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The Ins and Outs of Dog Bathing

dog-bathing

It is true no one likes the smell of a wet, nasty dog. It just is not pleasant. But sometimes it is a necessary evil as many dogs can get dirty very quickly and easily. Some breeds love to dig and play in the mud and dirt. A fairly clean pooch can go outside to do his business and bam! Within a few minutes he is covered from head to toe with dirt, grass, mud, insects and everything mother nature has to offer. So, he obviously needs a bath. But how often is it safe to bathe your dog? Humans tend to shower or bathe on a daily basis, but is that good and ok for your dog? This article will cover that question and let you know what is best when it comes to the frequency of bathing your dog.

How To Know When Its Bath Time

Despite the obvious, your dog just rolled in the mud and is covered with dirt, mud and grass, it is time to bathe your dog when he is shedding, his coat is oily, you want to eliminate any parasites, and keep his coat clean and healthy. It is also a great bonding experience between you and your dog. Some breeds such as Retrievers, absolutely love water. They welcome you spending time with them washing and massaging their fur. It feels good to them and they are getting wet. They love it. Other breeds, such as most small ones, not so much. They would rather skip bathe day. They will let you know about it as well. They may snarl, growl or nip at you at the first hint of a drop of water. You may have to muzzle them or hold them tight to accomplish this event. However, bathing is important to ensure they all maintain a healthy and vibrant coat free of dirt, excess hair and parasites.

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Tips For Dog Bathing

Bathing a dog can either be simple or complicated. It depends on the breed and the attitude of the dog. The best way to introduce a dog to a bath is to start at a very young age if you have the opportunity. Bathing puppies from the start is the way to go. They get used to being handled, they are gently held, warm soothing water, gentle soap is used, no water on the face or eyes, a smooth rinse, a warm towel, someone giving love and kisses. Now, wow, that was not so bad. A puppy remembers these first bathing moments as good ones. However, that is not always the case. An unknown dog, say like at a shelter, is thrown into a cold sterile room, tied down, squirted with cold water, thrown some shampoo on, rinsed briskly and thrown into a kennel to dry. Not quite a loving experience. So, know the history of the dog as much as possible. Where he came from and what his dog bathing experience might have been as this will give you an indication on how he might react to his bath, so be prepared.

What If I Can't Get My Dog To Take A Bath?

If trying to wrestle your dog into a bath is too much of a daunting task and your feel overwhelmed at just the thought of it, do what most owners do and opt to take your dog to a professional. These folks do it for a living and they know all the ins and outs of how to correctly manage your dog in the tub with no one getting hurt. They also know wonderful ways that specific breeds need to be cut and trimmed. Your dog will thank you for getting the job done right and you will have a happy, clean, dog to take home.

Where Should I Bathe My Dog

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There are several options on where to bathe your dog. If you are washing fido yourself (vs. at a groomer) it should be based on a couple of factors. How small or large is your dog? What breed is your dog? Does he like water or is he afraid of it? You need to take all of these questions into consideration before deciding where to bathe him. If he is a small scared chihuahua, you can gently hold him in a small kitchen or bathroom sink. If he is a large breed dog, perhaps a large bathtub or even outside is the best option. If the weather is nice, you could use a garden hose and wash him there. Make sure to at least towel dry him off so he does not get cold. 

How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?

The amount you bathe the dog depends on several things. In general, dogs should get bathed once a month but that does not work with all breeds. Some breeds, such as Basset Hounds, have very oily coats and need to be bathed at least once a week to keep down excess oil on their fur. 

Many short-haired breeds with smooth coats need bathing less often as if you bathed them more it would strip the nutrients out of their hair and cause it to be dry. Larger breeds such as Retrievers, Labs, and Collies, have water repellent coats so they do not need to be bathed as often as other breeds. Dogs with thick, double coats, do better with less bathing and more brushing to shed all that excess hair and dander.

Some breeds have dry skin and skin conditions so bathing them on a regular basis would just encourage that problem. These types of skin conditions require specialized treatment shampoos and conditioners developed specifically for their skin type so consulting a specialist for these dogs it the best course of action.

So, overall, it truly depends on the breed, the skin, the coat, the condition, and the environment the dog is living in. Every dog has a unique circumstance on living quarters, location, level of activity, breed, and the simplest of them all, the ability to get dirty very quickly. There is no one size fits all when it comes to bathing dogs. Each dog is unique and has different bathing needs.

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