Summer’s on its way and, for dog lovers, that means lots more walks – and lots more chances for your dog to get down and dirty, rolling in mud and sand, jumping in and out of rivers and the sea.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? But getting your dog clean again can be a lot less fun.
You may even be tempted to give the whole bath time episode a miss, but you shouldn’t. Your dog does need it’s baths – and the sooner you get your dog used to them, the easier the whole routine will be for you both.
How often should you bathe your dog?
Well, that can depend on your dog’s breed. Generally, bathing once a month works for most dogs.
Dogs with an oily coat, such as a Basset Hound, may need a bath as often as once a week. Short-haired breeds, such as a Rottweiler, a Boxer, a Beagle and a Weimaraner, can get by with less bathing and, generally, less grooming all over, making them low-maintenance friends. A dog with a water repellent coat, such as a Golden Retriever, needs less bathing to preserve the natural oils in its coat. The same goes for dogs with thick, double coats, such as Malamutes – but they do benefit from lots of brushing.
You can lead a dog to water…
But can you get it in the bath or, if it’s a smaller dog, the sink?
Dogs can be contrary creatures. They’ll happily throw themselves in the sea or a river for a swim. But try to give them a bath and they can act like you’re torturing them.
How can you make their bath time a fun time? Well, there are a few things you can do…
First, make sure your dog is well exercised. This has two advantages; one, your dog will be calmer and have less pent up energy to jump around and splash you! Secondly, dogs naturally enjoy a dip in the water when they’re hot and tired.
Take your time with the bath and stay calm – it will help your dog relax. Make it fun for them, too, by bringing a few of their toys to the tub. If you treat their bath time like a game they won’t try to escape.
Make sure the water’s not too hot or cold. Dogs prefer a lukewarm temperature.
Perhaps most importantly, start the bathing routine while your dog is still a puppy. Help them learn to relax and enjoy a bath while they’re young and bathing them as an adult will be like a walk in the park.
Getting in a lather
Once you’ve got your dog in the water, you’ve got to wash them.
You can use a dog shampoo or a baby shampoo. Whatever you use, massage it into their coats gently and be sure to keep it away from their eyes – it stings them as much as it stings us.
Make sure you rinse your dog’s coat thoroughly as any soap residue can irritate your dog’s skin.
It’s best to let their coat dry naturally but, if you don’t want them running around the house wet, you can use a blow-dryer designed for dogs. The dryers for humans are too hot for them.