How To Properly Bathe Your Dog

Watching your dog roll around in the grass, lick and chew his coat are all self-maintenance regimes in helping keep his coat clean. Sometimes, though, he will need help from you as his owner, to look and smell his best. Just like humans, pets like to feel clean and fresh. When your dog’s fur becomes matted, coated with dirt they can become itchy, annoyed and irritable. Bathing your dog helps his skin and coat look and feel clean, as well as contribute to good health.

So, you may ask “How often should I bathe my dog?” The answer is “It depends.” There are a variety of factors that have to be considered in your dog’s bathing routine such as the breed, coat, health and activity of your dog. Healthy dogs who spend most of their time indoors may only need a bath once or twice a year, while a dog who is active outdoors may need a bath more often, especially after some fun in the mud! Be careful not to over-bathe your dog. Bathing too frequently can actually dry the skin and coat and make your dog itchy. Excessive water in your dog’s ears can sometimes start an infection – if your dog is prone to ear infections ask your vet about using an ear cleaner after bathing.

Regular brushing is even more important than bathing your dog! Brushing should be done at least once a week, more often for dogs with long or curly coats. This will prevent knots from forming, help to find fleas or ticks who may have caught a ride on your dog when he was last outside and will help you to become familiar with his normal body shape – brushing is often how owners first find a lump or bump on their dog that needs to be evaluated by a veterinarian.

Here are some helpful steps to keep in mind when bathing your dog:

1. Give your dog a good brushing first. This will help remove dead hair and knots in his coat and make it easier to wash after.
2. You should then put him in a tub/sink filled with four inches of warm water. Use a non-slip mat on the bottom of tub or sink.
3. Use a plastic pitcher or spray hose to drench your dog’s fur.
4. Try and be careful to not spray water into your pets eyes, nose and ears
5. Use a shampoo formulated for dogs or cats or use Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo. (must be safe if accidentally gets into the eyes)
6. For long hair breeds, make sure to lather straight down the back and sides to prevent matting. (massaging the shampoo like you would for a person will cause the matt to form knots and matt up.) Rinse WELL.
7. For long hair breeds consider finishing with a cream rinse or conditioner made for pets. Slick down fur with conditioner and rinse VERY thoroughly! Leaving a soapy residue will cause your dog to itch.
8. Dry him with a large towel. Let your dog do a good shake as this will help get water out of his ears.

Grooming Your Dog regularly can help address any abnormalities your dog might have on their skin, ears and Teeth. Brushing and washing your dogs fur will help you notice and identify these irregularities on your pup so you can address them with your veterinarian.

Please call today if you have any questions on how to handle your dog’s cleaning routine; we are always here to help!