Dog bathing regularly is an essential part of their grooming routine and good hygiene. Giving dogs baths will remove any visible dirt caught from their walks and playtimes around your home. Additionally, regular bathing maintains your dog’s coat clean, shiny, and free from harmful parasites such as ticks, mites, and fleas.
Per parents should always consider that while bathing is essential for all dogs, some will require more frequent bathing while others can bathe fewer times. Bathing frequency depends on their breed, fur quality, active lifestyle, and environment
As pet parents, we only want the best for our pets, and that also goes with their hygiene. Getting our dog smelling fresh and clean can be challenging but there are always tips and tricks to follow to have enjoyable and stress-free bathing. In this article, we will be covering in-depth the guides on bathing your dog the easy way.
Table of Contents
Benefits of Dog Bathing
Evidently, bathing your dog results in good hygiene. But there are far more benefits in bathing your dog such as the following.
1. Good For Their Skin Health
2. Getting Rid of Unpleasant Odor and Dirt
There are days when your dog will roll over mud puddles and dirty leaf piles while on a walk. Once your dog’s fur seems dirty and is giving off an unpleasant smell, it is time to give your dog a good soak in water and thorough scrubbing to ensure that your dog is cleansed of dirt and unpleasant odor.
3. Improve the Relationship
Bath time is an opportunity to bond with your dog as it involves a lot of physical and verbal interaction. Especially for puppies, bath time is a way to teach them about trust and build a stronger foundation between the two of you.
4. Less Shedding
Unlike cats that lick themselves when grooming, regular bathing can help dogs in removing excess fur.
The more frequently bathing is done, the less loose fur they’ll have to shed, which is annoying to find all over your furniture. This will cut down the time you spend going around your house with a lint roller or a vacuum.
Why Do Dogs Hate Getting Baths?
Remember the first time when your dog took a bath? You can definitely notice them squirming with anxiety and stress.
If your dog feels uncomfortable every bath time, getting him clean can be challenging not only for your dog but also for you. So, why does bathing scare our pet dog so much?
1. It’s a New Experience
Every first-time experience is worthy, may it be a good or bad experience, which includes bathing. A dog’s first time encountering running water and the unfamiliar scent of soap can be different and overwhelming, so it is very much possible for them to get away from you.
If your puppy is not exposed to grooming, getting a bath can be different and weird, so you’ll want to make it as enjoyable as possible.
2. Lots of Unwanted Contacts
You may have noticed that your dog seems to love to swim in the pool, however, being in the bathtub is the total opposite of this reaction. You may be thinking “Isn’t it just the same thing of being in the water?”
Yes, you are correct with this observation but there is one factor missing when dogs swim in the pool, there are no hands holding them and giving them restrictions. When bathing in a bathtub, his owner often holds him down and keeps him still.
Some dogs find discomfort if they are being touched in ways that they are not familiar with. Sure, they love being petted and getting belly rubs, but he might not be used to massaging and scrubbing his coat with water and shampoo.
3. Bathtub Floor
Some dogs find bathtubs and floor tiles awkward and challenging to stand on because it doesn’t offer much friction and stability.
If your dog seems to stay clear from walking around tiled floors, you can consider bathing your dog in your yard with a hose or place a slip-resistant mat at the bottom of the tub to give your dog’s paw more traction and feel more comfortable.
4. Fear of Running Water
Be honest, you’ve been there too. We are sometimes hesitant to take a bath because the water might be too hot or too cold, which can also be experienced by our dogs.
While some dogs get excited when seeing running water through a hose, others might not be so charmed about it. Many dogs are afraid of bathing because the sight and sound of running water can be terrifying to them.
5. Shampoos With Fragrances
Dogs hesitate in taking baths because they don’t like the scent of their shampoo. When bathing your dog, choose a shampoo specially formulated for dogs that contain a mild scent suitable for their strong sense of smell.
Human shampoos are overly aggressive on their sensitive and delicate skin and fur. To avoid irritating your dog with the overwhelming fragrance of a shampoo, look for a mild variety that is unscented or has a significantly subtle scent.
Doggy Bathing Essentials
Dogs also have bathing routines similar to humans. They will need different bathing essentials to get them squeaky clean in no time. Here’s everything you need before wetting your fur baby.
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Brushing your dog’s coat is a vital part of canine grooming. Not only that it removes fur tangles, but it also keeps their coat looking beautiful and lubricates their skin by stimulating their natural oils and removing loose hair that can cling to your clothing and furniture.
Before and after every bath, brush your dog’s fur for the best results. There are four significant types of brushes and choosing one depends on your dog’s coat type.
1. Slicker Brushes
Slicker brushes are made of narrow and short wires joined together on a flat surface. It is the best choice for dogs with medium to long fur or curly-haired dogs to remove tangles.
When buying a slicker brush, choose the correct size for your dog’s fur with a flexible handle to make brushing your dog more comfortable.
Rakes are shaped like razors that feature one or two rows of tightly-spaced pins. They should be used with minimum pressure to get into a dog’s thick coat and remove tangles and dead undercoat near a dog’s skin.
Rakes are perfect for thick-haired dogs such as German Shepherds, Malamutes, and Chow Chows. These breeds usually have dead undercoats, especially during shedding season and their thick coats trap dirt and debris that may cause discomfort to them.
