Dog BathYour dog has just returned from a walk in the woods, in the park, or on the beach; their paws are brown, fur soaked with water and mud, and they no longer smell so good. You might be wondering if a bath is necessary for their well-fur (but, let’s be honest, mostly yours! Haha) or if they’re cat-like and can take care of cleaning themselves. 

To Bathe or Not to Bathe?

The short answer is: Yes, but. An oily secretion called sebum is produced at the roots of dogs’ fur follicles, giving their fur a glossy appearance and keeping their skin moisturized. Washing your dog keeps their skin and fur healthy by reducing dander and dead skin, but doing it too often might repel this oil and its benefits.

How Much is Too Much?

The answer here is more individual and can be somewhere between once a year to once a month.

While some breeds don’t need more the 1-2 washes per year, others can benefit from one every three months. If your dog is among the latter, you can wash them once a month using a mild soap. However, if they seem clean and their fur is silky, don’t rush to wash.

Still not sure? Consult with a professional groomer or your vet.

Bath-tized: In the first 3 months of their cute existence, puppies don’t need to be washed.

Let It Soak: Tips for Bath Socialization

Dog BathBefore you wash your dog for the first time, they need to get used to the idea (maybe even fall in love with it). Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  • Breakfast in bath – give your dog food or treats in the dry bath (or shower /sink).
  • Solid ground – place an anti-slip mat under your dog’s paws to avoid slipping.
  • Low tide – fill the bath with a bit of water. When they dip their paws, praise, play, or reward them.
  • Peanuts – to encourage your dog to linger longer, spread peanut butter on the tub’s sides.
  • Pull in the puddle – play with your dog as they paddle.
  • Exit sign – don’t force your dog to stay inside the water – they need to know that they can get out.
  • Hot winds – before blowing them dry for the first time, turn on the hair dryer to habituate them to the noise.

Bubble-up, It’s Bath Time!

Dog BathReady to dive in? You’ll need:

  1. Several towels for the dog and the floors
  2. A washcloth to clean their face
  3. Dog’s shampoo
  4. Hair dryer
  5. Treats
  6. Shower-head (recommended)

Wash your dog with warm water, and apply a little soap. Protect their eyes from shampoo and the inner ears from water splashes.

Thoroughly rinse all the shampoo from the fur. Dry your dog as best as possible using towels and a hair dryer. If you’re using a humans-hair dryer, set it to medium or cold wind.

Once your dog is dry, praise and give them a treat so they’ll remember that there’s always a treat at the end of the tub.

If your dog is stressed, wash one body part at a time. If that’s still too much for your pooch, that’s alright – maybe they need more time to let it sink.

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