A recent survey in the US showed that most dogs are bathed once a month and for most dogs a monthly bath is frequent enough. There are some breeds with very oily coats like basset hounds that may need bathing more frequently and other short-haired breeds (like Beagles and Weimaraners) and unwilling individuals that need baths less frequently. Dogs with water repellent coats like golden retrievers or thick double coats like Samoyeds should also be bathed infrequently and brushed regularly instead to protect the natural oils in the coats. Of course, if your dog just loves the water, swimming, puddles and even just mud then rinsing him off often becomes part of his daily routine but for the proper baths it’s best to wait until they need it. With some breeds bathing at home is simply impossible as their coats require professional attention or they are too large or unwilling to contemplate the bath, in these cases professional groomers are the best answer. There are dog salons, doggie spas and even mobile units that will come out to you to make the experience as convenient as possible.
With bathing at home, small or toy breeds can often be bathed in large basins if you have one, it’s important however to make sure that he fits in properly and won’t get caught up around the taps and can’t jump back out. Otherwise the bath tub (with a non-slip mat) or if it’s warm enough, an outside paddling pool or special dog bath works well. Dogs prefer tepid to warm water for their baths. Like with us, cold water is a bit of a shock to them and if the water is too hot it can burn them.
When it comes to the actual bath, try the following steps for an easy process:
- Give him a good brush before the bath to help to remove tangles and debris.
- Make sure you have everything to hand before quickly popping him in the bath, the shampoo, water containers, brush and towels should all be ready to go.
- Keep talking to him throughout the bath and reassure him that he’s being good.
- For most dogs, it works best to have no water in the bath and simply pour over the warm water covering his body and tail. Work carefully around your dog’s head, avoiding eyes and mouth so they don’t inhale the water.
- Once completely damp, work the dog shampoo gently into his coat. Using a special brush can ensure you get the shampoo right down to the roots.
- Rinse him off, it’s important to do multiple rinses and brush through as you are pouring the water down to get all the shampoo out.
- Then wrap quickly in a towel and remove him from the water. At this point be ready for a shaking session so either pop him straight outside to shake away or cover areas with towels to absorb the water.
- For the drying stage, rub gently with towels, there are some special quick-dry absorbent dog towels you can source and dog drying clothes that are designed to take the worst off.
- If you have a breed that takes a long time to dry then a special dog hair dryer can be useful or use a human hair dryer on a very low setting. However, it’s important to keep taking breaks through the drying process so your dog doesn’t become too hot or upset with the dryer noise.
- If you just leave your dog to dry naturally, keep him somewhere warm where you can supervise him and make sure he has not been overly excited or disturbed by the bath.
- Brush through thoroughly again and spray with a coat conditioning spray if your dog needs one.
- Finally, reward him afterwards with a special treat or activity, so that next bath time he’s less reluctant to hop in.