Bathing and grooming are essential when it comes to having a healthy and clean dog around. Not only will it help keep your dog fresh and clean, but will also keep your house clean as well.
We’re providing extensive details about how and why dog grooming and bathing are important. We’ve also added a few training techniques to make things a lot easier.
So, sit back and read on about the importance of general pet care.
Why Bathing Your Dog Is Important?
Let’s start with why it’s important to bathe your dog in the first place. A dirty body will attract all sorts of germs and bacteria and affect their surroundings.
Just like how we keep ourselves clean and fresh, dogs also need the same. It’s a vital part of taking care of your pets.
A good grooming session will help clear out loose hair, debris, dirt, and unpleasant smells that keep building up from their outdoor playtime shenanigans.
There are, however, specific skin conditions that would require bathing to be part of the treatment plan.
1. How Often You Should Bathe Your Dog
It’s important to know how often you need to give your pup a bath. Different dogs will have different needs and so there’s no way to tell approximately how often you should bathe them.
When to Know They Need a Bath
Lucky for you, there’s a way you can tell when they’ll be needing one. If you notice a displeasing smell coming from your dog, you know it’s time for a bath.
That or the dirt and mud they’ve got stuck to their coat could be a dead giveaway as well. Although, if the smell you’re detecting is not going away after a bath, take them to the vet.
It could be a medical issue such as a skin or ear problems that are causing the unpleasant smell.
If you can’t detect any displeasing smell from your tyke, then chances are they’re not that dirty for a bath.
Swimming can be a fun activity for your dog. If they love to swim, then you can choose not to bathe them often. The swimming itself can be makeshift bath time.
What Happens When You Bathe Frequently
It’s just as important to know what happens to your dog’s skin when you bathe them too much.
Avoid bathing your dog regularly as it could harm his skin and coat. Otherwise, you’ll end up stripping away the natural from oils their skin and coats.
However, dogs who have a skin problem may be required to have baths regularly as per their treatment. Visit your vet to find out about your dog’s skin condition and how often they should be bathed.
2. Prepare Your Dog for Bathtime
You can choose to give your tyke a bath outside or inside, depends on where both of you are comfortable with. Wherever you do choose, move all your cleaning equipment to that location.
Remember to be calm around your dog when you’re organizing their toys, towels, shampoos, conditioners etc.
You have to keep one hand on your dog at all times and use the other to grab things. Keep them in a clean, safe and reachable area for your convenience.
Place towels and equipment away from the water and keep the treats in your pocket so that you can reach them quickly. Now all you need is to get your dog into the tub or take them outside.
When Bathing Outside
Many dog owners say it’s easier to bathe their dogs outside. This works out fine if you have medium to large-sized dogs. There’s no lifting or jumping out of the tub hassle to deal with.
Not to mention, there’s less mess for you to clean up afterward. You can use your backyard as a makeshift bathing place and the garden hose set on low pressure.
Always test the water’s temperature before using it on your dog. If it’s a hot, sunny day then wait for the water to cool down. Using hot water directly on your dog is not a good idea.
If it’s a cold day, get some buckets filled with comfortable warm water. The water from the garden hose may be too cold for them.
When Bathing In a Tub
When you’re using a bathtub to bathe your dog, make sure you have everything you need close to you.
Be around your dog to supervise them and never fill up your tub. If you have a showerhead, use it. If you don’t then get some buckets and use a ladle to pour the water over your dog’s body.
Test the temperature of the water to make sure it’s not too hot or not too cold.
Always keep the flow of water on a low setting. Don’t splash or use a high force of water on them. Place non-slip mats outside the tub, and around the bathroom to make it less slippery and to prevent any injuries.
Dogs have more sensitive skin than us as their skin pH value differs from ours. When you’re bathing your dog, don’t use human shampoos on them.
There are mild and gentle hypoallergenic shampoos you can use if your dog has a healthy skin and coat. For those who don’t, the vet can help you pick one that will help their skin condition.
