Most dog owners realize that importance of hygiene for their pet’s health. However, they are unsure about many things, like how often should their pet be given a bath. This issue arises with every new dog you have because there are so many breeds that it is impossible to give a uniform answer to this seemingly simple question. There are several factors that will help you determine how often you should bathe your dog.
Possible Health Issues
Like with humans, dogs can have sensitive skin which means conventional chemicals like shampoos can cause irritation and a burning sensation. That is why you should consult a vet regarding the type of medical shampoo that will suit your pet the best. Even if the dog is in perfect health, you can still groom it. Clipping nails and cleaning ears should be part of a regular procedure. Brushing and combing the dog’s hair is something that you are already doing all the time. These activities clean the dog’s fur so it wouldn’t need a bath that often. In general, the more frequent you brush, the longer the span between two baths.
What About the Health of the Owner?
Apart from any health issues your dog might develop, your own state of health will influence the bathing cycle. It might seem odd to state so, but you can actually be the one benefiting from your dog’s bath. If you suffer from several allergies, then you are likely to react vehemently to canine dander. It resembles human dandruff, and it will make you sneeze often as if you had a cold. You will have to react immediately and start giving your dog a thorough scrub at least once a week to prevent dander from spreading through the house and getting into furniture and flooring.
The Type of Coat
Needless to say, different dog breeds have different fur textures. This can be a major factor in the “upkeep” of your dog that involves getting inside a tub full of water. Despite popular opinion, dogs with long hair don’t automatically need to have a bath more often than those with short hair or even hairless breeds, like the Xoloitzcuintli and Chinese Crested. Of course, if the hair is long, then giving such dogs a bath will pretty much exhaust you as you need to hold the animal and scrub its fur hard simultaneously. If you own a dog like this, then it will need a bath anywhere from every week to every month, depending on the type of its coat and the interim brushing.
On the other side, breeds such as Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Huskies use their fur as a natural insulator, so giving them a bath too often will work against their best interest. Too frequent baths will strip oil from the surface of the skin and weaken their health, making them prone to various illnesses. In this case, you should use anti-shedding solutions that will prevent excessive hair loss, keeping both the dog protected and you happy, as you won’t have to clean the entire house every couple of days.
Gearing Up for the Bath
Giving your dog a bath will require a pair of skilled and loving hands before anything else. Then there are the aforementioned shampoos, a brush or two, and a large tub. Although the bathtub in the bathroom that you use seems like the obvious choice, avoid it if possible. Sharing the bath with an animal is unsanitary, even if it were the cleanest dog on the planet. Instead, you can purchase a large tub and place it in the garden or in front of the building and give your dog a bath there.
In terms of safety, dogs have paws which are rendered useless on slippery surfaces that are ultra-smooth, like the bottom of a typical bathtub made out of metal. That is why placing bath mats will prevent your favorite mutt from losing balance and falling over. In case you are wondering where you can find a bath mat for dogs, the answer is simple: on the Internet. Nowadays, shopping for mats online has never been simpler, as they are delivered to your doorstep.
The Dog’s Lifestyle
It looks funny when you see it in writing, but dogs do have different lifestyles. Some are more active than, and this plays a certain role in how often they need to bathe. If your dog likes running around the park and rolling in the dust, then you will have to brush it more often. If it gets into a puddle of mud, then a brush won’t help anymore, so a tub needs to be filled with water for a soapy bath. In some cases, a dog’s hyperactivity can have a positive impact on their hygiene. If they jump into a pool of clean water, like a fountain, then they are basically saving you the effort of bathing them for that week. However, in general, the more time your dog spends outside playing, the more frequent it will be in need of a bath.
Just the Right Temperature
How you go about bathing your dog is no trivial matter. If you turn it into a torture for the poor animal, you can be sure it will never again enter the tub voluntarily. Water temperature is an important factor as it needs to be just right. The water should be neither cold nor scolding hot, as lukewarm and warm water is the temperature you should aim for. Heat the water before the bath but take great care that the water is not hot. It would create burns on the dog’s skin that is often more sensitive to extreme heat than human skin. Essentially, if you have a baby, then the water temperature you would use for their bath should suit your pet just fine.
The “Hug” Test
Finally, there is a somewhat wacky method to determine if your dog needs a bath. Some dog owners claim that when they no longer wish to hug their pet because it is too dirty, then that is the right time for a bath. Joking set aside, the visual method can actually be quite reliable. Dogs possess a natural coat cleaning mechanism that allows us to clean them using a simple brush and a comb. However, when this fine balance is disrupted, the signs become so obvious, and they can be spotted with the naked eye. If your dog’s coat is noticeably dirty, don’t hesitate to give it a bath, even if it’s not the time according to the preset schedule.
As you have seen, there are numerous factors that determine when your canine friend is ready for a thorough scrub. Make sure the bath conditions are ideal so both the dog and you will enjoy this activity.
Emma Williams is an Australian writer with a master‘s degree in business administration, who has a passion for anything lifestyle and design related. She spends most of her time redecorating and participating in house projects. As a great nature lover, her biggest pleasure is spending time in a small cottage by the river.
Follow Emma Williams here on Twitter.