Grooming and bathing your dog will not only keep him healthy and clean but will also help in maintaining a sanitary environment. Additionally, it is the perfect opportunity to physically examine your pooch for scratches, fleas, bumps, and other abnormalities.
How often should you wash your dog?
The answer varies on the breed (breed’s thickness and length of fur) and their particular needs. A good rule of thumb is to bathe canines only when it is necessary. If he emits a healthy dog smell instead of something unpleasant, then there is probably no need for a bath yet. However, dogs with skin issues should follow bathing schedules along with their treatment plan.
It is important to avoid excessive baths as it can strip natural oils from the skin and coat, which leads to dry skin and irritation. There are a few factors that determine his bathing routine:
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Your dog’s coat type
One vital factor that dictates how often you should bathe your dog is the type of coat that your dog has. The popular belief, ‘the shorter the hair, the less bathing required,’ does not necessarily apply to all dogs. In fact, hairless breeds such as the Chinese crested and American hairless terrier require weekly baths. Breeds with single-layered fur may not have issues with their coat, but you have to make sure that their skin is well-protected from dirt and muck.
As for the long-haired variety such as the collie, they require more frequent grooming routine with more effort involved. If your dog has medium to large coat, bath and grooming weekly or once every four to six weeks will suffice. Just be sure to thoroughly wash his coat during baths.
Lifestyle and activity levels
Energetic dogs require an active lifestyle. Activities may include a good playtime session in the ocean, a job of herding cattle, and a hunt in the forest. The more exposed they are outdoors, the more likely they are to get dirty or wet. Moreover, this is an open invitation for the bacteria to settle on their fur, which leads to bad odour. As such, these dogs require more baths than the less active ones. Just remember to use mild dog-friendly bathing products when giving them a bath.
‘You can get away with giving short-haired dogs a good rubdown with a damp washcloth to remove the dirt that was picked up during a busy visit to the dog park,’ says Jorge Bendersky, a dog groomer and a pet expert.
However, providing an outdoor experience for your pooch is also beneficial. When exposed to diverse weather, the oils found in their coat help protect their skin from the elements as well as keeping it healthy.
Does your dog have skin allergies or any other health conditions? If he has or is prone to having certain health conditions, your veterinarian and/or groomer may give advice on what shampoo is suitable for your pooch. This could also mean that you may need to provide him with frequent bath routines depending on his condition.
Apart from your dog’s health, you, as the dog owner, are also at risk. A weekly bathing regime helps manage pet allergies or other health conditions.
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How to give your dog a bath
- Prepare a certain amount of water at an appropriate temperature. Considering that dogs have sensitive skin, the water should not be too hot or too cold; instead, aim for lukewarm water.
- Beware of high water pressure from the nozzles. Some dogs often find it startling and frightening. Make it a pleasant experience for your pooch by placing the back of your hand against the pressure whilst massaging your dog when bathing.
- Be sure to use a dog-friendly shampoo. When applying it on your pooch, avoid the areas surrounding sensitive parts such as his eyes and mouth.
- Thoroughly wash his body first and his head last.
- It is important to rinse his body thoroughly.
Drying your dog
A dog shaking his body is their natural way of drying off. You may help him dry off in these ways:
- Wrap him in a towel and start rubbing it on his body from the front to the rear end. Know that there are dogs that enjoy playing tug of war with the towel whilst their bodies are being rubbed.
- Ensure that your dog is thoroughly dry but not too dry. The skin needs moisture to keep clean and healthy. However, the moisture that causes skin issues refers to the excessive secretion from the body, such as sweat, which should be eliminated from the bath.
- Some prefer to blow-dry their dogs, though many stands against it. It would be fine to use a blow-dryer but the heat should not be too high, and never blow-dry on the same spot for a long time. Most professionals advice against the use of blow-dry as there is a risk of burning your dog’s skin.