When and How to Properly Bathe Your Dog, Pt.1

Showering a dog is difficult, but you should know how to do it correctly.
Photo by Darren Richardson on Unsplash

Your dog has dirt all over its coat and is starting to smell. The time has come for your worst fears to be realized. It’s bathing time.

You might have experienced your dog running away or splashing water all over you during baths. This is because most pet owners do not know how to bathe dogs properly or how often to bathe them. As a result, some choose to give up and keep their dogs dirty. However, a clean dog is a healthy dog, and the proper bathing schedule helps maintain their overall skin and coat health while keeping them comfortable. Also, in the summer, bathing can help kill fleas and ticks in their body and relieve irritation from bites. So today, let’s make bath time fun again by learning about how often you should bathe your dog with the proper techniques.

How Often to Bathe Your Dog: Well… It depends

Because there is no one-size-fits-all answer, pet owners find difficulty determining how often they should bathe their dogs. The most accepted answer is once a month, but this can also change depending on factors such as breed, activity level, environments, and more. Let's start with the breed because it's a good starting point.

  • Short coat dogs such as Boston Terriers, Dachshunds, or French Bulldogs do not require frequent bathing. Their coats can naturally get rid of excess dirt and oil, and thus, they rarely have body odor.
  • Oily coat dogs such as Basset Hounds may need to be bathed once a week. Their skins might look greasy if not regularly washed.
  • Water-resistant coat dogs such as Newfoundland, Labrador Retrievers, and Otterhounds require fewer baths. It’s better to brush them more often to distribute their natural oils.
  • Double coat dogs such as Akitas or Chow Chows also need fewer baths. Similar to water-resistant rushing coat dogs, it’s recommended to brush them often.
  • Furthermore, if your dog is outdoorsy, enjoys rolling around in dirt, grass, or mud, and becomes dirty quickly, it’s recommended to give more frequent baths. However, if baths seem to overdry your dog’s skin, you should lessen the frequency.

    A rule of thumb is to wash them once a month unless they smell or look dirty. With trial and error, it's your job to flexibly adjust how often to give a bath depending on your dog’s activity level and how its skin reacts. There is no straightforward answer, but we’re sure you’ll figure it out.

    Important Tip: Do not over-bathe your dog as it can feel very uncomfortable. Dogs need to maintain a certain amount of oil to keep their coat and skin healthy.

    Steps on How to Bathe Your Dog: It’s not that hard following these instructions.

    After you figure out how often to bathe your dog, let’s get to the actual work.

  • Start by thoroughly brushing your dog from head to tail. Brushing eliminates excess fur and dirt while untying knots.
  • Because dogs are sensitive to heat, make sure to use warm water by checking the temperature with your hand. It should be colder than the water you typically use for showering.
  • Make sure to use the right shampoo for your dog. Natural dog shampoos are gentle on your dog’s coat and skin. However, if your dog has an oily coat, you might want to consider getting a stronger shampoo. Massage the shampoo into your dog's coat thoroughly, paying special attention to areas with thick fur or visible dirt. Try your best to avoid getting shampoo in their eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Rinse well until no more shampoo remains. Excess shampoo can cause dry skin. When rinsing, try to be gentle because dogs don’t like being sprayed. 
  • To avoid burning your dog’s skin, do not use a blow dryer. Allow them to air dry after patting them down with a towel.
  • Make sure to reward them after you've bathed them because they've gone through an unpleasant experience. Give them a treat or words or praise in your cheerful tone.
  • Now that you’ve learned all about how to bathe your dog,  it's time to put your knowledge to the test. We wish you luck in your upcoming bathing session.

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