3. Bristle Brushes
Bristle brushes have clusters of tightly packed natural bristles that remove loose hair and stimulate the skin. They are best used by short-haired, smooth-coated dogs that shed frequently such as Pugs, Italian Greyhounds, and Boston Terriers.
4. Pin Brushes
Visually, a pin brush is the most similar looking to a hairbrush used by humans. They are typically oval-shaped with a set of loosely arranged bendable wires with pins on the tip.
Pin brushes are the most common type of brush but offer the least benefit. They will pick up loose hair or finish and fluff a well-brushed coat.
Use a shampoo formulated specifically for dogs as these are specially mixed for a dog’s skin quality. Dog shampoos are formulated specifically for a dog’s sensitive skin.
Human shampoos have too high of an acidity level that can irritate your dog’s skin and coat. The pH balance of human skin is different from dogs, and our shampoo can dry out a dog’s skin and coat and cause irritation from scents and other chemicals.
Conditioner is optional but it can be helpful in a couple of ways. It helps in detangling any knots and makes your dog’s fur extra soft.
If you’re bathing your dog more frequently due to sensitive skin or more of an outside dog, conditioning after applying shampoo helps keep their skin and coat moisturized.
Towels and Blow Dryer
If you don’t dry your dog after a bath, you will find them running around your house soaking wet, which includes your floor and furniture. To prevent this, use a super-absorbent microfiber towel to make drying a breeze.
If your dog has a thick or long coat, blow-drying is best to prevent hot spots and lessen the risk of tangling of the fur that regularly happens when dried naturally. Regular blow dryers with the lowest heat setting can dry your furbaby quickly. You can also invest in dog grooming blow dryers that get the job done more efficiently and will also blow out excess fur.
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How To Give Your Dog a Bath?
Here is a simple guideline on how to bathe your dog more easily and neatly. Before heading out, prepare everything you need such as the water temperature, bathing essentials, and after-bath dog treats.
1. Brush Your Dog Before The Bath
Before wetting your dog, it is recommended to brush their fur to remove any excess fur for two reasons: it will allow the shampoo to penetrate on their skin better and it will prevent excess fur from blocking your drainage.
For thick double-coated breeds, pre-bath brushing will eliminate any tangles that are harder to untangle when wet.
2. Time to Get Wet
As previously mentioned, a dog’s skin is very sensitive to water temperature so before spraying them with a hose, make sure to check if the water is lukewarm.
Make sure to saturate your dog’s coat thoroughly especially the underarms, the belly, and the rear part. Dogs with thicker coats will require more time to thoroughly saturate their coat so patience is needed.
Don’t forget to also shower your dog with praises, adoration, petting, and flattery to keep them calm and collected. Additionally, giving consistent positive reinforcement will help them associate bathing with positive results.
4. Applying the Shampoo
When applying shampoo, try to avoid the sensitive and irritable areas such as the eyes and the face. Instead, use a dampened cloth with just water to moisten and clean those areas.
Lather the shampoo on the coat thoroughly and add water as needed. Massage your dog’s coat while rubbing in the shampoo, the same way humans do in our heads. Eventually, they will find this massaging manner pleasant and relaxing.
While massaging your dog, continue giving praises by using a calm and reassuring voice to give them positive memories they can associate with bathing. In the long run, this will greatly help in eliminating any induced stress before and during bath time.
Spend time scrubbing the nooks and crannies such as their paws, stomach, armpits, and tails as these are usually the areas to get dirty quickly. Let the shampoo sit on the coat for a couple of minutes before proceeding to the next step, rinsing.
4. Rinse Thoroughly
Allow the running water to rinse off any dirt and shampoo bubbles on your dog’s coat until the water runs clear. Start rinsing from the back of their neck going to the tail direction for efficiency. Be sure to rinse the hard to reach areas such as the armpits, in between the toes and the belly to remove any shampoo sud.
If you notice a darker spot where the fur seems to be clumping together in their coat while drying them off, that’s a sign of shampoo residue. Rinse your dog again and focus on that area and thoroughly run water on it.
5. Drying Your Dog After Their Bath
Drying your dog after a bath is just as essential as brushing them. Moisture trapped in their coat for too long can result in itchiness and skin infection. Additionally, wet fur is more prone to tangling than dry fur.
Drying your dog thoroughly is typically enough especially if they have a smooth, single-layered coat. However, for dogs with thicker double-coats, blow-drying is the most effective technique to make sure they are completely dry.
Regardless of the type of coat your dog has, just use a towel, instead of a blow dryer, when drying their face and head as it is more sensitive to wind and hotter air temperature. If you’re using a blow dryer near these areas, use a hand to shield their ears and eyes from the blowing air.
You also have the option to let your dog air dry, but keep in mind that you still have to use a towel to remove excess water and brush the coat a few times to avoid any entanglement since as the coat dries, it can start to curl up and get knotted.
Once your dog is all dry, reinforce good bathing behavior by rewarding them with a new toy, or a treat. If your dog anticipates that there’s a special treat waiting for them at the end of each bath, they will always try to be on their best behavior. Just be patient and consistent in doing these steps for stress-free bathing.
Bathing will always be the best hygiene practice for your dog. Although it may be challenging at first, with consistency and patience, your dog bathing experience will become better and more enjoyable for you and your dog over time.
Keep this experience positive and rest assured that your furbaby will always look forward to their bath time!
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