This is a fact you must know and understand for the rest of your life: your dog does not have the slightest bit of a problem staying stinky and dirty for the rest of his life; you are the only one that does. So, do not expect him to fall into your arms and sing “oh happy day” when it is bath time. It just won’t happen. Get that movie scene out of your mind. However, with a few tricks up your sleeve, you should be able to find ways to make bath time a little less of a brawl between you and your dog. Okay, ready to learn? Leggo!
Before we get down to the bathing proper, let’s find out just how frequently your dog actually needs a bath.
How often should my Dog have a Bath?
Okay, yeah, you want your dog smelling like roses every time (which is being a bit too ambitious but let’s just humor you) but, quite unlike humans, dogs do not need daily baths, they just need to have their baths regularly. So what does “regularly” imply? It all depends on the environment in which you live and the type of coat your pooch has.
So, when it comes to frequency of bathing, here are some general things to know:
- Most dogs can survive with bathing just once in a month, yup! You heard right. Bathing once in a month is okay for most dogs
- If your dog has an oily coat (like a Basset Hound for example), your bathing rendezvous might have to significantly increase to about once a week
- If your dog has a smooth coat with short hair, (say a Weimaraner or a Beagle) then he might need very less frequent baths. For instance, short-coated Basenjis are naturally really particular about their personal hygiene, so you find that they are hardly ever in need of a bath
- If your dog has a water-repellent coat: Dogs with water-repellent coats include Great Pyrenees and Golden Retrievers. Dogs like these need to preserve the natural oils secreted by their skin so they need less frequent baths
- If your dog has a thick, double coat, (for example Malamutes and Samoyeds), then you should be doing more of brushing to take out loose hair (as well as dead ones) and less of bathing. Brushing will help them to distribute the natural oils they secrete more efficiently and then help to keep their coat shiny and healthy
As for environmental factors, you already know that dogs that are obsessed with all things mud and puddles will need more frequent bathing than those that would rather stay indoors. Also, if you stay in the country where there’s a lot of sand and dirt to roll in, your dog will need to be bathed more frequently than a dog that lives in the city.
Now, with the bathing proper…
Where can I Wash my Dog?
If your dog is a small breed, then naturally you’d feel lucky since you can put him just about anywhere from a laundry tub to a sink and give him a good washing. However, if your dog is a larger breed and any of these options mentioned are not possible, then you can use a bathtub or the shower (the nozzle should be detachable for obvious reasons). If you’re feeling fancy, you could even get a doggie tub. It is a portable option and can either come collapsible or not, depending on your preference. A collapsible one is more portable though since you can easily move it to any comfortable spot around the house per time.
If your dog is extremely filthy and the weather is great, then you could probably use a garden hose. However, do not do this all the time. No one likes having water shot at them from a hose or standing out in the cold in the name of having a bath. Your dog doesn’t either.
How do I Bathe my Dog?
If you’re prepared (mentally, emotionally and physically) to take on the task of bathing your dog (whether she chooses to cooperate or not), then here is a quick guide to help you do it right.
- Treat and Treat: This might sound like the title of a Halloween parody but it’s actually the first step to getting your pup to, at least, tolerate what’s coming. Tie bath time to something positive like a treat or a toy. Get them to get into the tub and then just play with them or give them treats. You can continue to repeat this action till they get it and can come to the tub even without the promise of a treat
- Begin with her as a pup: Start bathing your dog when s/he is still young so that they can grow into it and get used to it over time. A pup is far easier to break than a grown dog as you well know
- Brush him first: Especially if your dog has a very thick coat, and the coat gets matted, the hair can hold in water and consequently cause your dog’s skin to get irritated. If the hair is too tough for you to comb and demat by yourself, then consider going to a professional groomer to have him groomed
- Protect her ears: To prevent ear irritations and infections, always ensure that you protect their ears by putting cotton balls into each ear
- Bathe with lukewarm water: Dogs have really sensitive skin. A lot more sensitive than the skin of an average adult human. As a rule of thumb, make sure the water is only as hot or even a bit cooler than what you’d normally use to bathe a human baby. If your dog is a large breed, then the water should be even cooler because they tend to overheat pretty easily
- Make sure you’re soothing and reassuring: You need to do this so the pet doesn’t see bath time as torture. If you constantly do this, s/he might come to learn that you’re not bathing them just because you want to torture them. But then again, some just never catch the bait though… Just letting you know
- Only use Dog Shampoo: Do not use your shampoo on your dog; it will dry their skin badly. When you get your dog shampoo, massage the shampoo into their coat gently but be careful so it doesn’t get into their eyes
- Rinse and rinse again: Once again, your dog’s skin is really sensitive, so any leftover soap in her fur can cause irritation. Make sure you rinse many times with surplus water
- Dry off: But not with your human blow dryer. That’s way too hot for them. There are two ways you can dry, either with a dog dryer or you simply air-dry
- End the bath with a reward! Except you don’t want them to come back for a bath next time
Finally, the best way to decide when it’s time for a good bath is to use your nose. If she’s a not smelling so great, then run some water.
Also, if you can’t just imagine playing tug of war with your dog in the name of bathing, then you could also consider going to a professional groomer. A good one will do a thorough job at bathing your dog and at a very reasonable price too.
Now that’s how to bath your dog like a pro!