Has she been rolling around in dirt? Or, in something worse? Has he been lying around lazily but still smells little stinky? Are your couch or carpets starting to smell like dog?
Some people enjoy giving their dogs a bath – especially if it’s a water-loving dog like a Lab or retriever, who delights in splashing around. Most people, however, see it as a chore, or, if you are a dog, it’s often something to dread. Dogs generally will resist and protest – after all, they think they smell just fine even if they are a bit stinky! After all who wants to smell like soap and perfume? Your dog may be one of the ones that runs away, cringes, digs in his paws and completely refuses to cooperate with bath time.
Rather than caving (i.e., taking her to a groomer and paying good money for a simple bath), here are a few simple ideas for making bath time less stressful and more fun: But, first question…
How Often Should I Give Your Dog A Bath?
The obvious answer is: “When he gets dirty or stinky.”
Unlike humans, most dogs get bathed relatively infrequently – from once a month to several times a year.
In a healthy dog, a lot depends on how active they are. If she spends most of her time indoors and starts to smell “doggy,” a few times a year is probably enough.
If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors and comes in smelling of something he rolled in – well, a bath is certainly in order. In fact, dogs benefit from the occasional bathing – it can soothe sensitive skin and facilitates the growth of hair follicles.
If your dog has a skin infection, skin allergies or hot spots, regular bathing can be part of the solution if you use an anti-microbial shampoo like Banixx Medicated shampoo, which fights common dog skin infections while rebuilding, moisturizing and strengthening the coat.
Don’t Bathe Your Dog Too Often
A word of warning: Don’t bathe for pooch too often, as excessive bathing can remove skin oil, irritate the skin, damage hair follicles and end up in a bacterial or fungal infection. If a bath is part of your dog’s medical treatment protocol, make sure you get advice from your vet as to how often to bath him.
What To Do If Your Dog Is Afraid of Taking a Bath
Doesn’t it break your heart to see your dog cringe and tuck his tail between his legs every time the word “bath” is uttered? Many dogs have bad associations with the concept – so do a little work ahead of time to try to change that perception into a positive one.
Here are some ideas that should help:
- Link the word “bath” with “treat.” Teach your dog to come to the bath and receive a treat, toy or extra bit of lovin’. Repeat the game numerous times – hopping into an empty tub each time – so he associates the bath with something good.
- Gradually start adding a small amount of lukewarm water in the tub while continuing with the treats every time he jumps in.
- Some dog owners have been known to even slather peanut butter on the sides of the tub so the dog can focus on happily licking on the treat instead of the bathing process.
- Be patient. If a bath strikes terror into your dog’s heart, don’t think that the desensitization process will be completed in a few tries. Stick with it and don’t go for the full bath routine until your dog gets confidence in YOU…which translates over to confidence in a bath
- Start young, if this is possible. If you have a young pup, start the bathing process as soon as you can so that she never learns to fear it. You’ll be really happy that you did when she turns into a big, strong dog!
Preparing For Your Dog’s Bath
- Very important – get the right shampoo. A dog’s skin has a natural pH of 7 – basically neutral. Human shampoo is much more acidic, meant for human skin with a pH of around 5. So even a non-tear formula for humans will not be right for your dog. And if your dog has a skin problem, you’ll need a shampoo that will help treat the condition.Banixx® Medicated Shampoo has a gentle, anti-microbial formula with the right pH for dogs. Its sea-sourced amino acids fortify hair fibers and repair damage while providing a deep-skin gentle cleansing for both skin and coat. Banixx is paraben, sulfate and soap free (key to maintaining a healthy coat), using no alcohol or steroids. Its deep-moisturizing, soothing formula is non-toxic with no added color or fragrance, and can be used daily for spot treatments or as an all-over body cleanser. And finally, it’s soap-free! so there’s nothing to dry out and de-nature your dog’s skin.
- Brush your dog’s coat beforehand. It’s always a good idea to get the mats out before they get wet. Brushing before a bath makes it easier for the shampoo to get into the coat. And note that it’s also smart to brush him AFTER the bath to keep his coat from matting afterward.
