Some things are obvious. If your dog has found a mud puddle, rolled in something gross, or encountered a skunk, they definitely need a bath as soon as possible. But when should they be bathed when you’re not facing one of these messy situations? Learning more about how often should you wash your dog allows you to keep your pup healthy and well, and can cut down on allergens, dander, and shed fur in your home as well.
How Often Should You Give Your Dog a Bath?
Some dogs need to be bathed once a month while others may need more frequent baths to ensure they stay clean and fresh. An indoor dog with regular activity and medium hair may need to be washed about once every two months, provided they don’t get into something stinky. There are a few things to consider when you set up a bath schedule for your pup.
- How long is their hair? Long-haired dogs get dirty more easily than short-haired breeds. They can also experience mats if they are not bathed and brushed regularly.
- Inside vs. Outside. A dog who spends most of their time inside will likely be cleaner than one who digs in the garden, swims in a pond, and rolls in any gross thing they can find. Dogs that spend a lot of time outside will need to be bathed more frequently.
- Health Concerns. Dogs that are very old, very young, or dogs that have skin problems may require special care and need to be bathed less often.
- Odor. Here’s a simple test—if you can smell your dog, it’s time for a bath!
How to Give a Dog a Bath: 5 Essential Dog Bathing Tips
The right steps and tools for the job are essential when you decide to wash your dog. Set aside some time so you’re not rushed and take things slow. The more positive the experience is, the more willing your pup will be to have a bath. Some breeds and individuals absolutely love bathtime, while others loathe the water. Even if your dog loves the bath, close the bathroom door, just in case they decide to make a run for it and explore the house soaking wet.
Make the process easy on both of you by using supplies designed just for dogs. Supplies with the right pH balance and easy rinse-ability. You should also choose a spot that will be comfortable and use that space for every bath your pup gets. It will rapidly become an accepted part of their routine.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
You don’t want to leave your pup unattended once they are in the tub so gather everything together before you fill the tub. You’ll need shampoo, a towel, a dog brush and other items for the bath. A treat or toy that will keep your dog busy is an excellent idea, too.
Choose a shampoo that is specifically designed for dogs. Human shampoo can get in their eyes or dry out their skin. We love the gentle and easy cleansing of these rinse-free bath mittens from Scrubby. You’ll get a cleanser specifically designed to be gentle and you won’t have to worry about spilling the shampoo as you work.
Step 2: Brush their Coat
Brush before you wash to remove loose hair and dander. Pet grooming gloves that remove hair without tough bristles are comfortable for your dog and easy to use. When you remove the hair first, you don’t have to worry about if filling your tub or clogging your drain. You also loosen dander and ensure your pup will get truly clean. The Hands-on grooved grooming gloves pick up excess hair and loosen dander and dead skin making it easy to bathe your pup with little mess.
If you prefer a more traditional brush, the SleekEZ fur and dander comb is specifically designed to loosen hair before it can shed and breaks up allergen-producing dander. Brush your dog all over to loosen hair then discard in the trash, not down the drain. Combs and brushes made for humans may be too harsh for your pup and may not remove as much hair as those designed specifically for dogs.
Step 3: Get in the Tub
Some dogs will happily hop right in. Others will need some persuading. For best results, fill the tub with lukewarm water, but don’t leave the faucet running while you lure your dog into the tub. The noise and activity of the water could be overwhelming. Slip them into the tub, then use a pitcher or cup to gently pour water over their coat avoiding their face and eyes.
Once your dog is wet, you can add shampoo. Either use a glove with shampoo built-in or pour a quarter-sized amount of shampoo on your hand, then apply to your dog. The Aquapaw Scrubber makes fast work of bathing and helps you clean your dog with one hand while you hold them securely with the other. Shampoo and rinse their back, sides, and legs, then carefully wash their chest and neck. Rinse carefully to get all traces of shampoo off—this will leave you with a glossy, soft coat.
Step 4: Dry Off
Drain the water and use a plush, absorbent towel like the Soggy Dog Super Shammy to get your pup dry in a flash. The soft, lofty microfibers wick away moisture leaving behind clean, almost dry fur. This cuts down on mess, and in colder months, can keep your pup from getting a chill as they dry.
Step 5: Provide a Paw-dicure
Dog’s nails grow quickly, and if left too long, can become uncomfortable or painful. Long nails also hurt the humans in the family if your pup gets excited or jumpy. Your dog’s nails have an inner core —the quick—that must be avoided when you cut. Use a tool like the Safety Nail Clipper to cut to a safe length without harming or cutting into the quick. Don’t use tools designed for humans, they could crack or break your pup’s nails.
In under an hour, your dog will look fresh and clean, and smell better, too! You can set up a regular cleaning schedule that suits their (and your) lifestyle and invest in some between-bath cleaning products for those times they get a little messy, but not enough to need a full bath. Mudbuster Silicone Dog Paw Cleaners are perfect for cleaning paws after a walk through mud or snow. They also allow you to protect your floors without having to give your dog a full bath.
Set up a consistent schedule for how often to wash your dog and your pup will begin to look forward to bath time and learn to enjoy the process. You’ll both benefit and they’ll look, feel and smell their best.