Everyone needs regular baths, including our pups. Dog baths may only come once a month, or they may be a daily necessity. Here we’ll learn how often to wash doggos, as well as how to do it without breaking our backs - or the water meter.
Pro tip: many dogs end up getting a bath when they’ve been itching and scratching, but did you know that painful, itchy irritation may actually be skin allergies? Some dogs suffer year-round, while others may have seasonal allergies. Regardless, skin allergies are very real and very painful for dogs. EcoAllergy is a powerful anti-allergy supplement formulated with safe, effective, all-natural ingredients that will boost your dog’s immune system to quickly clear itching, irritation, redness, sneezing, coughing, and other allergy symptoms.
How often is too often?
How often should we give Fido a bath? This is an age-old question for many. Do we wait until he’s stinky? Do we out Fido on a bathing schedule? What if we’re active outdoor-types and he gets muddy every single day? Is that too often?
Luckily, there are some best practices that can help clear up all this uncertainty. First, dogs do not have the same types of skin as humans. They are sensitive to bathing, particularly when we use human products, like shampoos and conditioners. Dogs need their body oils and their undercoats to help protect them against common pests, small variations in heat and cold, and irritation that can be caused by dirt and irritants.
For example, our pups lay on the ground, which means they pick up more dirt than we do. That dirt is more likely to stay because it may stick to their coat. WIthout an undercoat or body oils, that dirt is more likely to be an irritant. Also, many dogs are indoor dogs, which is great, especially for those living below 65 degrees, or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This means our pups are exposed to floor cleaners many of us avoid coming into contact with because we wear shoes. This can also end up being an irritant for many animals.
Best Practice: Assuming normal, everyday exposure to dirt, pests, and irritants, dogs need a bath every month. This frees them from the day-to-day grime, but won’t strip them of their oils, causing increased exposure to irritants, and drying out their skin.
Where should Fido get a bath?
There are a few choices when it comes to where to bathe Fido. There’s nothing wrong with putting Fido un a hose in the backyard, if it’s a warm day. Some dogs don’t like hold hose water, so this may only be ideal for dogs who can stand still, and don’t mind getting splashed. Keep in mind, if we have to hold Fido or keep having to drag him back into position, we’re probably not going to be able to rinse all the soap, which will just lead to more irritation and the need for another bath.
There’s the bathtub option. This works great for those dogs who are agile and can jump in and out of the tub without slipping on wet, smooth surfaces. Those of us with small dogs we can comfortably and safely pick up, are a good choice for this option. Many dogs do, however, have trouble with wet, slippery surfaces. In fact, any dog over 50 pounds really shouldn’t be made to jump in and out of the bathtub because of the risk of injury. And unless we have a really long shower head, the shower isn’t ideal because we won’t be able to effectively rinse everywhere, including his underside.
DIY grooming stations are ideal for those on a budget, but who don’t want the back-breaking work of a backyard or bathtub wash down. These stations are in almost every pet supply store, in every city, across the country. They typically have raised bathtubs that are designed for dogs to be able to easily step in and out of, even when wet. The hot and cold water, towels, grooming supplies, dog-friendly cleaning products, and all of them will have a convenient way to safely tie our pups in so they are comfortable, but remain in the tub until we’re done with bathtime. The best part? There’s no clean-up. Once Fido is clean and smelling fresh, we can leave the clean-up to the staff and get on with the rest of our day.
Last, but not least, professional groomers are the way to go for those with a little more of a budget and either less time or less patience. The right groomer will be patient and kind as they bathe our pups. Plus, they’ll have all the tools they need to do the extras like nail trimming and ear cleaning.
How do I actually bathe my dog?
It’s a more common question than one might think. For those who are new to the process, it’s best to save ourselves the frustration and discomfort for both ourselves and our dog, by just going to a DIY dog-bathing station the first couple of times. Once we get the hang of it, we can graduate to other methods.
Begin with a gentle dry brushing. We don’t have to get all the way through all of his hair, but running a wide-toothed comb or slicker brush along his body will help us find any matted hair that will need our attention. If it’s really matted, we can use a pair of shears (scissors that are blunt on one side so we won’t cut Fido’s skin) to remove the mats.
Make sure the water is warm enough to be comfortable, but not too hot. Dogs tend to prefer a temperature that is slightly cooler than we like in our human showers. This is because they will be stressed out and panting during bathtime, which increases their body temperatures. Plus, their hair keeps them pretty warm.
Run the water all along their body, from head to tail. Don’t forget their undersides, and don’t forget to shield their ears, so no water gets in there. Water in the ears is the number one cause of painful, burning ear infections, even if it’s clean water. Choose a shampoo that is dog-friendly. Most of our human shampoos contain ingredients that actually cause irritation. We should lather our pups from the back of their necks to their tails, paying special attention to matted areas that didn’t need to be cut off. Then thoroughly rinse all the soap off. This is important. Any soap that is left will cause painful, itching, and even burning irritation. If Fido is really muddy, repeat this step, including an especially thorough rinse. Then add just a little dog-safe conditioner. This isn’t something we’re adding to make his hair easy to brush, like human products, although it will do that as well. When it comes to dog baths, conditioner is used to help restore and protect our dog’s hair and skin until their next bath.
To wash Fido’s face, we can wet a washcloth, gently wring excess water out, then rub his face down. Do this with just a tiny bit of dog-safe, tear-free shampoo. Then be sure to use a clean, wet washcloth to get all the soap off of Fido’s face. This is a great trust-building, bonding exercise for guardians who take the time to do it right. Meaning, no soap in the eyes and no soap or water in the ears.
Pro tip: Dogs who live an active lifestyle and end up getting muddy pretty often will need to be bathed more often. One trick is to use a very gentle, dog-friendly shampoo. This will minimize irritation. It’s also advisable to use a gentle dog-safe conditioner that will help to protect his hair and skin, not just make it easier to brush him. Choose unscented products since scents can cause irritation. Some shampoos and conditioners are medicated, which can be a good idea for those doggos who are active in areas where there is an abundance of pests, such as mites, mosquitos, ticks, and fleas. It’s also another way to ensure our dog’s skin is protected from bacteria, fungus, and lack of natural oils.
- Absorbent towels
- Comfortable, safe place to wash doggo
- Dog-friendly shampoo
- Dog-friendly conditioner
- Ear cleaner
- Shears or electric clippers for cutting matted hair
- Slicker brush
- Wide-toothed comb
Pro tip: The majority of ear infections in dogs are caused by water in their ears. Even though they may shake their heads to get that moisture out, there’s always a little that remains. It can create the perfect conditions for bacteria to grow and ear infections to thrive. EcoEars is 100% natural and safe to use. It will save you hundreds of dollars on vet visits, expensive lab tests, and medicine. Most importantly, it is very easy to use and quickly relieves Fido’s suffering, in the comfort of his own home. Use EcoEars after every bath as a preventative measure. It’s also safe and effective as a powerful ear infection remedy.
- “7 Common Bath-Time Mistakes,” PetMD
- “How Often SHould You Bathe Your Dog?” AKC
- “How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?” PetMD