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How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?

In order to remove dirt and debris from your dog's fur and help them look and smell their best, you've got to make sure you bathe them often enough. Today, our Orange Park veterinary team shares how often you should bathe your dog and explain the bathing process to help make the experience as smooth as possible for you and your canine companion.

How Often Should I Wash & Bathe My Dog?

While it's important to give your dog a bath regularly, you don't want to do it too often as it can cause skin irritations, dryness, and other conditions. So, how often should you bathe your dog? There is no one answer to this question, it depends on a variety of factors such as your dog's lifestyle, coat type, and health condition.

Dogs that have longer coats tend to get more dirt and debris stuck in their fur requiring more baths (approximately once a month depending on how dirty they get), whereas dogs with shorter fur may only need a bath once every 3 months.

If your dog is active and enjoys playing in the mud and dirt they will need more baths than pups that spend most of their time indoors.

You can also give your dog a bath if they are covered in mud and dirt, they smell, or if they have oily fur. Just remember not to overdo it!

If your dog has an allergy or a specific health condition, your vet may tell you your pooch needs to be bathed more or less often.

If you are uncertain how often you should give your pup a bath, once every 2 or 3 months is a good guide to follow. However, it's always best to ask your veterinarian who will be able to inform you of your dog's specific bathing needs.

Why Should I Bathe My Dog?

While dogs are generally very good at giving themselves a bath, there are still times when they need extra help, especially if they like to roll in the mud, swim in lakes, or their fur tends to get naturally oily.

There are a handful of reasons why you should bathe your dog regularly, from helping them smell better and reducing their shedding to strengthening the bond you have with your pup. Here is a list of reasons why it's important to give your dog routine baths:

  • It removes dirt and debris from their fur
  • Helps prevent skin conditions
  • Reduces shedding
  • Helps them smell better

Bathing your dog also gives you the opportunity to monitor your dog's health and look for any signs of arising conditions such as redness, swelling, or unusual bumps on their ears, paws, nails, or skin. You even have a chance to check for external parasites such as fleas, mites, and ticks. If you see any of these unusual signs or external parasites call your vet and schedule an appointment.

How To Bathe Your Dog

Knowing how to bathe your dog and being prepared for the task can make the process easier for both you and your canine companion. Here we have provided you with a step-by-step guide on how to bathe your dog at home.

  1. Pick where you want to bathe your dog, it can be a sink, tub, patio, or kiddie pool. Make sure to bathe them in the same place every time so they know what to expect.
  2. Gather the supplies you need such as a slip-resistant mat (if you are using a tub), a brush, scrubber, and a shampoo that is specially formulated for dogs. Never use human shampoo or conditioner on your pup because it can irritate their skin. Your vet will be able to inform you which shampoo will be best for your pooch.
  3. Start by brushing your dog's fur from head to tail to loosen dirt, and remove knots and mats.
  4. Use lukewarm water when washing your dog (never use hot water) and keep the water out of your dog's face.
  5. Talk to your dog in a calm and soothing voice, pet them often, and offer praise and treats when they are behaving. If your dog starts to resist and struggle, wait for them to calm down again before continuing.
  6. Lather and massage the shampoo all over your dog's body, be sure not to get any in their eyes, ears, or face. You can start at their paws and work your way up to the head, to provide fewer opportunities for the shampoo to run into their face.
  7. Rinse your dog from head to tail. Continue rinsing in this pattern until you have gotten all of the soap out of your dog's skin because any soap left behind can cause irritation.
  8. Dry your dog well with a warm, clean towel to help your dog air-dry faster.
  9. Let your dog's fur air-dry. Don't use hot blow dryers that are designed for human hair because they can be too hot for your dog's skin. If you'd like, you can use a blow dryer designed for dogs' that operate at a lower temperature.
  10. Reward your dog. They have made it through the bathing process, give your dog a treat, lots of praise, and maybe even some playtime!

When Should I Bring My Dog to the Groomers?

If your dog doesn't like baths and they try to fight you every time you try to get them into the tub, it might be best to take your pup to a groomer. Professional groomers have the tools and training they need to bathe dogs of all breeds, sizes, and temperaments safely.

Have questions about your dog's skin care and bathing needs? Contact our Orange Park veterinary dermatologist today.

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Animal Friends Dermatology is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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