You can also use a similarly gentle and mild conditioner to prevent any dryness after shampooing your dog.
Remember to test out the products on a small patch before using them directly. If your dog seems irritated, try a different product or talk to your vet to help you out.
3. Train Your Dog to Enjoy Bath Time
There are a few steps you can take to train your pup to enjoy bath time. It’s going to take a lot of patience, but we promise it’s going to make your life a lot easier when you’ll be done.
Make Sure Your Dog Is Comfortable
The first step is to teach your dog to be comfortable when you’re handling them. Start by stroking or patting different parts of their body slowly, praise them when they’re calm.
Gently pat their chest, shoulders, back, and the sides. Move on the legs and see if your dog is reacting positively or not. Once you establish that they’re fine with this, try to lift up their paws one at a time.
Dogs love treats, keep praising them on their calm behavior every time your dog allows you to handle them. Stock up on their favorite treats, you’re gonna need it!
Introduce Bath Equipment
The second step is introducing them to bathing. Keep in mind you’ll need lots of treats for this, and patience!
Start slowly, introduce the equipment you’re going to use such as shampoo containers, buckets, towels, and hoses. If you’re using a bathtub to train them, then train them to stand on the non-slip mats as well.
Keep up the positive tone and praise them with treats for tolerating the process. Make them understand that bathing is a fun thing they can enjoy.
You can also stand inside the tub with them. This will make them get used to being inside the tub. Give them treats when you see they’re being calm inside it.
Turn the Tap or Hose On
After your dog has become friendly with the equipment your going to use, it’s time to take it to the next step. Step 3 is turning the tap or hose on when your dog is near it.
Turn the tap or hose on low flow and make sure your dog hears and sees the running water. Again, remember to reward them for being calm and collected.
The Final Step, Bath Time!
After you’ve successfully mastered the previous steps, you can then introduce your dog to the real thing – having a real bath.
There’s a trick you can use to make this easy for you is to take your dog out on a walk before you give them a bath. Chances are your dog will be tired and won’t trouble you too much during bath time.
The important thing you should remember is that to take it slow. Give them time to get used to it properly. If your dog starts getting upset, stop immediately and try again the next day.
4. How to Bathe Your Dog
Whenever you’re giving your dog a bath, you have to make sure you’re covering all the bases.
Here are a few items that you can use to start bathing your dog:
- Brush – Use the brush to detangle knots and trim off any mats before bath time.
- Water – Get your dog’s hair wet from their chest area to the back, sides, and all the way up to their tail.
- Washcloth – it’s better to use a damp cloth to clean the upper part of your dog that is the head. Avoid getting water in their mouths, eyes, nose, and ears.
- Cotton Balls – Use cotton balls to plug in their ears to avoid getting any water in them. You can prevent an ear infection by taking the proper precautions.
Shampoo and Conditioner
After your dog is properly wet, apply the shampoo. Start from the chest and gradually work your way to the other wet areas. Get right down to the undercoat, don’t leave out any wet places.
Once you’ve applied the shampoo, start massaging gently. Get to the shoulders, sides, neck, undersides and all the places you’ve covered with the shampoo.
After that, start to rinse them off slowly and steadily. Make sure you get through to the undercoat and rinse off all remaining shampoo. Repeat the same steps with the conditioner.
Depending on the conditioner, remember to let it sit for a while before you rinse it off thoroughly.
Drying the Dog
You’ve seen dogs shaking off the water from their body whenever they’re wet. That doesn’t get rid of all the water on them.
Use large absorbent towels to help them dry off. Never use hair dryers, many dogs don’t like getting hot air blown on them. Let them dry it off naturally.
If you have to use the hairdryer, use it only on the body, never the head. Make sure the air is set to a comfortable temperature and held quite a good distance away from the dog.
Take all the safety precautions before using a dryer.
