Whether your dog loves or dreads water, dog baths are crucial for all breeds. Bathing your dog can be an easy and enjoyable activity for you and your pooch provided you learn the right tips and techniques. Dog baths are more than just water and shampoo — so read on to learn about the nitty-gritties of a dog bath!
Why is a dog bath necessary?
Before you jump on to ‘how to bathe your dog’, being a pet parent, you must understand ‘why’ it is important to bathe your dog in the first place. Giving your dog a good bath serves many purposes apart from simply keeping them clean and smelling fresh. It can help you take a closer look at your dog and assess its overall health, including the skin, teeth, ears, and nails. Moreover, if you use dog apps for dating, this is an important point. The three key reasons why a dog bath is necessary are:
It allows you to check for any skin problems: Dogs are prone to skin problems such as skin allergies, yeast infections, ticks and fleas, and dandruff. Bathing them allows you to check for skin changes like sores, lumps, redness, ticks, lice and fleas or other skin irritations. Their behaviour can help you understand that too. If you spot your dog profusely scratching or biting themselves, it could suggest their skin is irritated due to some underlying condition.
It helps assess their overall health: While bathing your dog, you can check their teeth, eyes, ears and nails to know if everything is in good shape. You can record any changes you notice and consult your vet if needed.
It strengthens the relationship with your pet: Bathing can be a great activity to bond with your pet. Even better, if your dog loves water! The repetitive movements during bathing and grooming can have therapeutic benefits for both you and your dog.
How often should you bathe your dog?
There cannot be one answer to this question as every dog breed has different requirements. One thing is for sure — dog skin works differently than human skin — so there is no need for dogs to take a shower every day. On average, bathing your dog once a month is good. However, many factors can influence the frequency of dog baths, including:
- Type of coat
- Lifestyle and activity
- Medical issues
- Skin sensitivity
If you are unsure about the number of times to bathe your dog, check with your groomer or vet to understand their hygiene requirements. Too much bathing can strip the coat of their natural oils and make their skin dry and itchy. So, make sure you are aware of your dog’s needs before making any decisions for them!
How to prepare for a dog bath?
You and your dog both need to be well-prepared before the bath. You do not want to invite any last-minute panic that can injure your dog. Have all the supplies in place and ready your dog for bathing. If your dog is not a fan of getting its coat wet, you will need to work a way out and make them calm before the bath.
Choose an appropriate place for the dog bath.
You want your dog to be comfortable. It should not feel trapped and suddenly panic. You can choose a spot based on your dog’s size and the space options available in your home. For small dogs, the kitchen sink is perfect. Whereas for bigger dogs, you can consider the shower area or the bathtub in your bathroom. Your spacious backyard can be a good spot for bathing your dog too. But, consider the weather conditions as dogs are not fond of feeling too cold. Whatever place you choose, make sure to have your dog stand on a rubber mat to avoid slipping.
Have all the dog bathing supplies at hand.
Once you have chosen a spot, it is time to gather all supplies and arrange them well for easy accessibility. ath time. Your pet needs multiple rewards for cooperating through the process.
- Leash and collar — to secure the dog during the bath.
- Cotton balls — to put in your dog’s ears to prevent water from going inside. If moisture remains in the ears, it can cause ear infections.
- Saline solution — to safely clean your dog’s eyes.
- Dog shampoo — Never use human shampoo for bathing your dog — it can irritate their skin. Dogs have thinner skin compared to humans making them more susceptible to infections. Your vet or groomer can recommend the best shampoo for your dog. Before using the dog shampoo, read the directions for use. Some shampoos need to be diluted with water before use.
- Towels — to dry them after the bath. And save your furniture from getting wet when your pooch shakes off the water.
- Dog conditioner — for extra shiny, smooth coat and soft skin. Again, remember to keep the human conditioners away.
- Detangling sprays — not necessary if your dog has a short coat but helpful if they have long and thick coats. It helps in post-bath grooming.
- Ear cleaner — to keep the ear infections at bay.
- Dog toothbrush and toothpaste — the dental health of your dog is crucial, so brush their teeth well!
- Nail clippers — long claws are a no-no; they can be uncomfortable and painful if they break. So, you need to clip them, and there is no better time to do so than the bath time.
- Dog Hair Dryer — you will probably need this if your dog has a long and thick fur coat.
- Plenty of treats — the most important supplies! We suggest you stock up on them whenever it is dog bath time. Your pet needs multiple rewards for cooperating through the process.
