Bathing your dog removes those strange smells that linger after romping and rolling. Baths also remove dirt and nasty parasites that your dog picks up on walks. But how do you know when it’s time for your pup to take a bath?
How often you bathe your dog depends on the breed, the environment, and the fur. A miniature chihuahua should have a different bathing schedule than a long-haired sheepdog. Too many baths can dry out a dog's skin, and too few can result in skin infections or disease. Here are some pro-tips to help you find that perfect balance.
Making bathtime as stress-free as possible for you and your dog requires preparation. If you have a long-haired dog, brush your dog's coat to remove tangles. Tangles can mat dog hair, making it difficult and painful to shampoo.
Also, decide where you'll bathe your furry friend. Small dogs may fit in a sink or small tub. Larger dogs may require a bathtub or shower. Outdoor baths are an option in warm climates, but colder locations require an indoor space. Once you've decided on a place, collect your supplies. You don't want to chase down a towel with a wet dog in tow.
The bathing process should be a positive experience, and finding the right dog shampoo can help. The best shampoo should be gentle on the dog's skin and easy to rinse off. Leaving shampoo residue on your dog's coat can contribute to unpleasant skin conditions.
Single-coated, short-haired dogs such as Dalmations, Boston Terriers, and Boxers may not require frequent bathing. Their coats do not trap dirt and debris like dogs with thicker or longer coats. Because of their short hair, too frequent bathing can result in dry or itchy skin.
Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Border Collies are examples of double-coated dogs. They have a shorter undercoat and a longer outer coat that is denser. They need a shampoo that can penetrate both coats. They may also require more frequent baths to keep their coat looking healthy.
When looking for dog shampoo, look for natural ingredients. Never use human shampoo and avoid shampoo containing artificial fragrances or chemicals. Soap-free options do not dry out the skin but hydrate it to prevent itchy, dry skin. Dogs with sensitive skin will benefit from chemical-free shampoo. Products manufactured in the US must meet standards that are not required in other countries.
The right water temperature and pressure can make or break bath time. Hot water can dry out a dog's skin and can actually burn the skin if it is too hot. Lukewarm water is best. Cold water doesn't clean as well, plus who wants to take a cold bath? Low water pressure provides better coverage and minimizes the fear that some dogs have with high-pressure hoses or shower heads.
For the best results, saturate your dog's coat. Work the shampoo into the dog's fur, creating a lather. Add water if necessary to ensure the shampoo has penetrated the dog's coat. For best results, let the shampoo remain on the dog's coat for several minutes. Avoid getting shampoo in your dog's face, ear canal, and eyes. Shampoo can be an irritant if it gets into a dog's eyes. Getting a dog's ears wet and failing to dry them sufficiently can lead to ear infections.
If you bathe your dog frequently, using a conditioner can reduce the possibility of dry, itchy skin that leads to skin infections. It can also help keep dogs with long hair or thick coats from getting tangles or matted hair.
Depending on the conditioner, you may need to rinse it out of the dog's coat. Again, be sure to remove as much of the conditioner as possible. If it's to remain on the dog, be sure to cover the entire area except for the face. As with shampoo, do not use human conditioner and avoid products with chemical or artificial fragrances. They can contribute to skin irritation or infection.
Make sure that all product is removed from your dog. It may be challenging with double-coated dogs, but it's crucial that shampoo is removed and conditioner is washed away if necessary. Water temperature should remain lukewarm while rinsing your pet.
There's nothing pleasant about expressing your dog's anal glands. That's why many pet owners have their veterinarians do it. In some instances, professional groomers will express anal glands as part of their grooming services. When dogs start scooting on the floor or licking their bottoms, they may need their anal glands expressed.
Most dogs express their anal glands naturally. When they can't, the fluid in the glands builds up, making them uncomfortable. That's when it's time to express your dog's anal glands. The process is usually smelly and often messy, but it's critical that the fluid be removed to prevent infection.
Be sure to towel dry your dog after a bath. Don't let them run free before drying because many dogs get a case of the zoomies after a bath. Once they have been washed and dried, let them relax in the comfort of a perfect dog bed. At Animal Matter, we have the perfect bed for your dog and the best natural bath products.
Use treats to reward your pet at different stages of the process. Consider a tie-off where the dog's lease can be attached to keep the pet from escaping. Make sure that all supplies are close so the process can move smoothly.
Giving dogs baths on a regular schedule keeps them smelling better and reduces the amount of dirt the pets bring into your home. Dogs can carry dust, dirt, debris, and parasites wherever they go. Removing these irritants can prevent potential skin infections.
Bathing a dog with a thick coat can be challenging. The first step is to brush the fur and remove any tangles or matted hair before starting a bath. Then, saturate the fur with water and add shampoo. Continue adding shampoo or water until a good lather is developed. Rinse well and add conditioner to minimize tangles in the future. Work the conditioner into the coat, whether you leave it in place or rinse it off.
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