The benefits of a good bath for your dog go far beyond a pleasant scent.
In addition to improving his overall health and well being, one of the greatest benefits of bathing your dog is a psychological one. When you know how to properly give your dog a bath, he will feel loved and cared for.
Knowing how often to give your dog a bath depends on his breed, age and how much time he spends outdoors. Bathing your dog too frequently robs his coat of natural oils and could dry out his skin. On average, you should bath your dog once every 2-3 months — not including the occasional emergency bath.
Tips for successful bathing
- Gather your tools before you start. You will need brushes, shampoo, towels, a sink or bathtub and bathmat.
- Before bathing, take a moment to brush your pet. Grooming removes loose hair and mats that can prevent the shampoo from getting to the skin. Plus, once those knots and mats get wet, they tighten and cause an irritating pinching sensation for your pet.
- Place your dog in the sink or bathtub. Use a rubberized non-slip mat on the bottom of your bathtub so your dog can keep his footing.
- Using lukewarm water (slightly warm on your skin), saturate your dog’s coat. Be sure to run the water at that temperature BEFORE you begin. Be especially careful around your dog’s face, eyes and ears. Take care not to get water in your dog’s nose — especially small dogs, as they can choke very easily. Lightly cover his nose with the palm of your hand or gently rinse his face with a wash cloth.
- Starting at the tail, add shampoo, massage it into a lather, and repeat the process across the body. Move onto the legs and finally to the head until the whole dog is covered in soapy lather. Talk to your dog throughout the process. Reassure him calmly and gently. If your dog begins to fidget, avoid over-restraining and raising your voice. This will only cause him to struggle more aggressively.
- Starting at the tail, working your way across the body to the head, and rinse off the shampoo THOROUGHLY with lukewarm water. Irritation can occur if the shampoo is not completely rinsed off.
- Dry your dog using towels to remove the excess water from his coat. Use caution since your dog will want to shake the water off. If he will tolerate it, use a hair dryer to finish the drying process. Do not use a human hair dryer set on the normal setting, as it may be too warm for your dog’s skin and can result in burns. Use a medium or cooler setting or purchase a specialty dryer made for dogs at your local pet store.
Following these basics should remove a lot of stress — both for you and your pet.