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Do you feel like you’ve neglected washing your dog? Well, here’s some good news: you should not overbathe your dog! Overbathing a pet depletes their natural oils which can lead to dry skin, itchiness, flaking and even infection.
However, you should not neglect a needed bath! Dogs get stinky, sweaty, drooly and even muddy. Bathing them helps reduce allergens (like dander) but also reduces the risk of infections from bacteria or yeast overgrowth--not to mention reducing stink!
So get a little grooming station ready. Here’s a quick look at the how, when and why to wash and groom your dog.
Many factors need to be considered to answer the question, “How often should I wash my dog?” Mostly, this will depend on the breed and activities of your dog. Here, we will cover a few of the basic factors.
Some dogs have actual hair instead of fur. Examples include Afghans, Lhasa Apsos and Collies. Both dog fur and hair are made out of keratin, and grow out of hair follicles, but they require different care.
Long hair, especially, may get tangled. Daily brushing of some long-haired dogs works just like daily brushing for a long-haired human--it detangles and removes debris.
So do a little research on your dog’s breed to help guide bathing choices.
How often you bathe your dog also depends on lifestyle factors. A dog which gets stinky, rolls in the mud, or goes frolicking through the creek with you brings those icky, sticky filthy bits back into your house.
So, always bathe a dog that’s visibly dirty.
Your dog may get muddier or play outside more in certain months, requiring more frequent baths. Also, as the seasons change your dog may shed more. A good bath and more frequent brushing can help reduce the amount of shedding (and dander!) in your house.
Whether or not you use flea shampoo, regular bathing and certain essential oils may help naturally reduce fleas on your pet (and thus in your house).
In general, regularly brush your dog. Wash your pet about every three months, as a rule of thumb. Clean your dog anytime he gets filthy (even just wet wipes might do the trick!). Regularly groom those dogs which require it more frequently.
Some pups have sensitive skin. Doggy dandruff and eczema can be itchy, irritating, and even cause scratching (which can get infected).
If your dog has sensitive skin, be extra-sure to use a shampoo that’s safe for sensitive skin. Do not apply shampoo to open wounds! Only apply dog-approved salves or ointments to open sores.
Bathing can be a bonding time with your pet. You might also have a dog who freaks out, shakes off, drenches you, scratches and tries to run!
Is it worth it to get your pooch smelling fresh and looking clean? Yep.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help your pet do well at bathtime, including:
Don’t forget to reward your pup after bath time! More on “how to” later.
If your dog is nervous about bath time, or you just want the convenience, groomers are great! An experienced groomer does well with nervous pets and knows just how to wash and style each type of dog fur they see.
Groomers will also trim nails, cut hair, and may examine your pet for skin conditions. Your groomer is not a vet, authorized to treat skin infections! However, they may be able to identify when you need a wellness check with the vet for excessive shedding, bald patches, or other skin conditions.
Alright, so you’re ready to do that quarterly bath. How do you bathe your dog? Here are some simple steps:
If you do the above 10 steps, you’ll have a clean, healthy dog!
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