One of the biggest places we make mistakes in grooming our dogs is when it comes to bath time. From not using the right shampoo to bathing too frequently or not frequently enough, despite our best intentions, improper grooming can bring about and exacerbate skin and coat issues.
Here’s how you can avoid that!
Why Regular Dog Shampooing and Bathing is Important
Just like us, our dogs get dirty. That’s an understatement! And just like us, when dirty and smelly, it’s time to whip out the shampoo and other grooming essentials. When you aren’t regularly bathing your dog, you’re leaving their coat prone to drying out, their skin at a greater risk for developing irritations, and them at the mercy of fleas and other parasites. Then, of course, there will be that lovely dog smell.
Pretty much every single dog will benefit from regular, but not too regular baths that use an appropriate shampoo formulated for dogs.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?
There is no hard and set rule for how often you should bathe your dog. Dogs that spend a lot of time outside or have long hair will need more frequent baths. Now you mustn’t bathe your dog too often as that can bring about similar problems you’ll see when you don’t bathe your dog.
A good rule of thumb is you only want to bathe and shampoo your dog when you notice they are smelling more pungent than usual. Typically, for breeds with long and medium coats, expect to bathe them every 1-2 months. While dogs with short coats may only need a bath every 3 months. Wet wipes can help cut down on the need for frequent baths that can cause problems.
How to Bathe Your Dog
Step 1: Start by giving your dog a good brushing. Make sure it’s thorough enough to remove tangles, but be careful to not agitate their skin.
Step 2: Gather your tools; you’ll need dog shampoo, a cup or hose for rinsing, a towel, and plenty of treats for using throughout.
Step 3: Make sure the water is lukewarm. Test the water temperature on the inside of your wrist. If your dog isn’t scared by running water, start by only filling the bath up a few inches to let them get used to it.
Step 4: Wet your dog’s coat thoroughly before lathering shampoo into their coat. Start at the neck and work your way down their body, being careful to avoid their face and ears.
Step 5: Rinse your dog’s coat thoroughly with water, making sure to remove all the shampoo. When you think you’ve gotten all the soap, give their coat one more rinse to be sure.
Step 6: Dry off your dog with a towel and reward them with their final treat for being a good boy or girl.
Common Dog Grooming Mistakes to Avoid
1. Shaving Your Dog
A dog’s coat is essential for regulating their body heat and should never be shaved unless advised by your vet.
2. Bathing Too Often Instead Of Brushing
Save both your and your dog’s sanity by reaching for the brush first the next time you think they need a bath.
3. Brush Your Dog Before Not After
It’s good practice to brush your dog before bathing. Not only can it save them from a bath, removing fur allows for better soap penetration and reduces hair from clogging your drain. While it can seem enticing, you want to largely avoid brushing your dog when they are still wet. Not only is wet dog hair harder to brush through, their skin is also often sensitive after a bath.
4. Getting Water In Their Ears
A dog’s ear canal is quite deep and curls to their muzzle, making it very easy for excessive moisture and liquids to get trapped that create a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. So avoid washing their ears with water when bathing them.
5. Using The Wrong Shampoo
Our skin is several times more acidic than our dogs, and our shampoos are formulated for that. Regularly using a people’s shampoo on your dog can irritate their skin and damage their coat.
6. Not Cleaning The House/Beeding First
While we might not like our dogs’ smelly odor, they think it’s quite lovely. This is why they will often run to their bedding after a bath to reclaim their old dirty scent. So make sure you clean anything that your dog regularly sleeps on. This is also why you don’t want to let your dog outside immediately after a bath because if they can’t get back their old odor, they will make a new one in the dirt.