If your dog loves to jump in puddles and play in dirt, it can be quite a challenge to keep them clean, tidy and smelling sweet. But how often should you bathe your dog and what is the best technique? PDSA Senior Vet, Sean Wensley, offers some handy hints for bathing your dog:
Before you start…
If you have a small or medium sized dog, you can use your bath at home to bathe your dog. Alternatively, if your dog struggles or is too big to be washed indoors, you could use an old bath outside.
Before starting you should brush your dog’s fur to remove any mud or debris. Dogs with long coats may need trimming before bathing.
Never use human shampoo on your dog. Many contain chemicals that are too harsh for their fur. Buy a pet shampoo from a pet shop. If your pet has sensitive skin or a medical condition, your vet may recommend using a special shampoo.
Bathing your dog…
Run the water for your dog’s bath to room temperature, making sure it isn’t too deep. You should then wet your dog’s coat and massage the shampoo in for a few minutes, following the guidelines on the bottle.
Use a sponge or flannel on delicate areas, such as the face and feet, and wash your dog’s head last. You should avoid sensitive areas, such as eyes and ears. All shampoo should be rinsed thoroughly and any excess water carefully squeezed from the coat before you gently dry your pet with towels.
Remember that pets can get cold very quickly when wet. Washing your dog on a warm day is best, taking care that your pet will not be exposed to draughts and cold. On cold days, bathe them indoors.
A dog’s coat contains special oils. Bathing a dog too often can cause these oils to be lost, so dogs should just be bathed occasionally; once a month as a general guideline, or when they become particularly dirty.
Sean Wensley says: If your pet’s skin looks red and inflamed, or they’re scratching more than usual, you should take them to your vet for advice. These can be signs of skin problems such as an infection, a parasite infestation or allergic disease. Your vet may need to prescribe treatment for these, which could include medicated shampoo.