- Make sure everything you need is close at hand. You’ve got a wet dog in the bath – and you can’t reach the shampoo or other supplies. Talk about frustrating! So be sure to have the shampoo, grooming brush, treats, wash cloth, towels and other things in easy-to-access place so your dog doesn’t jump out and start shaking while you go get it.
- Create a nonslip surface. Dogs don’t like to stand on slippery surfaces, so do yours a favor by putting a towel or nonskid rubber mat in the bottom of the tub.
- De-stress the water. Before you bring your dog to the tub, fill it with water so he doesn’t worry about the sound of the rushing water. The water should be at least lukewarm if you’re bathing your dog indoors; if you’re outside, cool water is fine if the weather is warm or your dog has a heavy coat.Note: If you decide to bathe your dog outside (maybe because he sheds heavily, is quite large or has a thick coat), you can use the garden hose if the weather is warm enough. Just make sure you keep the water pressure low while bathing him – high pressure can drive bacteria into the skin.
How To Give A Dog A Bath
- Be careful with your dog’s ears. You don’t want to get water in his ears when you’re giving him a bath – he’ll hate it, plus it could lead to infection and other health issues. Try to put cotton balls in the ears to protect them from getting wet, or, if your dog won’t tolerate that, be careful not to spray any water into them.
- Start with the neck and work your way down. Use a cup/small container or a sprayer to wet your dog. Make sure to wet your dog thoroughly, working the water through the coat right down to the skin. Apply the shampoo at the neck and continue down her body to her tail, down her legs to her toes. Be sure not to overlook her underside and groin area.
- Rinse – and repeat! It’s important to remove all the shampoo from your dog’s skin to avoid drying it out and causing itchy skin and hot spots. When you’ve finished shampooing, rinse thoroughly. If your dog has thick or long fur, it’s a good idea to rinse twice or even three times to make sure the shampoo is completely gone.
- Wash your dog’s face last. Once a dog’s head is wet, she instinctively wants to shake, so it’s best to leave this to the end of the bath. Use a damp washcloth. Be sure not to get any shampoo in the eyes, but wash around them and rinse right away. And as stated above, don’t get water in the ears.
- The art of drying. The simplest way to dry your dog is to towel her off. You will need more than one towel (including to soak up the water that splashes out of the tub). Start by throwing a towel over her and using another one to dry her face, ears and feet. It’s almost impossible to get through a bath without enduring the “shake” as your dog dries herself off – she just can’t help it! So towel her off as much as possible before she does it. If you want to speed things up and use a blow dryer, just know that your dog will take some time to get your dog used to the noise and feel of air blowing on him. Set it on the cooler setting to make sure you don’t burn her skin in the process. Hair dryers are actually a good idea if your dog has a thick coat – it helps avoid damp spots in the undercoat that can lead to hot spots.
- Beware the “roll.” Dogs don’t like the smell of scented shampoo (note Banixx medicated shampoo has zero perfume). They’d much rather smell “natural.” They also feel like they need to dry themselves, even after toweling off. So after all your hard work in the bath, she will most likely make an attempt to get away and roll in the grass, dirt or worse. Some ideas to avoid this instinctive action are to crate her for a while after the bath, or better, to take her for a walk.
- Throughout the process, make it a good experience. Be calm and assertive, while talking to your dog in a pleasant, reassuring manner. Provide treats (peanut butter on the tub sides, anyone?) and rewards. Share affection. Your dog may never beg to take a bath – but your encouraging words can help ensure that she won’t hate it, either!
Banixx Medicated Shampoo
If you’re looking for a good medicated shampoo, we highly recommend the Banixx® Medicated Shampoo. It’s gentle, anti-microbial formula with the right pH for dogs. Its sea-sourced amino acids fortify hair fibers and repair damage while providing a deep-skin gentle cleansing for both skin and coat. Banixx is paraben, sulfate and soap free (key to maintaining a healthy coat), using no alcohol or steroids. Its deep-moisturizing, soothing formula is non-toxic with no added color or fragrance, and can be used daily for spot treatments or as an all-over body cleanser. And finally, it’s soap-free! so there’s nothing to dry out and de-nature your dog’s skin.