Spring Cleaning Your Dog

Owning a dog can sometimes be like having a child. This is especially true when it comes to bath time. There are some breeds that enjoy the water, but not every dog feels that way. Keeping your furry companion clean, and smelling fresh, often becomes a somewhat challenging task. But it’s one that affords both of you some important benefits. As it does for humans, keeping your dog’s skin clean helps protect them from germs and parasites. Bathing is an important step in overall health.

The first question many dog owners have is how often to bathe their pet. The general rule of thumb is once a month. There are breeds with water-repellant coats (such as Golden Retrievers) who can be bathed less often, while other breeds with especially oily coats (such as Basset Hounds) may need bathing more often. Overbathing can cause your pet to lose the natural oils in their skin, leaving them itchy. So it’s a good idea to check with your vet to make sure you’re keeping your dog’s skin clean and healthy.

A second question is what’s the best thing to bathe your dog with.  Since their fur and skin aren’t like human skin, using people shampoo to bathe them isn’t the best option. Due to differences in the pH of your dog’s skin, people shampoo can irritate them. Experts also suggest bathing your dog twice, to ensure you’ve completely gotten rid of dirt and dander. 

Make sure to hit all the spots, getting their belly, face and even the bottoms of their feet to get them squeaky clean. Follow up with a conditioner, rinsing them until all the soap and conditioner are gone. Since dogs aren’t fond of water in their ears and eyes, using a washcloth to clean their face is recommended. 

An extra step to make bath time fun is to give your dog a gentle massage while shampooing. Keep the water warm (not too hot as a dog’s skin can burn easily) and talk to them to help them relax. Afterwards you can use a hairdryer to blow dry them so they don’t get chilled. Taking a bit of extra time can make bathing fun for both you and your dog.