Dog Grooming Tips: Bathing Your Dog

How often should you bathe your dog? And does it matter what kind of shampoo you use? Check out our top tips for giving your dog a bath.

While giving your dog a bath might not seem like a big deal, you’d be surprised how fast it can get complicated. For instance, how often should you bathe your dog? Does it really matter how you do it, and should you worry about suds getting in his or her eyes?

Our Good Dog Hotel & Spa professional groomers in Broad Ripple have some answers to some of the most common dog-bathing questions. And remember, not only do we offer a wide range of professional grooming services, we also have self-serve bathing, as seen in this video! It’s a great way to spend quality time with your dog without the mess (see details below*)!

How often should I bathe my dog?

According to the ASPCA, your dog should be bathed at least once every three months. However, they also acknowledge that some dogs may require more frequent baths if they spend a lot of time outdoors or have skin problems. Thanks to a wide variety of gentler shampoos on the market specifically made for dogs, you can bathe your dog more frequently if needed without drying out his or her coat.

What are the steps for giving my dog a bath?

  1. Start by giving your dog a good brushing. This helps remove dead hair and mats.
  2. Fill a sink or tub with about three to four inches of lukewarm water.
  3. Place your dog in the sink or tub, and get him completely wet by using a large plastic pitcher, an unbreakable cup, or an attachable spray hose.
  4. Avoid spraying or pouring water directly in his ears, eyes or nose.
  5. Working from head to tail, gently massage in shampoo (see shampoo tips below), rinse and repeat as needed.
  6. Make sure to rinse thoroughly until there are no more suds. Some shampoo can cause skin issues if they are not rinsed out completely.
  7. Dry him thoroughly by rubbing with a large towel.

Do any breeds need special attention?

Some dogs with loose facial skin or wrinkles, like Shar Peis and Pugs, will need a little extra care. To prevent dirt and bacteria from causing irritation and infection, clean the folds regularly with damp cotton. And remember to dry the areas thoroughly between the folds.

Should I bathe my puppy any differently?

Puppies present their own set of challenges when it comes to bath time. They wiggle and squirm, jump and bounce, and make it hard to accomplish the task at hand. Not to mention their tendency to nip at your hands! One solution is to use floating toys as distractions. If possible, recruit a friend or family member to help hold your pup so you can get the job done quickly and thoroughly.

What shampoo should I use?

It’s always best to use shampoos that are formulated especially for dogs. Why? Because even though human shampoos aren’t toxic to pets, they might contain ingredients (like fragrances) that can irritate your dog’s skin and generally have a different pH balance. It’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian to make sure you’re selecting a shampoo that will meet your dog’s specific needs.

How do I protect my dog’s eyes and ears?

One way to protect your dog’s eyes from shampoo (any type of cleanser has the potential to be irritating), is by asking your vet for a sterile eye lubricant to use during bathing. You might find it’s not necessary, but always know it’s an option. Also, using a sprayer with a long hose will help you control the water flow and avoid sensitive areas during rinsing. And what about the ears? Try placing a large cotton ball in each ear until the bath is over.

*Good Dog Hotel & Spa Self-Serve Bathing makes it easy to give your dog a bath. We feature organic shampoos and conditioners, plus towels, brushes, aprons, and for the finishing touch … a bandana! Rates are $15 for the first dog, and $12 for any additional pup. 

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