Whether you already have a dog or are about to welcome a new furry friend into the family, it is important to take grooming and bathing care seriously. Keeping your dog or puppy clean is detrimental to not only you and the people around you (not having to smell unpleasant smells) but to your dog or puppy’s health. Hygiene is not only whether your dog takes a bath or not, it's far more complex than that. Dog grooming includes; keeping your dogs hair trimmed, nails clipped, ears and paws cleaned, teeth and gums healthy and eyesight maintained.
So why bathe your dog?
It is important to bathe your dog as bath time maintains a healthy coat and healthy skin. Giving your dog a bath can also remove loose hair, scale and debris and improve the hair coat’s shine. Some dogs have specific skin conditions in which bathing may be part of their medical treatment plan.
How often should I bathe my precious pooch?
Of course there is no straight forward answer to this question. Dogs should only be bathed when necessary. You can usually tell when your dog is in need of a good ol fashioned soak from their odor or if you can see mud or dirt on their coats. It is important to say that if your dog does smell bad but you can’t find anything dirty on them, you should take them to a vet as this may be a sign of other medical issues such as skin or ear problems. If bathed too frequently, your dog's skin can get dried out and as such require different bathing schedules issued by your veterinarian. Dogs who go swimming dont need to be bathed as often. It is important to supervise your dog whenever they go swimming.
Types of Shampoo
It is important to consult your veterinarian and ask them what shampoo is the best for your dog, according to their coat, skin, size and breed. Human shampoo should not be used on dogs as our furry friends have different pH levels to us humans. If your dog has a healthy coat, you may choose a hypoallergenic shampoo. Alternatively, consult your vet if your dog has any skin problems. You may even buy a hypoallergenic conditioner to apply and rinse out after the shampoo to prevent any dryness. Like other dog products, test it on a small patch of coat before using just in case there may be some irritation.
Where to bathe your dog?
The location of where you intend on bathing your dog is extremely personal and will be different according to an individual's living space and circumstances. However, wherever you choose to bath your dog it is important to keep your products within a reachable distance
For some dog owners, it's best to bathe their dog outside on the ground. Set your hose to a low pressure setting and always test the temperature as your dog does not want an icy cold shower in the middle of winter.
If you live in an apartment or a house that doesn’t have a large backyard, bathing your dog in your bathtub might be an optimal solution. When bathing your dog in a bathtub, always supervise your dog when in a bathtub and let water run down the drain so it doesn't fill up. You can use a shower head or even a bucket and ladle to clean your dog. As you would when cleaning your dog outdoors, it is important to test the temperature of the water, making sure it is not too hot or too cold. I would also suggest putting non slip mats in and around the bathtub. Dogs like the feeling of standing on secure surfaces and this also prevents them from slipping or falling, sustaining injury.
Professional Bathing Services
If you need further bathing assistance call a vet as they usually know a good professional bathing service nearby.
How to train your dog to like bath time?
Step 1: Make your dog feel comfortable with being pat and touched. Move around their body slowly, touching them on their legs, ear, shoulders. Repeat affirmations. Lift up your dogs paws one by one. Reward your dog for being on their best behavior.
Step 2: Introduce your dog to bath time by praising them and giving them tasty dog treats. It is important to connect bath time with happy feelings. Introduce your dog to the bathing environment and equipment. Use one item at a time. Reward them for getting into the bath and standing on the non slip mat. You can reward your dog for being able to stand in the bathtub with the water running. Do not rush this process as it can be daunting and overwhelming for your dog and be very difficult in the future for you when trying to bathe them.
Step 3: Before bath time, take your dog on a walk. This will tire your dog out, making them less hyperactive and jumpy. When you get home, allow them to have a short rest and then try bathing them. As your dog is already introduced to your bathing equipment, try to get them to slowly take a bath. If your dog becomes disgruntled or upset, try another day.
Tips When Taking A Bath
When getting your dog to take a bath, keep two things in mind:
- Make sure your dog feels relaxed and calm
- Make sure your dog is praised and rewarded for staying calm
To bathe your dog properly, it is important to:
- Brush: Before bathing your dog, it is important to brush their coat, removing any knots and loosening any debris that may be stuck in their hairs.
- Water: Wet your dogs coat (without shampoo). Make sure all parts of your dog is wet.
- Washcloth: Wash your dogs head area with a wash cloth rather than a shower
- Cotton balls: Keep your dogs ears dry as having water in them can predispose them to an ear infection.
- Shampoo: Once your dog’s body is wet, apply some hypoallergenic dog shampoo (try shampoo a small part of your dog first to make sure it is ok for your dog). Start at your dog's chest and move down to other areas, making sure you get to your dog's undercoat.
- Massage: Massage the shampoo into all areas of your dog and once comfortable, rinse. Your dog’s underside is particularly ticklish and sensitive.
- Rinse: After shampooing your dogs, rinse out this shampoo with water and your fingers, ensuring you get down into the undercoat.
- Conditioner: After properly rinsing our dog, make sure to apply conditioner. Make sure it is hypoallergenic and depending on the type of conditioner, you might need to let it sit on the coat for a while.
- Towel: Dry your dog. Do not use a hair dryer. Use a large absorbent towel and then take outside to dry naturally.
- Treats: After each bathing experience, make sure to treat your dog. This is so that they can resonate bath time with a fun, enjoyable and just generally a good experience.