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How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?

How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?

When you bathe your dog, you're helping them look and smell their best. Today, our Richmond vets share how often to bathe your dog and how to ease the bathing process to make the experience as smooth as possible for you and your pup.

How Often Should I Wash & Bathe My Dog?

Although it's important to bathe your dog regularly, you shouldn't do it too often since it can cause irritation of the skin in addition to dryness and other conditions. With that in mind, how often should you bathe your dog? The answer to this will depend on a variety of factors such as your dog's lifestyle, coat type, and health condition.

Dogs that have longer coats are prone to get more dirt and debris stuck in their fur requiring more baths (about once monthly, depending on how dirty they get), whereas dogs with shorter fur could only need a bath once every 3 months.

If your dog is active and enjoys playing in the mud and dirt they will need more baths than pups that spend most of their time indoors.

You can also give your dog a bath if they are covered in mud and dirt, they smell, or if they have oily fur. Just remember not to overdo it!

If your dog has an allergy or a specific health condition, your vet may tell you your pooch needs to be bathed more or less often.

If you are uncertain how often you should give your pup a bath, once every 2 or 3 months is a good guide to follow. However, it's always best to ask your veterinarian who will be able to inform you of your dog's specific bathing needs.

Why Should I Bathe My Dog?

While dogs are generally very good at giving themselves a bath, there are still times when they need extra help, especially if they like to roll in the mud, swim in lakes, or their fur tends to get naturally oily.

There are a handful of reasons why you should bathe your dog regularly, from helping them smell better and reducing shedding to strengthening the bond you have with your pup. Here is a list of reasons why it's important to give your dog routine baths:

  • It removes dirt and debris from their fur
  • Helps prevent skin conditions
  • Reduces shedding
  • Helps them smell better

Bathing your dog also gives you the chance to monitor your dog's overall wellbeing and keep an eye out for any signs of arising conditions such as redness, swelling, or unusual bumps on their ears, paws, nails, or skin. You even have a chance to check for external parasites such as fleas, mites, and ticks. If you see any of these unusual signs or external parasites call your vet and schedule an appointment.

Bathing Your Dog

By preparing for the task of bathing your dog, you can make the task significantly easier for both yourself and your dog Knowing how to bathe your dog and being prepared for the task can make the process easier for both you and your canine companion. Read on for a guideline on bathing your pungent pooch!

  1. Pick where you want to bathe your dog, it can be a sink, tub, patio, or kiddie pool. Make sure to bathe them in the same place every time so they know what to expect.
  2. Gather the supplies you need such as a slip-resistant mat (if you are using a tub), a brush, scrubber, and a shampoo that is specially formulated for dogs. Never use human shampoo or conditioner on your pup because it can irritate their skin and hurt their eyes. Your vet will be able to tell you about the best foods for will be best for your pooch.
  3. Start by brushing your dog's fur from head to tail to loosen dirt, and remove knots and mats.
  4. Use lukewarm water when washing your dog (never use hot water) and keep the water out of your dog's face.
  5. Talk to your dog in a calm and soothing voice, pet them often, and offer praise and treats when they are behaving. If your dog starts to resist and struggle, wait for them to calm down again before continuing.
  6. Lather and massage the shampoo all over your dog's body, be sure not to get any in their eyes, ears, or face. You can start at their paws and work your way up to the head, to provide fewer opportunities for the shampoo to run into their face.
  7. Rinse your dog from head to tail. Continue rinsing in this pattern until you have gotten all of the soap out of your dog's skin because any soap left behind can cause irritation.
  8. Dry your dog well with a warm, clean towel to help your dog air-dry faster.
  9. Let your dog's fur air-dry. Don't use hot blow dryers designed for human hair because they can be too hot for your dog's skin. If you'd like, you can invest in a blow dryer designed for dogs.
  10. Reward your dog! They made it through the bathing process, so give your dog a treat, lots of praise, and maybe even some playtime.

When Should I Take My Dog To A Professional Groomer?

If your dog dislikes baths and fights you every time you try to get them into the bathtub, it might be best to take your pup to a professional pet groomer. Professional groomers have the tools and training they need to bathe dogs of all breeds, sizes, and temperaments safely. On request, they can also provide your pooch with nail trimmings, de-shedding treatments, teeth brushing, ear cleaning, hair cuts, and more.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Contact our vets in Richmond today to learn more about bathing your dog or to schedule a grooming session with one of our on-site professional groomers.

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