Many dogs love water, but strangely enough this doesn’t always transfer to bath time. Even those water loving Labradors can put up a fight when they hear the ‘B’ word! But every now and again, it must be done.
Although our furry friends don’t need to be bathed every day (in fact, this would strip them of the essential oils in their coat), they should be bathed regularly. While many dogs would rather give bathing a rather wide berth, receiving a good soaping is beneficial for both them and us.
How often you bathe your dog is dependent on a number of factors, so take the following points into consideration before deciding how often you need soap up your canine friend.
Inside cuddler or outdoor adventurer?
The amount you bath your dog is predominantly determined by where they spend most of their time. If you have a rough and tumble bull mastiff who loves to live outside, spends most of their time chasing balls, and sleeps in a dog house at night – then you aren’t going to have to wash him/her that frequently. As they don’t spend much time inside, bathing becomes less of a necessity as they will dirty themselves again immediately after, and besides – they aren’t tracking any of their favourite dirt into your house! Once every month or so should is generally plenty for these kinds of dogs.
If you have a little cuddle monster who absolutely loves to be indoors, on your lap, lounging on the sofa, or reclining in the comfort of your bed, then things are going to be a little different. They are going to bring in poop, dirt and whole lot of other delightful treats into your home, so anything from once a week to once a fortnight is probably best for these guys.
Breed and fluff factor
Some breeds of dog are more likely to get into dirt than others – outdoor dogs that love to swim and have a propensity to roll in dirt and whatnot may have to be washed more than others to prevent them from smelling. However, some dogs have harder, more bristly coats that are better at repelling dirt, such as Border Collies, Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Labradors. These kinds of dogs should be okay with once a month baths.
But if your dog is more fluff than body, you may have to wash them more frequently. Soft dogs with lots of fur tend to get dirtier much faster. Dogs fitting this description, such as Shiatzus, Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese Poodles, should be bathed once a week.
Do you or your dog have allergies?
If someone in your household is allergic to dogs then bathing them (the dog, not the person) regularly will certainly make a difference. Grooming and bathing to get rid of dander should be done at least once a week.
If your dog has skin issues or allergies, using a prescribed shampoo as per your vets instructions is the best way to ensure that allergens don’t have time to reach the skin and cause a reaction.
What does your dog get up to?
If your dog goes to the park, swims, runs, eats whatever they find, and rolls in anything disgusting (a description befitting most dogs), they will regularly need to be washed pretty frequently to ensure they aren’t smelly or bring unwanted material into your home. Dogs refraining from these activities (such as older canine family members) will require less.
Start bathing your dog from a young age and they should get pretty used to it, although some may never enjoy it. Before bathing always give them a good brush to get rid of loose hairs, and then run them a lukewarm bath. Stay calm and constantly reassure them throughout the process with pats and kind words.
Then, using a delightful dog-friendly shampoo (not a human shampoo please), massage them from the top of their head to their tails, taking care to not get water on their face or in their ears. Once they are sparkling clean, thoroughly rinse your dog, making sure there’s no shampoo residue left on the coat.
Once your dog’s been thoroughly rinsed, drain the bath and begin pat drying them with a towel. If you’re lucky enough to live in a warm, sunny area, consider taking them outside to dry off in a nice patch of sunshine. If the weather isn’t co-operating, you can use a hair dryer – just ensure you use the lowest possible setting, and don’t let the dryer get too close to your pooch (you don’t want to overheat or burn them!). If you’re a little worried, read these groomers tips on how to safely use a hair dryer on your pooch.
Once the process is over, give them a delicious treat to let them know they have been a good dog, and they should forgive you for the bath process in no time at all!