Humans aren't the only ones that need to bathe; dogs also do. But how hard can it be? Some water and soap, and you're good to go. Yes and no. Depending on the breed, dog bathing can be a little more complicated and less enjoyable than our showers. Yet, thoroughly cleaning dogs is an essential component of their health routine, cleaning their fur from mud, dust, and parasites. At Chew + Heal, we want to make it as easy and pleasant as possible, so here's a rundown on how to bathe your dog, what you'll need, and some pro tips from our staff of dog lovers.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?
Unfortunately, there isn't one generic answer as it depends on lifestyle, coat type, and skin condition.
- Lifestyle: We all know that we need a shower if we sweat during a workout or while working in our garden. Well, same with dogs. Dogs that are more active or spend more time outdoors need to be washed more often. In contrast, a dog that loves couch surfing or binge-watching Netflix with its owner is less likely to require a regular bath.
- Coat Type: A dog's fur can vary in many ways. Its length, texture, and density. Depending on your puppy's coat will determine how often they need to be washed.
- Skin Type: Some dogs have skin sensitivities or a temporary skin infection that requires prescript creams and shampoos. If your dog needs some of this extra TLC, their bathing routine will fluctuate.
If you're unsure how often you should sud your pup, speak to your veterinarian or groomer.
How to Prepare for Your Dog's Bath?
Even before you bathe your dog, there are two important things you could do to make the experience easier and more enjoyable. Firstly, it is a great idea to put brushing your dog's coat into a routine. Tangled hair can mat once you start bathing your dog, making it an unpleasant experience for your pet.
Secondly, you want to ensure that your dog has positive associations with bath time. This can be done by preparing the space to be clean and pleasant, as you would do before taking a nice relaxing bath. Coaxing, complimenting, and treating your dog are great ways to encourage them into a tub.
Where Should You Bathe Your Dog and With What Water?
You can bathe your dog in many places. Some breeds can fit into a bathroom or laundry sink, and others need a tub. If you have a tub insert for your furry friend, great; if not, you can use the family bathtub. Just heads up, you'll want to clean the drain afterward. Another option, if the weather permits, is bathing them outside with a garden hose.
But keep in mind, no one likes a cold shower, including dogs. The optimal temperature for a doggy bath is using lukewarm water, warm enough to be comfortable and get the job done but not too hot. Also, keep in mind the pressure levels; your pup might not love the feeling of high pressure.
What Do You Need to Wash Your Dog?
You'll need a bunch of fluffy warm towels to dry your pooch and to have it stand on after the bath, a dog comb or brush befitting to their coat type, and your favorite dog shampoo and conditioner. You can ask your vet or groomer for a preferred shampoo and conditioner, especially if your dog has sensitive skin.
Make sure you wear clothes that you don't mind getting wet, or better said, soaked, as things can get wet.
Proper Dog Washing Technique
When you have chosen the right place and have the right products ready to use, the real fun begins. Here's the bathing process our pros recommend:
- Coax or place your dog in the tub or wash station. Treats are a great way to get the process to a positive start!
- Dilute the shampoo with water. Try adding some to a bowl full of water, or put the shampoo in a dispenser that contains water. Diluting the shampoo helps it sud up and spread better.
- Wet your dog using warm water.
- Shampoo the dog with a loofah sponge to help spread around the shampoo. Be sure not to overlook places like the pads of the feet, armpits, and bellies. Above all, make it an enjoyable experience.
- Use conditioner. Leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse away.
- Rinse well until there is no more product on the fur. You want to scrub your dog well, but you also want to make sure that all of the soap is out. Because if you don't get all the soap out, the soap will stay on the skin and irritate it, which is worse than not bathing them.
Once your dog is clean, fresh, and smelling great, it's time to dry them. Making sure that your dog is dry is an integral part of its cleaning process. You should thoroughly dry dogs with heavier coats to prevent damp spots in the undercoat, leading to hot spots, a common dog skin disorder known as acute moist dermatitis; it causes sores and pain.