How to Bathe Your Dog at Home
One way to keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy is by keeping it clean. To a certain extent, a dog has its own mechanisms to keep its fur and skin clean and protect itself from various elements. But activities such as playing in the yard or running around the park can get your dog’s skin and coat dirty, which makes it susceptible to different dermatological problems such as allergies, external parasites, and infections. Keep reading to learn some easy tips and tricks for stress-free bathing.
A dog’s skin and fur are important components of its immune system. These are the body’s first line of defense and offer protection against environmental pathogens and hazards. Being exposed to various hazards continuously, it is essential to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy and free from possible sources of infection or inflammation to prevent diseases.
Bathing your dog is an effective way to remove visible dirt from the fur. Some may argue that bathing dogs is unnatural and may cause more harm than good. It may be true to a certain extent (i.e. excessive bathing), but there are several benefits to bathing your dogs:
- It helps control the abnormal oil production of the skin caused by certain health conditions.
- With the use of an appropriate shampoo, bathing can be an effective way to moisturize a dog’s skin and maintain a healthy coat, especially in dogs with abnormally dry skin.
- Bathing can be an effective way to treat various skin conditions using medicated shampoos
Though bathing your dog regularly has its benefits, not doing it properly can lead to skin problems. There are things that dog owners need to know about bathing dogs…
How frequently should you give your dog a bath?
While bathing can help maintain healthy skin and fur, too much of it can cause skin problems. A dog’s skin has glands that produce oil naturally. This oil coats the external lining of the skin and protects it from environmental hazards. It traps microorganisms and prevents them from penetrating the skin. Additionally, it provides nourishment to hair follicles and keeps the dog’s coat healthy and shiny.
Too much bathing can strip away this natural oil and make the skin vulnerable to all sorts of infection. Frequent bathing can also strip away the skin and coat’s moisture and can lead to dryness. So, how often does a dog need to be bathed?
The frequency of bathing that promotes skin health varies depending on the dog’s breed. Breeds with short coats like Beagles or Greyhounds can be given a bath weekly. Dogs with naturally oily skin such as Basset Hounds may need a bath twice a week to help control the skin’s oil production.
Breeds with double coats such as Siberian Huskies and Shiba Inus do best with limited bathing. If there’s no visible dirt, they can do well with baths just one to two times per month. Breeds like Golden Retrievers produce oils that make their coats water-repellant and thus should be bathed less frequently to help preserve their natural oils.
What do you need before bathing your dog?
Technically, you only need a water source and a good soap to bathe your dog. But some things can make bathing your dog easier and less stressful for you and your pet.
Having a dedicated place for dog baths can help in making the entire ordeal fast and relatively stress-free for you and your dog. Most dog owners bathe their pets in the bathtub or inside the shower. This is ideal since the water source is accessible and the confined space gives your dog no room to run away.
Those with larger dogs do the bathing outside, in the garden, or in the front yard where there is an available water source. Keeping the dog on a leash when bathed outside helps minimize movement and makes the bathing session quicker.
Using a spray nozzle helps to rinse your dog faster, but make sure to use controlled water pressure to not cause pain or discomfort to your dog while bathing. A dog-appropriate shampoo is necessary to keep your dog’s skin healthy. Using human shampoo can be too strong and may cause hypersensitivity reactions to your dog.
Step-By-Step Instructions for Giving Your Dog a Bath
1. Start with using your hose or spray nozzle to wet the dog’s skin and fur. Make sure to use lukewarm water, not too cold or not too hot, to make the bath as pleasurable and stress-free for the dog as possible. After you’ve wet the entire dog’s body, put a small amount of shampoo on your palm and lather it over the whole hair coat.
2. Gently massaging the body while lathering the shampoo is effective and less likely to cause unnecessary discomfort or pain. Though scrubbing helps in removing visible debris more easily, the bristles of a brush can irritate the dog’s skin and cause inflammation or scratches.
3. If you’re using a medicated shampoo as part of treatment for your dog’s skin problems, you may need to keep the lather on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off. This helps the dog’s skin absorb the active ingredient in the shampoo and will ensure that treatment is being done properly.
4. After using the shampoo, rinse it off thoroughly with the hose or spray nozzle. Often, rinsing the dog twice is necessary to ensure that no traces of shampoo remains on your dog’s skin or fur.
5. Make sure to protect your dog’s ears during rinsing. Moisture is the most common cause of ear infections in dogs and they are at high risk of getting water inside their ear canals during baths. Using an ear cleaner to dry up your dog’s ear canals can help prevent ear infections.
6. Towel drying your dog is often not enough to remove all moisture, and any remnants of water can be a good breeding ground for fungal or bacterial growth. Using a blow dryer on a low setting helps dry your dog thoroughly after a bath. Make sure that the blow dryer is not too hot to avoid burning or scalding your dog during the drying process.
7. Bathing is also the ideal time to brush your dog’s teeth. Using a soft toothbrush and a dog toothpaste, gently brush your dog’s teeth. Pay special attention to the back teeth (premolars and molars) as this is where plaque usually starts to accumulate first.
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