Bathing Your Dog

Image taken from

Image taken from

Monday, February 24, 2014

Good day and welcome everyone!

This is Sharda with a wonderful newsletter about an essential part of dog grooming – bathing your dog.

Here we go!

Every dog owner has seen all of the adverts for various pet products that feature a dog running through a body of water and then shaking himself off and drenching everything in sight.

This is probably why every dog owner that has never bathed a dog before dreads it.

With water up the walls, covering you and everything else that is not hidden away, it is easy to put it off and put it off until your dog absolutely stinks.

However, bathing your dog is an essential element of grooming and one that you should get your dog used to immediately.

It is true that bathing your dog will more than likely be a messy job. However, it need not be a difficult one. It need only be as complex as you want it to be.

If you choose to use a range of shampoos, conditioners and various other products that would be at home in a spa then you are entitled to do so.

Some owners enjoy pampering their dogs in this way and many dogs enjoy it if they are introduced to it properly. After all, it is the attention that they crave from their owners after all!

However, if you do not want all the fuss and just want a simple bath and brush routine then you can do that too. It really is your prerogative. This chapter will tell you everything you need to know about bathing your dog, from the frequency required right through to the shampoo you should use!


Bathing your dog is not something that you can just do. Imagine what your reaction would be if someone just came along and threw you into a pool of water without explaining why. You would be indignant, angry and frustrated at the very least and that is exactly how your dog will feel.

He or she will also be a little bewildered and would react badly against any other attempt to do the same again so you have to prepare properly and get your dog used to the idea first.

Getting your dog used to the idea of a bath is not difficult but it may take a little time if you have an older dog. Puppies are much easier to deal with because they welcome new adventures. Even if they do not like water, it is relatively easy to get them used to it. Older dogs are different.

They may have had bad grooming experiences in the past or have never encountered it at all. As such, you should assess their reaction to water and then introduce them to the bath slowly with plenty of encouragement… and giving them treats always helps too!

Try something as simple as filling a small paddling pool outside and splashing around in there a little yourself. If there is no fundamental hatred of water then you can encourage your dog to join in and maybe even bathe them in it too!

Alternatively, try sponging your dog a little so that the introduction to water is slow but regular.

When you feel that your dog is ready for a bath, or you are ready to take the leap and get it over and done with, then you should make sure that you are completely prepared in advance.

Firstly, you should brush your dog and then comb through the fur to ensure that it is completely tangle free. If you fail to do this then you may find that the process of lathering up your dog may hurt them. If your fingers get tangled in the fur then you may well put them off baths for life.

You also have to make sure that you have got absolutely everything you need on hand so that you are able to access it quickly and easily to make the process as smooth as possible. You need to have everything no more than arm’s length away.

If you do not have all the supplies and equipment right there and have to leave your dog in the bath to fetch it then there is very little chance that your dog will stay where put! Instead, your dog will soon find a way out of the bath and bound around your home shaking dirty water over absolutely everything in his or her path.

You need the following to hand prior to putting your dog in the bath:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Rinsing tool, which should be either a spraying tool or a large plastic cup or bowl
  • Sponge or wash cloth
  • A rubber bath mat (to be put in the bath prior to placing your dog in there)
  • Old clothes or a plastic apron to protect you
  • Heavy towels
  • Scrubbing brushes

When you have all of the above in place then you are ready to start not only bathing your dog but also setting a routine in place.


Bathing your dog is an essential part of your grooming routine, so you need to pencil it into your schedule on a regular basis.

First things first, let us address the myth that is the bane of professional dog groomers’ lives – there is absolutely no suggestions whatsoever that bathing a dog too often is bad for your furry friend. In fact, you could bathe your dog every week and it would not make any difference to the skin and fur.

This myth has been around for a very long time and has gotten firmly embedded in the psyche of dog owners everywhere. In fact, the myth does have a valid origin. Many owners use human shampoos or cheap shampoos on their dogs which are, of course, bad for their skin and fur because they are not formulated for them.

This is definitely why the myth came about but is in no way connected to owners that choose a good quality shampoo that has been specially formulated for dogs.

In truth, you should bathe your dog at regular intervals so that he or she gets into a routine and so knows what to expect. You may also bathe your dog whenever he or she is dirty or starts to smell but if you are just introducing your dog to grooming then it may be worth resisting the urge in favour of a good routine as far as possible.

However, you should be aware that it may not be wise to bath your dog every single day. Drying the fur can be a mission, especially if you have a long coated dog. If you subject your dog to a bath every day then you have to dry the fur every day and that can be time consuming. If you fail to dry it properly then you are leaving your dog susceptible to illness.

Not only that, you will compromise the health of the coat itself because daily bathing will strip it of its natural essential oils. Natural oils provide warmth in winter, protection for the coat, and ensure that your dog’s body temperature remains constant throughout the year.

Bearing in mind all of the above, the frequency of bathing does depend on breed but once a month or so is fine for most breeds. There is an exception to this rule and that is if you have been told to bath your dog more frequently by a vet. If your dog has a skin disorder and has been given a medicated shampoo then you may be told to bath your dog once a week or every two weeks until it has cleared up.

As this is based on veterinary advice, you should follow it to the best of your ability. However, if this is the case then you should ask your vet if there is a coat conditioner that is oil based available for you to use to restore the natural oils that the medical chemicals will strip away.

If you do think that your dog needs a little sprucing up prior to the monthly baths then try dry shampoos for an effective and very quick wash. They will absorb the odours and ensure that your dog is in a relatively clean condition all month long.

Dry shampoos do not strip oils like wet ones do but they are nowhere near as good as wet washes in terms of how clean they can get your dog. They make good quick solutions but not long term ones so be aware of that and you will find that you are far better off in the dog grooming department.

I hope you learned a lot from today’s dog grooming newsletter.

Sharda Baker