Humans need to bathe to remove grime, dirt and dust from our skin. Dogs need to be bathed to remove the dirt and grime from their coats. Dogs do have a natural “doggie smell” which a bath will help improve. It is part of a regimen that is important for the health of your dog. Bath time is also an opportunity for you to check for anything unusual on your dog’s body such as a lump, a scratch, or a tick, as well as a great bonding experience.
A dog does not need a bath as often as a human does. It is not recommended that you give your dog a bath more than once a week. You will judge when your dog is in need of one. I know when my dog needs a bath as she gets that “doggie” odor!
Supplies You Will Need
Dog shampoo is formulated for dogs and is the only shampoo you should use. Do not use the shampoo you use for your hair, or baby shampoo, or your bath soap. These products will dry out your dog’s coat. There are a variety of specialized dog shampoos such as whitening shampoo to be used on white dogs to eliminate the touch of yellow they sometimes get. There is odor control shampoo which is good for dogs that spend a lot of time outside, dog shampoo for sensitive or dry skin, and medicated shampoo. Choose the one that is right for your particular dog’s needs.
Towels are a must! I purchased a micro bath towel for my dog, which absorbs a lot of water. It’s important to get your dog as dry as possible. If you don’t have a micro towel, a large towel of any type will work. Old beach towels make excellent dog towels.
If you trim your dog’s nails yourself, have the nail timer handy too. You might as well use the dog toothbrush and toothpaste as the final part of the job. Finish up by rewarding your dog with a CANIDAE® dog treat or two.
The Bath Process
In order to keep your dog relaxed, continually talk to your dog during the bath. Your voice will be a calming influence and it will take his mind off of what you are doing if he isn’t one who enjoys a bath. The best way to shampoo a large dog would be outside with the garden hose. First you should thoroughly wet the dog’s coat. Apply a liberal amount of shampoo to the dog and rub it in. Use your hands to make sure you get all the nooks and crannies. While doing that, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to check for lumps, scratches or anything out of the ordinary. Once well lathered, give the dog a thorough rinse. It is not necessary to lather the dog twice unless there had been a run in with a skunk! If you have a small dog and have a utility sink, that would be the perfect spot for a bath.
Ears and Nails
Once the dog is almost dry, this is a good time to check the ears for wax. Labs are prone to wax building up because they have very close set ears which does not allow for good air flow. Since you have the dog’s attention it is a good opportunity to check the nails. If you brush your dog’s teeth this is a good opportunity to take care of that.
By this point the dog is most likely getting a little bored with the bath game, and you are probably ready to put on dry shoes. Now it’s reward time! Take a few minutes to praise the dog for enduring the bath, throw his favorite toy or ball for him a few times and give him a dog biscuit as a reward. He will learn to associate bath time as a good thing.
A bath is necessary for the overall good health of your four legged pooch. If you follow the simple process outlined above, your dog will look good and smell nice – and be healthier, too. If, after all of this, you find it impossible to bathe your dog yourself, then go ahead and take him for a professional grooming. Check with your vet for a recommendation. The vet I use also has a groomer on staff for a reasonable price.
Read more articles by Anna Lee
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Pet Foods.