Unlike their feline counterparts, dogs can’t and don’t groom themselves. They need regular bathing and grooming for them to stay clean and healthy. Plus, who doesn’t want a good-smelling dog? Regular baths for dogs can also keep your couch free of mud prints and your carpets free of excess dirt.
Here are some of the commonly known myths when it comes to bathing dogs:
1. Dogs don’t need regular baths
When it’s time for spring cleaning, a lot of dog owners also say “Time for spring bath!” Bathing must not just be a seasonal thing. Generally, you must bathe your dog at least once or twice a month. The frequency of bathing depends on your dog’s breed, coat and lifestyle. If it’s already winter and the last time you bathed your dog was in a kiddie pool when it was warm, it has been too long. Dogs with skin conditions, allergies or flea treatments may have to take a bath more often than others, like weekly or twice a week.
2. Flea shampoos are enough
Flea and tick shampoos are made to treat flea problems, but it isn’t sufficient for getting rid of fleas completely. You still need to groom your pet to help get rid of the fleas. Flea shampoos also don’t give dogs a complete bath, so you must follow-up with a cleansing shampoo – or better yet, use an all-around pet shampoo that also addresses skin and coat problems. Also, if your dog doesn’t have flea, he might be getting medication that he doesn’t need with flea shampoo, as it contains chemicals that are not needed for general cleansing.
3. You can always rely on your garden hose in bathing your dog
Unless you live in a place with a warm climate all-year round, hose water is not ideal for washing your dog. Hose baths are only appreciated during warm, sunny days. If you see your dog shivering, it means the water is too cold. It’s best to use warm water for rinsing off dirt from your dog’s coat, as well as rinsing off shampoo.
4. Bathing removes natural oils
No, too much bathing is what removes natural oils from your dog’s coat. This myth is only true if you over groom your dog. There are times when once a week bathing may rid the coat of natural oils, depending on the dog. But there are good cleansing shampoos and leave-in dog conditioners that help restore oils and protect the dog’s coat and skin. For dogs with skin conditions or dogs that are allergic, veterinarians might recommend frequent baths with special shampoos and medication. It’s best to consult your vet or pet groomer for a treatment plan.
5. Dogs’ coat needs to be dried with a blow drier
Just as frequent, heated blow-drying is harmful for human hair, doing the same for dog’s coats is not advisable as well. Too much heat can harm the dog’s coat and skin. Some pet groomers use heated blow drying for dogs, but sometimes it can scare the dog. Towel drying and non-heat blow drying is the safest way to dry your dog after a bath.
6. Your shampoo can be used as pet shampoo
You may have heard of horse shampoo being used as human shampoo, as it promotes hair growth. Because of this, some may have thought that shampoos for animals and for humans can be interchangeable. While horse shampoo may work for some people, using your typical shampoo for your pet dog might not be good for his skin and coat. Using human shampoos may strip essential oils and dry the top layer of a dog’s skin. Be a responsible owner and buy your dog his own shampoo.
7. Excessive bathing causes ear infection
This happens very rarely that water goes inside of dog’s ear. Yes, water can cause ear infection but this can happen only if you are bathing him carelessly without covering his ears. Like human ears, inside of dog’s ears should also stay dry. In case water goes in the ear, consult veterinarian ASAP. Yet, the fear of infection shouldn’t hold you back from giving your dog a bath. You can give him as many baths as he likes, or as needed. Just be a little cautious and follow instructions that your veterinarian gave.
8. Dogs don’t need a proper bath
Unlike stray dog, this one is a pet. Pets usually roam inside the house, eat from out tables, and cuddle with our kids and even sleep on our beds sometimes. Since they move in and out of the house several times a day therefore they need as much bathing and wiping as we do. Even if your pet doesn’t come inside the house, he still needs cleaning because unlike cats, dogs do not clean themselves naturally. Also, they need to be examined properly by the veterinarian regularly for ticks and fleas.
Giving dog a bath is tedious if the dog is scared of water. If that’s the case you need to introduce him to the bath tub/ pool by filling it up with his favorite toys, taking him out for a walk during rainy days, or just taking him with you to the beach and play games in which he would require to go near the water and bring back a toy. There are so many games that you can play with him at the beach. Once you start doing this, slowly the dog will get comfortable with water. Also for more ideas, read our article on ‘how to help your dog stay calm during rain and storm’.
If you are uncomfortable giving your dog a bath, considergetting a Bissell BARKBATH QT – QuietTone Portable Dog Bath and Grooming System that works just like a vacuum cleaner and removes all the dirt from the dog’s body and washes it deeply with shampoo. The machine will make minimal mess to avoid any post bathing cleaning stress. You can use it indoors comfortably without having to worry about any mess. The machine makes a sound just like a vacuum cleaner so make sure your dog isn’t scared of the sound. The pack comes with a shampoo, storage bag, towel and bathing tool and a manual with step by step instructions. You can buy it online from amazon:
Following are some of the tips and tricks to give a bath to your dog:
1. Brush your fluffy friend
it is a very important step! Before giving him a bath brush his fur to get rid of the excessive fur so the soap can easily penetrate in his fur and clean it properly. Also the excessive fur needs to be removed once every week to avoid it falling on your rug and linens.
2. Cover his ears with cotton balls
once you finish brushing, cover his ears properly so that water may not enter his ears. Use cotton balls to cover his ears.
3. Do not pour water over his head if it’s your first time
pets don’t enjoy water being sprayed over their heads and it should be avoided if it’s your first time giving him a bath. Cover his ears and wipe his face and head with a clean towel. Keep water away from his eyes and ears to avoid any uncomfortable reaction from his side. If you wish to wash his face make sure you hold his chin tightly so he doesn’t not move much.
4. Use dog shampoo to bathe him
do not use human shampoo or any random product to give him a bath.
5. Move from head to toe
Always start from the head. If you really need to wash his head then make sure the water doesn’t fall on his face or ears. Slowly move to the back, and legs once you feel he’s getting comfortable with the bathe. Take help if needed. You can also hire someone experienced to assist you during the baths.
6. Use warm water unless it’s very hot outside
Make sure the water isn’t too cold for him. Adjust the temperature according to the weather.
7. Rinse him thoroughly
Rinse him twice and thrice to make sure all the shampoo is removed from his skin to avoid any skin infection.