The final step is to reward your dog with treats for being on their best behavior. Don’t reward them at the end of the bath, but in between the bath to encourage them to think of it as a fun activity.
5. Grooming Your Dog
Grooming is vital when it comes to general pet care. Brushing regularly keeps your dog’s coat in good condition. Not to mention, there’s fewer mats, knots, and loose hair to worry about when you’re preparing them for a bath.
It helps to circulate blood flow, distribute healthy natural oils over their skin, and reduce the frequency of giving baths.
Dogs who have short haired coats don’t require much grooming compared to long or medium haired coats. Long hair can get tangled too easily and can trap more dirt in them.
It’s the owner’s responsibility to observe the condition of their dog’s coat. Some grooming sessions can take just a few minutes and some can take up to several hours a week. It all depends on the type of dog.
6. Train Your Dog to Enjoy Grooming
It’s important to make your dog feel comfortable during a grooming session. It’s a step-by-step process, and it includes lots of patience and tasty doggy treats!
Patting and Stroking
The first step is to make your dog feel comfortable with you patting and stroking them. This is similar to when you train your dog to enjoy bathing.
Use the same motions as before such as, gently stroking the different parts of their body and observe how they react to it. If it’s a positive and calm reaction, give them a treat!
During this whole session, keep using a positive and encouraging tone with them. Your dog will get used to you handling them and there’s less chance of them to act out when there are tasty treats involved.
Introduce the Brush
Bring out the brush only after sufficiently stroking and patting your dog. Once you’ve made sure they’re fine with you handling them, get the brush and set it beside them.
Reward them with their favorite treats for not acting out when they see the brush. This way your dog will associate the brush with as something positive and will less likely to fear it.
If they’re fine with the brush being there, move on to using it on them. Brush lightly and gently along the direction of the hair growth to see how they react. If they’re calm, reward them.
Always remember to brush in the direction of the hair growth. Once your dog has gotten comfortable with what you’ve been doing so far, move on to brushing in the opposite direction of the hair growth.
This will give you an opportunity to check for fleas or flea dirt on their skin. Make sure the brushing is always soothing for your dog and not harmful.
There will be mats and knots, don’t try to brush them free. Use a trimmer instead to make it less painful. If you brush over them your dog will feel pain and discomfort.
Reward them and keep up the positive tone of encouragement.
Know When to Stop
At any point in the training, if your dog shows signs of being uncomfortable or upset, you have to stop. You can’t associate grooming with something that is making them feel upset.
It won’t work that way. The goal is to make them feel like grooming is a fun activity they can share with their owner.
Observe your pup and see what they’re reacting to. It could be the brush you’re using that’s making them feel pain. Contact your local vet and get to know more about the brushes and techniques you can use.
It’s smart to keep the grooming sessions short. Your dog might get overwhelmed if they don’t like being groomed, but if they don’t keep it up!
Just remember to keep praising them for being a good dog with their favorite treats!
Other than brushing your dog, you can choose to trim their hair as well. Here are a few areas of the dog’s body that may need regular trimming:
- The area around their eyes. Many dogs have hair obscuring their vision. Use a scissor carefully to avoid the eyes.
- Hair growing around the anus can trap feces which will help build up germs and give off a displeasing smell.
- The area around their chin and lower jaw can trap food around it. This can cause infections if not trimmed regularly.
- Any areas that trap debris, have mats, and tangles will need trimming.
If you’re unsure how to trim your dog’s hair, take help from your local vet. They’ll teach you the safe way to trim your dog. Always use blunt nosed safety scissors when you’re trimming sensitive areas.
Give them rewards for being calm and make them feel positive towards trimming!
We hope this extensive guide helps you learn about the importance of grooming and bathing your dog. Pet care is very vital to dogs and should not be taken lightly.
Have regular checkups, grooming sessions, and know when your dog needs a bath. This is the ultimate guide that will help you be an amazing dog owner!