Aqueos - How to bathe a dog
Whether your dog loves or hates water, bath time needn’t be a stressful experience! Read on to learn a vet’s top tips for bathing your dog.
There is no hard and fast rule here, as it will depend on your dog’s coat type, activity levels, health and lifestyle. As a general rule, most dogs need a bath every 3-6 months. In between, you can always use pet-safe wipes or pet-safe deodorising sprays to keep your pup clean and fresh.
Some dogs will need a bath more frequently, for example, dogs:
- with skin conditions
- with very thick coats
- who swim often
- who like to roll in fox poo and other foul-smelling substances!
If you aren’t sure, it’s a good idea to ask your vet team next time you pop into the vet practice.
It’s a good idea to start bathing your dog when they are a puppy, so they become used to it. However, it’s still possible to train an older dog to enjoy bath time too! Before you bathe your dog for the first time, it’s a good idea to get prepared.
This will depend on your dog’s size and temperament. A sink, bath, shower or outdoor area with buckets of warm water are all fine. Place a non-slip surface for your dog to stand on, so they feel safe. It’s a good idea to make sure your dog can’t bolt during, or immediately after, bath time. So they don’t become worked up or cover your house in soapy water!
Human shampoos are not suitable for dogs, as the pH of their skin is different from ours. Choose a mild dog-safe shampoo. It’s a good idea to patch test any new shampoo, to be sure your dog won’t react to it. Watch for redness, itching or scaling. If your dog has any skin or medical conditions, ask your vet for advice on the best shampoo for them.
You will need a brush, warm water, a pet-safe shampoo, a non-slip surface and some good quality absorbent towels. An extra pair of hands is always helpful. Of course, don’t forget the most important thing of all… the treats!
It’s a good idea to spend some time getting your dog used to the idea of a bath, before jumping in. Spend some time placing them in the bathing area and giving them treats. Next, get them used to the noise of the shower or bathwater. Start to spray or wet a small area of their fur. Let them smell the shampoo. Rub the towel over their dry fur. Use praise and treats throughout, to make sure it’s a positive experience. If your dog seems anxious or gets distressed at any point, stop and try again another day. This process may take weeks, so be patient and remember to stay calm! If you are stressed, your dog will be too.
Once you’ve been through all the preparation steps, you are ready to bathe your dog!
Remember not to bathe your dog after applying a flea treatment or other spot-on, please read the manufacturer’s guidelines on how long to wait. It’s sensible to take your dog for a walk before bath time, so they are nice and calm. Give them a bit of time to rest after the walk, then proceed.
Now you’re ready to bathe your dog! You shouldn’t try to bathe your dog at home if there is any risk that your dog may become distressed or might snap. Leave it to the professionals instead, and book an appointment with a dog groomer. If your dog has a skin condition, it’s important that you talk to your vet before bathing your dog. They will be able to advise you on which shampoo to use and how often you should bathe your pet.