How often should we wash our dogs?

You’re quite proud of the fact that you wash Juno once a week, but then why does she continue to suffer from dry skin? It could be that you are simply washing her too much. Yes, there is such a thing.

Washing your dog too often can strip their skin of the essential oils needed to rejuvenate the skin cells, often leading to skin problems, which could kick-start a vicious cycle of increasing the number of baths, only for your dog’s skin condition to worsen

There is no definite guideline as to how often you should wash your dog, but as a general rule some veterinarians recommend you bath a dog with normal skin once a month. A number of factors come into play when considering this “rule” however:

  • Breed of dog
  • Is your dog an outside/inside  dog
  • Does your dog suffer from a skin condition
  • Tolerance of the owner

When considering all of the above; longer-haired breeds might need a bath more often, as will dogs that spend all day outdoors, playing in the mud. You might find the smell of your dog too much to handle, or that your white poodle is constantly brown. All these factors come in to play when deciding whether a bath is necessary or not.

Of course, your pooch could be suffering from dry or oily skin, or a particular skin condition, in which case a trip to the vet is in order, to firstly diagnose the problem, and then provide the necessary treatment and advice on how often you should be washing him/her, and if a specific medicated shampoo is necessary or not. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle exactly – often you need to do a few baths initially, tapering down as the weeks go by, and your dog’s skin condition (hopefully) starts improving.

Remember, regular brushing will go a long way to keeping the dog’s coat and skin in good condition, reducing the need for frequent baths.

When it is time for “the big wash”, be sure to use a proper, pH-balanced shampoo, especially formulated for dogs. Our human shampoos are not suited to a dog’s more sensitive skin. (link to pH article) And most importantly, make sure bath-time is fun-time.

Each dog is different, so find what works for you, but here are the general guidelines for washing your dog.

  1. Unless it’s a warm, sunny day, bath your dog  indoors in the bath or tub.
  2. Brush your dog thoroughly, getting rid of excess hair and working out any matted fur.
  3. Put a mat in the tub, so your dog won’t slip.
  4. Put cotton wool in his ears to protect them from soap and water entering and causing possible infection.
  5. Place your dog in the tub, holding firmly to both secure and reassure him – keep the collar on for added grip if  necessary.
  6. Wipe his face with a damp facecloth, making  sure you clean all facial folds.
  7. Saturate your dog’s fur and skin with lukewarm water, separating the fur to get to the skin if necessary.
  8. Lather him with specially-formulated shampoo for dogs, making sure to follow the directions on the bottle.
  9. Using your hands, work your way section-by-section down the chest, under the tummy and along the legs, and tail. Avoid the face/eye/ear area.
  10. Leave the soap on for the recommended amount of time.
  11. Rinse thoroughly (soap left on the skin will  irritate the skin even further).
  12. Dry thoroughly with a towel. (Most dog’s shy away from hair dryers, but if yours is a fan, those work too.
  13. Clean the inside and the outside of his ears, removing any debris or wax with cotton balls. (If your dog is a big  producer of ear wax, you might want to invest in some ear-cleaning  solution.
  14. Once dry, brush him again.

The idea is to remain calm, yet assertive throughout bath time while at the same time making it fun – so your dog associates bathing as a positive experience.

 

 

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