. A house dog, that lies on the bed and couch, will not get too dirty and will not require frequent baths. In a different scenario, a dog that is usually outside is exposed to garbage and pollutants, as well as a dog who likes to play in the mud: they both may need more frequent baths.
How to Bathe Your Dog: How to Make this Chore a Less Upsetting Experience? Some Tips
- Get it used to baths gradually: Start bathing it when it is a puppy, as a playful activity. During the first few baths, you can place your dog under the shower without opening the faucet. Add a toy, play with it and reward your pup if it remains calm. You should not bathe your dog during its first months and should only start to do it unless your vet gives you permission, because it is not recommended to bathe it until after the vaccination calendar is completed.
- Before the bath, brush its hair carefully: Do that to remove all the dying hair, if not the dog would shed the hair after the bath, creating knots. Without the right brush, the fur can create mats that are quite hard to disentangle.
- Make sure the bathtub is not slippery: You can place a not-slip mat under their paws, otherwise they might slip.
- Open the faucet slowly and make sure the temperature is warm enough before placing it above your dog.
- Keep your dog’s nose as dry as possible: Especially do not let water in their ears because this can lead to ear infections or swelling.
- Use dog shampoo: shampoo formulated for humans is way too aggressive for your dog’s delicate fur and may cause dermatitis.
- Make sure the soap does not reach your dog’s eyes: Other than irritating them, it will also cause them to feel uncomfortable. This can lead to a frustrating perception of the bathing activity.
- Rinse your dog carefully: Make sure to wash away all soap remains, otherwise those remains can cause allergies.
Bathing the Dog: What to Do Afterwards?
Do not think the grooming session ended! First, be careful because when you finish rinsing it, the dog will probably shake off to eliminate excess water and, if you do not cover it, you run the risk of an unwanted shower.
At this point, it will be necessary to towel-dry your dog: it must be done with precision, to make sure there are no traces of moisture. If it remains damp, it might get sick.
You must be meticulous, especially if you have a long-haired dog. You may use a towel or a hairdryer if the dog tolerates it. Many animals are afraid of the airdryer’s noise so they run away. You may get them used to it, turn the air dryer on at minimum power and slightly warm, to avoid hurting the dog’s skin.
To complete the bath, you need to clean the ears: use a cotton wipe, like the ones used for removing make up. Damp it with a little bit a hydrogen peroxide and rub the ear canal gently until you remove any trace of wax.
If the dog has long hair, brush it again to avoid mats.
When to Avoid Bathing Your Dog
There are some circumstances when it is best not to bathe your dog:
- Do not bathe your dog in winter: it is good to do it only during the warmer seasons. If you can bathe it outdoors, do it when the temperature is warmer, even though the dog can be covered with a blanket, cold temperatures and dampness may predispose it to get sick. Even if you bathe it inside your house, it is better not to get it outside immediately after the bath, especially if you are not sure the dog is not completely dry.
- If the dog is a bit sickly, it is best not to expose it to something that may be stressful and worsen its condition.
- Do not bathe the dog days after if it has been vaccinated, or after taking antiparasitics: it is better to wait for at least a week.
- If your dog has recently eaten, wait until it has digested all the food before you bathe it, wait for 3 or 4 hours.
How to Bathe Your Dog: Video
If you have more doubts, you may consult a professional near your house, who shall provide assistance and answer all your questions.
You may be interested in reading another article related to the Hygiene and Beauty of our friends such as:
- How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
- Trimming your dog’s nail
- Tips to Clean Your Dog’s Ears
- Dog hygiene
- Stripping and Trimming in Dogs