As dog owners, we are probably all guilty of putting off washing our dogs until we can no longer ignore the fact that they smell pretty horrendous. This is because dogs, more often than not, hate being washed and so make being given a bath difficult at the best of times. Even the most placid of dogs will shake off excess water before an owner can get to it with any one of the drying towels they have. This means, inevitably, the owner gets covered in soapy water and dirty residue in the process.
However, though it can be onerous to wash our dogs, it still has to be done for their own health and well being. So how often should you wash your dog? Read on to find out in this complete guide to dog bathing. We discuss dog bathtubs, dog shampoo or puppy shampoo and drying towels that may make the whole process a little easier and more efficient too.
When Should I Wash My Dog?
In general, most of us will only have to wash our dogs once a month. However, there are a number of trigger points that will mean you need to wash your dog straight away, even if you have washed them the previous day:
- Your Dog Plays In Dirt or Other Nasties
- It Is Vet Recommended
- Your Dog Beings To Smell
Otherwise, there are a number of ideas to take into consideration when figuring out when best to wash your dog. They make for a highly individual answer as to how often we should all be washing our dogs.
- Your Dog’s Breed
There are some breeds that require more bathing than others. This will be down to the amount of oil that their skin produces or their fur’s propensity to hold on to smells. Ask your pet or original breeder for their advice on what the breed of your dog needs. This may mean washing your dog two to three times a month instead of just once.
- Your Dog’s Coat and Skin
Even dogs within the same breed will have different needs so as the owner you must keep an eye on your dog’s coat and skin for signals that he or she needs a wash, even if it is not that time of the month yet. In terms of a dog’s coat, keep looking for any matting or perhaps any dandruff. These can all be signs that your dog’s fur and skin needs a bath to help keep control of any oil that is being produced or any nasty knots that have developed over time.
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Ways To Make Washing Your Dog Easier
- Reward him or her
Dogs that enjoy being washed are rare. Bearing that in mind, it will do you and your dog good if you reward him throughout the washing experience, especially when they are being calm and placid as well as listening to your commands and demands. If they are being good and simply sitting there, allowing you to wash them down, give them praise either in the form of food or a toy that they enjoy gnawing on.
Positive reinforcement is a form of training technique that can be used for all areas of a dog’s life, not just when learning how to sit, heel or roll over – the bathroom is no different!
- Use products formulated for dogs and their particular breeds
Like the rest of the dog market, there is a broad range of goods available that can make washing your dog a great deal less difficult than it otherwise can be. For instance, using a hose on your garden lawn or your hair dryer or your very best Egyptian cotton towels to wipe them down are all ways to make washing your dog more awkward and annoying.
Products that can make life easier for you are specially formulated dog shampoos. These will have the best ingredients in them to keep your dog’s fur shiny and sleek as well as in the optimal condition. There are specialised puppy shampoos on the shelves too that are ideal for use on puppies. Puppies have more sensitive skin than older dogs so by using a specialised puppy shampoo you will actually reduce the number of times your dog needs to be washed as your puppy won’t be suffering from any skin irritations that fill their fur with dandruff.
Lastly, there is a great range of dog bathtubs out there. This may sound like overkill, but those with dogs that don’t fit in the tub in the family bathroom, or those that simply don’t have a sink big enough for their pooch, will find them enormously helpful. They’re designed to make being bathed as stress free as possible for your dog, so they can really make your life easier.
Once they’re out of the tub, use a specialised dog drying towel to get rid of excess water that their fur holds on to. This way, you save your walls and your clothes from being sprayed when they shake themselves off to dry.
- Don’t use cold water
While your dog may be a dog, and not a human, it still does us no harm to put ourselves in their shoes every once in a while. This means that when it comes to giving them a bath, it is much kinder to use lukewarm water on their fur and skin, than simply to hose them down outside with cold to freezing water. We all hate a cold shower and the same is of them. By using lukewarm water they are far more likely to find the whole task a great deal more pleasurable and are therefore far more likely to stay still while being washed.
However, don’t go too hot as dog skin is far less resistant to heat and hot water than human skin is.
- Try to make it fun
Much like rewarding them, if you make bath time fun, they are much more likely to appease you and be placid at times that you need them to be still. A good idea is to put his or her favourite toys in the bath so they actively look forward to getting in the tub. Once they’re in the tub, get them to perform their favourite trick and really give them praise and hugs that they enjoy so they begin to relax and make the whole process a great deal easier for you.
- Brush them down first
This is a top tip that so many dog owners forget, but it could save them so much time and energy if they brushed their dog down before getting them in the tub. Not only does it make drying them after their bath a whole lot easier as you are not trying to dry hair that is no longer attached to your pooch, but it also makes clearing up a whole lot easier afterward. It also protects your drains from getting too clogged up with thick dog fur when you pull the plug on their tub time.
- Start early
The younger you start washing your dog, the easier it will be to wash them regularly. If they have been bathed as a youngster, not only can you work in bathing into their puppy training regime, they are a lot more used to it when they are older. This means that when times come and they simply have to have a bath as they have rolled in something that they shouldn’t have, they will behave and won’t mind being scrubbed down so much with dog shampoo and rubbed all over with a towel.
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Simply put, washing your dog once a month should be enough. However, if you find bathing, grooming and washing your dog too difficult – and for some with big furry breeds it is no small task so completely understandable, think about going to groomers who have a specialised room as well as equipment at their disposal to make life that little bit easier for you. It can be an added expense that some people do not need, so if you can’t afford it every time, do try to go to a groomer’s on occasion. It can make the whole experience of bathing your dog that little bit more pleasurable so that neither you or your dog grow to dread the weekly or monthly ritual that you have both grown to hate over time.