It’s a moment we all dread: time to give the dog a bath. For owners of big dogs, baths can be difficult and messy; for those of us with small dogs, it can be stressful as our pups get anxious. The most important thing we can do is learn how to properly bathe our dogs. This will help us control mess and stress, plus get our doggos nice and clean!
How often should you bathe your dog?
Usually, once a month will suffice. If your dog’s coat is healthy, no more than once a week. More than that will strip protective oils from their fur and damage their coat. If your dog has allergies or sensitive skin, ask your vet before determining a bathing schedule.
What should you use to wash your dog?
Dog-specific shampoo - NOT human shampoo or dish soap! Dog conditioner isn’t a must-have, but it’s nice to have on hand to help detangle your dog’s fur. The shampoo will take some of the moisture out of your pup’s fur, and conditioner rehydrates it, making it look nice and healthy.
Where should you wash your dog?
That depends on the size of your dog. For big dogs, put down an anti-slip cover in your bathtub, or purchase a stand-alone bathing unit. For small pups, you can usually use the kitchen sink. Try putting down a washcloth first, so that their paws have traction. Either way, choose an option that allows you to get your dog safely in and out.
- Get your dog securely in their bathing area. Keep treats on hand!
- Get your dog’s coat thoroughly wet with warm water.
- Shampoo your dog twice. This is the most thorough way to get your pup really clean. Make sure you’re getting shampoo all over their body, and be careful with their face; try using a washcloth for sensitive areas.
- Rinse well!
- Condition your dog’s coat, then rinse again thoroughly. If you leave any product on the coat, it will look lank and dull.
- Get your pup out of the bath and give them a good towel-dry, then follow up with a little time under the hair dryer. Brush to undo snarls.
- Give treats for positive reinforcement!