Prepare your dog for the bath
You probably need not take much effort if your dog is a water lover. You must keep calm, go slow, and treat your dog at various checkpoints throughout the bath. Keep in sync with the signs your dog is giving you and modify the process accordingly instead of rushing it.
This prep will be different if your dog fears water. Initially, you may find it challenging to take your dog for a bath. The key is to be calm and take baby steps rather than forcing your dog into the bathroom. First, make the dog accustomed to the space you will be bathing them in — introduce them to the space, get their favourite toys and play with them. Slowly introduce water and give them time to experience it. During the entire process, be patient with your pet and allow them time to unlearn their water phobia. Don’t forget to keep rewarding them with treats! Once you are sure your dog is comfortable with water, you can bathe them.
Finally, how to bathe your dog?
Follow the below-mentioned steps to bathe your dog clean.
Brush your dog and detangle the hair
Start by grooming your dog to get rid of the dirt, loose hair and knots.
Secure your dog in the bathing area
Take your dog to the bathing spot, and if they are moody, treats can be the best way to lure them to the bath. Using a collar and leash, secure your dog to anything sturdy. It will make you less anxious about the dog getting jumpy and running away during the bath.
Cover your dog’s ears
Before introducing water, cover your dog’s ears with cotton balls to prevent water from entering their ears. Moisture retention is the most common cause of ear infections in dogs.
Check the water temperature
Dogs neither like the water temperature to be too hot nor too cold — it should be an in-between — lukewarm. But remember to test it on your skin and ensure it’s the right temperature.
Wet your dog’s body
Using a shower or hose, or bucket and mug, nicely wet your dog’s body — but only from the neck and back. Do not put any water on the face as many dogs dislike that, and it also increases the risk of ear infections and soap getting into their eyes.
Apply dog shampoo and lather
Take an adequate amount of dog shampoo and apply it to your dog’s body. If the instructions suggest you dilute the shampoo with water, do so. Lather the shampoo all over the body using gentle and rhythmic hand movements. Except for the face, apply shampoo everywhere, including the dirty areas like the paws and groyne area.
Wipe your dog’s face
Dogs have sensitive eyes and noses, and if shampoo comes in contact with them, it can irritate them. So using a washcloth, gently wipe the dog’s head and face. For the eyes, use saline water on a cotton ball to moisten the eye crust and then wipe it off with the cotton.
Rinse well with water
Rinse your dog properly and remove every bit of shampoo from its body using your hands. Thorough washing can take some time if your dog’s coat is too long and thick. But, it is crucial to do, or your dog can suffer from skin irritation and pH imbalance.
Apply dog conditioner and rinse well
It is an optional step, but a dog conditioner can help dogs with long hair or dry skin. Spread it onto your dog’s coat, similar to how you applied the dog shampoo. Then, rinse it thoroughly until the coat is clean.
Attend to your dog’s ears, nails and teeth
If you feel your dog’s ears need some cleaning, use a dog ear cleaning solution. But, make sure to understand the correct techniques from your vet before doing it. Secondly, after a long warm bath, the nails become soft, making it easier to trim them. Your dog’s dental health is important too. Use a dog toothbrush and toothpaste for brushing their teeth. If there is plaque and tartar formation, you may need to take your dog to a vet for professional cleaning.
Apply detangling spray
Before drying your dog, you can spray a detangling spray on your dog’s coat to make it shiny and easy for brushing.
Dry your dog
Use thick towels to dry your dog well. At this point, your dog may also need a good shake to remove any excess moisture in their coat. If necessary, you can use a dog-specific hair dryer to completely dry the coat.
Brush your dog again
It’s time for the post-bath grooming ritual to detangle the hair and get rid of any more loose hair.
Treat your dog
Your dog deserves a good treat after the bath for letting you finish the entire process! Appreciate your pet and give them their favourite treats.
Dog Bath FAQs
Should I bathe my dog?
Yes, it is best to bathe your dog once a month or as recommended by your vet or groomer. It will help your dog feel clean and fresh, smell good and stay healthy.
Why does my dog still smell after a bath?
If your dog is smelly after a bath, it could possibly indicate an underlying disease. In that case, it is best to check with your vet.
Can I use human shampoo and conditioner on my dog?
Absolutely not. Dog skin is sensitive and prone to infections, and using human products on its body can trigger unwanted symptoms. It is best to use dog shampoos and conditioners as they are composed for dog skin.
How can I calm my dog during a bath?
If your dog is anxious or jumpy during a bath, give them treats to make them happy. You can also talk to your dog during the entire process or sing songs to assure them.