How Often Should I Bath My Dog?
First ensure that your dog is dirty. Bathing a dog removes oil from the skin. Bathing a dog too often can result in a dry skin and a poor coat. Normally about once a month should suffice. See also “How often should I bath my dog?” Please ensure that you do not bath a puppy of less than two months old.
If your dog is to be bathed outdoors, choose a warm windless day. If you know that your dog is going to be a handful it will be good to have a helper, someone that is well known to the dog (and hopefully liked).
Ensure that you have plenty of old dry towels some that you have perhaps put away and saved specifically for the purpose. You will also need some dog shampoo. There are many excellent dog shampoos that are available from vets and pet supply shops. Specifically manufactured dog shampoos are gentle and should not irritate your dog’s eyes or skin. A good alternative to dog shampoo is baby shampoo or baby soap as they will also be acceptable and should not affect your dog in any way.
Partly fill an old plastic bath or something similar with warm water. Be careful that the water is not too hot, just lukewarm to the touch will be fine. Have an empty jug and a small jug full of clean clear water at hand.
Let your dog stand in the water. (Your helper may need to help you) If you have difficulty controlling your dog in this situation you may find that putting on a collar will be a great help. It will give you some control and will normally increase your dog’s confidence, particularly if he isn’t used to having a bath.
Different dogs react differently to having a bath. Some enjoy it, others don’t. If your dog is not happy having a bath, take heart as normally the more used to having a bath they become, the easier they are to bath. Things will get better, not worse.
It is normally easier to bath a difficult dog if someone of higher status than the dog holds the collar and controls the head. Talk gently and stroke his neck area, allaying his fears.
If your dog allows you to, it can be a good idea to put a plug of cotton wool in his ears. This helps prevent water from entering the ear. Not all dogs will allow this, just be careful not to allow water into the dog’s ear when washing this area.
You will now need to wet the dog quite thoroughly prior to applying the shampoo. Do this by using the empty jug to scoop up some water from the bath. Begin by wetting your dogs body area, do not attempt to wet his head area at this stage.
Apply shampoo to the wet area and bath this area. Some dog shampoos lather, some do not, they are manufactured this way. The idea is to clean the dog, not to see if you can get him to look like Santa.
Wash the dog’s head area last, taking great care to not allow soap into his eyes. Should some soap get into his eyes by accident, rinse out with the clear water that you have on hand. You will often find that your dog will be more amiable to only having half of his face washed at a time.
Rinse the head area first, then the body area. This often helps delay the dog shaking himself until you are ready. Ensure that the dog is thoroughly rinsed and that no soap is left in his coat as excess soap may irritate your dog’s skin.
Dry your dog thoroughly with the towels. I always had plenty of old towels kept specifically for this purpose. If kept outside after bathing, even though you may have dried your dog to the best of your ability, you will often find that your dog still proceeds to attempt to dry himself further by rubbing his body on grass or bushes and hedges. This should not be a problem, provided he does not have access to any muddy patches.
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