Handy hints for dog’s bath time

Dog spring clean
Dog spring clean

It’s A Vet’s Life by Vetsavers

The days are drawing out and the sun is fighting to show itself... it’s time for a spring clean. We don’t mean your home, no we mean your furry family member.

We often get asked by clients how often they should bath their dog. The answer is only as necessary and by that we mean if the dog needs it because they have buried themselves in a muck heap or rolled in fox poo and the smell is just unbareable.

For the more dainty dogs it may be that they are professionally groomed. Some breeds such as West Highland White Terriers or Lhasa Apsos may need regular grooming.

However, some owners feel that their dog needs a weekly bath – this is just not the case. Although a spruce up for spring won’t do any harm at all.

The usual reasons for bathing a dog are to remove accumulated dirt and debris as mentioned above.

Regular bathing is not necessary for the health of the coat or the dog and can actually strip the coat of its natural sheen. For most dogs, regular brushing will keep the coat and skin in good condition and eliminate the need for frequent baths.

If your dog has a medical condition the vet may have recommened bathing with a specially formulated shampoo. If not, choose a proper shampoo for dogs – most human shampoos are on the acidic side and therefore unsuitable.

How to wash your dog

Brush your dog before a bath. Matted hair holds water, leaving your dog with irritated skin.

Place a cotton ball into each ear (not down the ear) to keep water out.

Use lukewarm water – hot water can burn dogs. Bath water should never be hotter than what you’d run for a baby – keep it even cooler for large-breed dogs, who can easily overheat.

Talk to your pet in a calm and reassuring voice.

Work the dog shampoo into a gentle lather and massage it all over your dog’s body, being careful not to get soap in their eyes.

Rinse well. Any soap left in the coat can irritate your dog’s skin once they are dry.

Hot air from a human blow-dryer is too hot for their skin so air-dry or use a blow-dryer designed for dogs.

However, we do urge you to consider the need before you actually bath your dog as some will find it a traumatic experience. If you are doing it just because you don’t like the smell, consider alternatives, such as a dry shampoo for dogs that will eradicate the odour... or maybe a different species?