Dog Washing: What, When and How?
Bathing, washing and grooming your dog seems easy, right? But you suddenly become faced with this task and have no idea where you’re supposed to start.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! We have a tough enough time trying to decide our own hair care routines and decide on products, let alone our dogs. We’re here with some tips and advice on where to start.
Why should you wash your dog?
Bathing your dog doesn’t just have the one benefit of keeping your dog clean, it has a positive effect on their overall health.
Dog washing promotes a healthy coat and skin, keeping your dog’s appearance glowing. It helps to remove dirt and loose hair to minimise skin diseases and infections.
You may have a medical treatment plan to treat a disease which involves bathing your dog.
Bathing is a great way to bond with your dog too, helping them to feel safe around you and form trust.
How often should you wash your dog?
Different breeds have different needs, as we know. Short haired dog breeds, long haired dog breeds, dogs with dense coats and dogs with light coats all have different grooming demands. It’s important that you research your specific breed of dog to find out just how often your dog needs to be bathed. You could also ask your breeder or shelter to share this
information with you if needs be.
Bathing your dog too much is much like bathing humans too much! Their skin and coat will become dry from washing their natural oils too much, having the adverse effect.
Dogs with special treatment plans for problems such as skin diseases may be advised differently than their normal routine.
You should of course clean your dog when they get dirty. Leaving dirt (mud, sand, etc), to sit in your dog’s coat is not only uncomfortable and unhygienic but also a recipe for skin diseases, (like hotspots).
To give you an example of times between each dog wash:
Dogs like Bassett Hounds have an oily coat, meaning they may need more frequent washing, (once a week).
Dog breeds like Beagles and Weimaraners have smooth coats and are usually fine with less frequent baths, (once every 4-8 weeks).
Golden Retrievers have water-repellent coats. Breeds like this should also be bathed less often to preserve their natural oils, (once every 6 weeks).
Dogs with thick, double coats such as Malamutes also do just fine with fewer baths – but need extra brushing to help prevent matting, (once every 6 weeks).
How to keep dog coat shiny between washing
There are many ways of keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy between baths! Here are our favourite tips to improve your dog’s skin and coat:
- Fish: tune, sardines and salmon. These are full of omega 3 fatty acids which is extremely beneficial for skin problems and general maintenance of the skin. We highly recommend omega 3 supplements, such as Skin + Coat for Dogs, as a way of boosting your dog’s essential fatty acid intake over fish oil for dogs.
- When purchasing dog food, opt for those that have protein as the first ingredient. Avoid things with too many preservatives and provide a balanced diet aligned with their nutritional standards.
- Brush your dog! See further down this article why it’s so important to stay on top of this one.
- Use oatmeal when bathing. Oatmeal is a soothing product which is soft on dog’s skin. Add it to your dog’s bath and see the effects between washes!
What products to use when washing a dog
There are plenty of dog products out there. Finding the right one for you and your dog is important.
Your choice of shampoo for dogs and conditioner for dogs should depend on the breed that you have. Hypoallergenic products generally work well for dogs with healthy skin and coat as they are mild and gentle. Dogs with skin conditions or sensitive dog skin will need advice from your vet to make sure you’re using a product that isn’t detrimental to their recovery.
Where to bathe a dog
Sensible places to bath or wash your dog are wherever is appropriate for you!
Somewhere that you don’t mind getting messy is perfect. Many opt for an outdoor space so there’s less cleaning up involved. This isn’t overly practical when colder weather hits so an alternative option may be your own bath.
Some people have dog baths installed in their homes, others may use a mobile dog wash or simply take a trip to the grooming salon!
As long as your dog is comfortable and safe, where you want to bathe your dog is entirely up to you.
How to wash your dog
Washing your dog doesn’t need to be complicated. You just need to take simple steps to wash your dog, much like if you were to wash yourself.
The hardest part is training your dog to like being washed, the easy part is washing.
Have a brush, cloth, towel and your products within reach so you don’t have to leave your dog alone in the tub.
Brush your dog. This is to get any tangles out and avoid matting whilst washing. It will also remove any loose fur before getting your dog wet.
Wet your dog! Be sure to soak your dog all over. They’re unlike to like their head and face being watered so use a cloth here to wet them. It will also be a nicer and more gentle experience for them this way.
Shampoo your dog. Think like you are washing your own hair. Gently massage your chosen shampoo into their body. Don’t forget to cover all areas including feet, behind ears and tail. Rinse the shampoo using water, making sure it has all been washed away. Repeat the same process with dog conditioner if you choose to use it.
Dry them. Using a large towel, thoroughly dry your dog’s coat so they aren’t dripping. They’ll fully dry naturally and relatively quickly. Avoid using a hair dryer unless necessary. They aren’t the most comfortable for a dog and often too hot. If you do need to use a hair dryer, keep it safe and avoid blowing the hot air into your dog’s face.
Reward good behaviour. We want your dog to associate their bath time with a positive experience. Rewarding your dog for their behaviour will reinforce this positivity.
Enjoy your newly washed and clean dog!
Why do you need to brush/groom your dog?
Staying on top of your dog’s brushing and grooming needs is essential. Th health of your dog’s skin and coat often an indicator of their overall health and let’s face it, everyone likes to look good too!
Grooming and brushing your dog as often as they need helps to keep their coat in good condition. Brushing ensures their coat doesn’t matt or knot - it can be painful for your dog if this does occur so best to avoid it! Brushing regularly also removes dead or loose hair, meaning less shedding around your house.
Dogs have natural oils just like humans. Using a dog brush means you can help distribute these natural oils around the body evenly.
Not brushing your dog as regularly as they need it may cause health complications or unwanted skin diseases. Skin infections and irritations can occur if your dog is left unbrushed as well as matting.
Taking your dog to a professional grooming salon or having a mobile groomer is extremely beneficial too. Their services go beyond a wash and blow dry. They can spot many things for you such as skin problems, fleas and ticks sometimes before it becomes a problem. Regular dog grooming can only be a good thing!
What happens at the dog groomers?
Different dog groomers provide different services. You should choose your dog groomer based on what your dog needs and the service to match, not always on price.
You want your dog to feel comfortable as well as yourself when you drop them off. Choose someone you trust and is professional.
Brushing, ear cleaning, nail clipping, washing and cutting are all steps involved in a dog groom. A groomer for dogs will use special tools and techniques to complete the job, much like your hairdresser would. They’ll pay attention to details like feet, ears, fur and nails and even do the jobs you might not be a fan of like anal gland expression.
Keeping up with grooming, washing and brushing your dog plays a crucial part in your dog’s overall health and should never be neglected.
If you’re looking for a groomer near you, we’ll post our favourites below!
Dog groomers around Australia:
Mad Paws: https://www.madpaws.com.au
Dog groomers in Sydney (and mobile dog washing in Sydney):
Blue Wheelers: https://www.bluewheelers.com.au/dog-grooming/sydney/
Dog groomers in Melbourne:
Geelong Dog Groomer: https://www.geelongdoggroomer.com.au/
Dog groomers in Perth:
K9 Playtime: https://www.k9playtime.com.au/