How often should my pet be bathed?
This question is surprisingly contentious. Many veterinarians and experts disagree as to how often a dog should be bathed. The best answers consider the coat type. For medium and long coat dogs, they should have more frequent baths, every four to six weeks. For short coat dogs, they should bathe anywhere between once a month to once every three months depending on preference.
What supplies do I need to bathe them?
If you choose not to go to a professional groomer, the most basic dog bathing materials include clean water, a bath tub, shampoo, and a towel, but these items have many variations. It’s important to choose quality supplies that will ensure your pets’ health and cleanliness.
- Water – make sure you have access to clean water since dirty water may carry harmful bacteria or parasites that may cause sickness or infections. Lukewarm water or warm water is also the best temperature to use as it provides comfort for your pet and ensures that they’re getting thoroughly cleaned.
- Shampoo – it’s best to not use human shampoo because it may contain ingredients that cause them to develop itchy skin or dry skin. A safer option would be to choose a gentler brand specified for dogs. If your dog has sensitive skin, they may be more prone to developing a skin issue, so consult with your veterinarian to see if they may need a medicated shampoo.
- Conditioner – using conditioner is entirely optional, but it can keep your pet’s coat soft and silky. Aside from maintaining a beautiful coat, conditioner can also detangle pet fur, especially dogs with undercoats , such as golden retrievers and make it easier to brush through. This step may be inconvenient for some, so it’s okay to skip it or look for a product that acts as both shampoo and conditioner at the same time.
- Towel – get a couple dry towels ready for your dog since they soak up a lot of liquid. Depending on if your dog shakes a lot while getting washed, it may be beneficial to have an extra towel ready for yourself as well. Hair dryers are another option if your pet is less sensitive to loud noise.
- Brush – it’s a good idea to use a brush to remove all the tangles before jumping in the bathtub; depending on your pet’s breed or size, the brush type may vary between a bristle brush, wire pin brushes, or slicker brushes.
- Securing items – if your pet hates getting cleaned, it may be helpful to use a leash and collar or special tethers to keep your dog from moving too much.
- Treats – if your dog needs an incentive to take a bath, rewarding them with a treat may be a great option. Just make sure it’s relatively nutritious and doesn’t promote unhealthy weight.
To reiterate, when filling the bathtub with water, make sure to use lukewarm water. Dogs and other pets are not like humans, in that their skin is more sensitive to hot water. Using partially warm water is best to ensure a pleasant experience for them! Another pro tip is to always use a drain block so that your drains do not become clogged from the dead hair that inevitably falls off. Also make sure not to fill the bathtub all the way because the motion of your pet and the displacement of water when they are placed in the tub can lead to excess water spilling out.
Why do dogs hate bath time?
When confined to a small space like a bathtub, dogs can feel restrained which can trigger a survival-like flight or fight response. Although dogs usually like to play in the water, this is usually only the case when it is on their own terms. If forcibly placed in water, stress hormones are often released leading to a traumatic experience. The scent of shampoo and conditioner may also be unfamiliar to a dog’s ultra sensitive nose, possibly leading to distress.