How often should I wash my dog?
Although we may think of our dogs as members of our family - or fur babies, that doesn’t mean we should treat them like humans. Some people want to wash their dog’s fur as often as they wash their own fur, but in fact it is much better for your dog if you wash their coat as infrequently as possible.
Unlike humans whose skin is exposed to the elements, your dog’s skin is covered with dense fur (unless of course you own a Chinese Crested pup or an Argentine Pila) which means that the skin underneath is not as protected and is more sensitive than a human scalp. Washing your dog too frequently can irritate their skin and dry out their coat, removing the healthy naturally-occurring oils that protect them from the elements.
Unless you are showing your dog or they’ve gone to the doggie day spa for a spot of pampering, the only time you will really need to wash your pooch is if they have rolled in something disgusting or are coated in dirt. The rest of the time the natural oils in their coat will work to keep your dog’s coat healthy and clean. Of course the exception to this is if your dog has a skin condition. IN which case they may need washing more frequently with medicated shampoo to heal the problem depending on what you vet recommends. But if your dog is generally healthy, washing too frequently could also impact the effectiveness of any spot-on flea or tick treatments that you use.
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Lather, rinse repeat?
It is important to remember that dogs aren’t the same as humans and we would always recommend using a special dog shampoo when bathing your dog. If you need to wash them in a hurry (for example if they have rolled in something nasty!) and you don’t have any dog shampoo to hand then baby shampoo is easier to get hold of at short notice. It is mild enough to use on a dog’s coat and won’t sting if it gets in their eyes.
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Preparing to wash your dog
Before you wash your dog make sure that you have everything to hand that you will need. Most pet dogs are fine being washed in a bath tub or shower at home. Use a collar that is OK to get wet so that you can hold them in place and keep them steady whilst you are washing. If you have a non-slip mat that you can put in the bottom of the tub this will really help to keep them safe as you wash too. Once inside, close the bathroom door firmly in case your dog tries to make a break for it.
Make sure that the water isn’t too hot – lukewarm is fine. Take care not to get soap or water into their ears or eye and protect these with your hands as you are washing your dog.
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Washing your dog
Apply the shampoo and work up a good lather, avoiding the face as much as possible. If their face is especially dirty use a sponge or soft cloth to clean this area. Keep praising them as you wash and try to make the experience as much fun as possible. Rinse and repeat if necessary. Part their fur to see if there are any soap suds remaining and make sure they are rinsed completely clean as any soap residue remaining in the fur could cause skin irritation or flaking.
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Drying your dog
Once you are satisfied that you have rinsed your dog clean, squeeze your hands along their body to remove water with gentle pressure. Then grab a towel and rub them thoroughly, continuing to praise them, before removing them from the tub.
Depending on the weather you could let them out into your garden to dry in the sunshine or sit them close to a heater indoors, but be careful that they do not go ‘swimming’ along the grass to dry off as you could end up with a green dog that needs washing all over again. They may also roll around on the carpet indoors so make sure that your priceless Persian rugs are packed away!
If you want to speed things along, you could invest in one of our bestselling doggie hairdryers to get them dry in a fraction of the time.
Of course all breeds are different and some will need washing more frequently than others. Some dogs have Teflon-style coats that always stay clean and others attract and trap dirt like a magnet! If you’re washing your dog a lot you might want to check out our range of professional dog grooming baths too – available in our online shop.
Does your dog struggle with bath time or do they enjoy it? Got any tips for making it more enjoyable? Let us know in the comments section below!
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