Bathing your dog may seem like a bit of a chore, but we’re here to tell you that you may not have to bathe your pupper as often as you think!
This is a phenomenon that many new pet owners face. With people it’s easy: there really is no such thing as being over clean. However, dogs, and dog care, are a little bit more nuanced, especially since dogs can’t vocalize what they need too well. For example, when we’re dirty we know it and we’re able to take care of ourselves accordingly. If our skin is a little itchy after the shower or looking a little dry, then we can see it and we just simply put on some lotion. While dogs may be able to bark, scratch, and whine, that’s about the extent of their communication; they can’t directly tell us that they feel dirty or that they feel like their skin is dry. This may present some confusion and some complications when it comes to us taking care of them. In fact, often times, dog owners start to overcompensate and bathe their pets too frequently.
To make things even more stressful, for all parties involved, most dogs do not like baths. Water can sometimes be threatening, especially when it’s overhead or being sprayed at them. Again, this just leads to the confusion and frustration.
This article will hopefully help alleviate some of the pressure on dog owners when it comes to understanding bath time and the importance in the frequency of it.
Dogs do not need baths every week. In fact, some dogs may not need baths every month. Essentially, bath time can be broken down into three considerations: your dog’s breed, your dog’s activity level, and your dog’s environment. More active dogs, or dogs who are a bit more mischievous— swimming in various bodies of water, playing in dirt, going on hikes, etc., may be prone to looking a little bit dirtier than usual. So, if this is your dog, try washing them every three weeks, instead of the recommended four. Likewise, dogs with thicker coats of fur, like Bernese Mountain dogs, may need to be washed a little bit differently, due to how much hair they have. On the flip side, short-haired dogs won’t need to be washed as often as dogs with longer hair. That is to say, you need to understand your dog’s oil production in order to understand how frequently they need to be washed. Dogs who are more active or naturally more oily need to be washed more frequently.
Keep in mind, though, that over washing your dog can lead to dryness of his skin, which, in turn, leads to increased Irritation. If you notice your dog looks really greasy or really oily and it has been a while since you’ve given them a bath, that’s a good indicator that they need to be washed. Their skin shouldn’t become dry if you’re using the right products. But if you notice your dog is constantly itching himself, it could be an indication that you’re washing your dog too much, resulting in dryness of the skin.
Most vets recommend washing your dog every four weeks. Again, this depends on activity, breed, and environment. For example, city dogs may not need to be washed as often because they tend to stick to sidewalks or an apartment.
As I mentioned earlier using a good product is also paramount. A lot of products use artificial ingredients that can cause harm to your dogs skin and hair. Opt for organic and all natural products that are geared towards your dog’s specific fur type. Many companies now make oatmeal shampoos, which can be very soothing, especially if your dog has sensitive skin. Natural shampoos are also the better option because if they get in your dogs eyes or mouth, they won’t burn.
Some dogs might not even require shampoo due to the sensitivity of their skin or lack of dirtiness. Instead, with these types of dogs, simply rinse them in some room temperature water and then towel dry.
Giving your dog a bath may be a bit of a chore. They tend not to become a little anxious and start moving around a lot. In order to facilitate a better bath experience it’s important to follow a routine.
For starters, always brush your dog before you give him a bath. This loosens up dirt, distributes the oils, and removes knots. Make sure that the water temperature isn’t too hot. Dogs are very sensitive to heat; so, if the water is too hot, that could be very uncomfortable and lead to more uneasiness with your dog. As I mentioned above, make sure the shampoo is appropriate for your dog and don’t use too much. Once you’re done shampooing, and your dog is thoroughly lathered, make sure that you rinse them very good so that there’s no shampoo left. If your dog has excess shampoo on his skin, this can lead to skin irritation. After this process is done, make sure that you reward your dog to let him know that they were a good boy and incentivize him to be well behaved next bath time.
Worst case scenario, when your dog is extra finicky with baths, take him to a groomer (again this should be about once a month). Going to a professional can help train your pet how to behave for you. #bullyfambam