DIY Dog Bathing Tips
By Amanda Epley
As a dog owner, it can be difficult to know exactly how often to bathe your canine companion. It really depends on your dog’s breed, coat, health, activity level, and habits. Breeds with long hair and/or undercoats will require more grooming than others.
Dogs who spend most of their time indoors may only need to be bathed every few months, while dogs who spend a lot of time outside will need more frequent baths. For a simple answer, use the sight and smell tests. If you notice dirt in your dog’s fur or you can smell him from across the room, it’s definitely time for a bath!
Find the Proper Products
Products intended for use on humans can be highly irritating to canine skin. Be sure to select a mild, moisturizing shampoo designed specifically for dogs. Oatmeal-based shampoos usually work well for healthy dogs who do not have any particular skin sensitivities.
If you find that your dog experiences skin irritation, consult your vet for a recommendation on a proper bathing regimen. Signs of skin irritation include excessive licking, scratching, or chewing, which could be caused by a number of internal or external issues. It could be that you are bathing your dog too often or not often enough, or your dog may be having a reaction to a particular product ingredient. Your dog may require a medicated shampoo and/or a more involved grooming routine. Skin issues may also be signs of food allergies that your vet can help diagnose.
Follow These Steps
Whether your dog just romped around in the mud or simply needs a basic bath, follow these steps to bathe him quickly and properly:
- Before you begin bathing your dog, brush his coat thoroughly to remove any matting or excess hair.
- Fill a tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water and place your dog inside. Make sure the tub has a non-slip surface. If you are bathing your dog at home, you can place a bath mat at the bottom of the tub.
- If your dog is hyper or does not particularly enjoy bath time, try putting a waterproof toy in the bath to help comfort him and keep him entertained.
- Massage the shampoo into your dog’s coat, moving from head to tail. Rinse and repeat as needed. If your dog’s face does not need to be washed with shampoo, you can simply wipe his face with a damp washcloth rather than lathering and rinsing.
- Drain the tub and dry your pet with a large towel. If you have access to a hairdryer or a full blow dryer, you can use that as well to speed up the process. Make sure it is set to a cool or warm setting. For dogs with skin folds, like Mastiffs, Bulldogs, and Pugs, pay extra attention to the areas in between the folds. Make sure they are completely dry to prevent any irritation or infection.
- Reward your dog with a treat and positive reassurance. Bath time can be stressful for some pets, so make sure to comfort your dog and reinforce good behavior!
By bathing your dog properly, you can help ensure his overall health and well-being. If you have any questions on the right bathing process for your pet, please contact us or visit one of our stores to speak with a pet care expert. For a truly hands-on lesson, visit our Norcross store and try out our self-serve dog wash facility.