Why are Dogs Man’s Best Friend?
Choosing a dog as a pet is the most popular choice for many pet lovers. Apart from loyalty, happy energy, and countless characteristics of dogs, the man’s best friend is also capable of staying relatively clean. Making dog care relatively easier.
This is because dogs have very minimal sweat glands. Therefore they secrete very small amounts of sweat. They are also easy to house train. Thus they do not accumulate dirt as they mostly stay indoors.
This is extremely important as man’s indoor companions. Other pets are more susceptible to harbour bacteria and bring it into the house. Due to dogs’ minimal sweat secretion, they are less likely to create an environment for bacteria or viruses to attach and grow.
As such, there is no need to give dog showers frequently. However, dogs still need proper grooming albeit less frequent as compared to others.
You may consider a home dog bath. This will be a wise alternative if you are on a budget. Also, pet grooming can be a great opportunity to deepen the bond and communication between you and your dog.
Of course, there are a lot of things that you need to consider when bathing a dog by yourself. We will share with you some of the precautions, necessities and techniques you need to know on how to give a dog bath step by step.
How Often to Bathe a Dog?
This depends on your dog's body composition, size, and the frequency of going out. Home dog bath helps reduce odour and unwanted dirt.
However, it is important to remember that washing a dog daily is a big NO-NO! Never apply the human concept of needing daily showers. The dogs’ skin structure is different from humans. Human skin has 12-16 layers, while dogs only have 2-5 layers. Dogs’ skin is relatively weaker than humans.
Doing a dog bath often will wash away the protective oil on the surface of their skin. Frequently cleaning a dog may also wash away the external deworming and flea treatment, if your dog uses one. Too much use of dog shampoo may make the skin more fragile. Which can make them more likely to get skin diseases.
The best time for bathing a healthy dog is about once a week to once a month. If the dog does not smell, or if they do not go outside too often, it can even be once a month.
However, there are three instances in a dog's life that they should not be given baths. Otherwise, they can easily catch a cold, and in serious cases - may lead to colds or aggravated conditions.
1. Puppies under 3 months of age.
Newborn puppies must only be bathed when extremely necessary. This is because they have not yet developed temperature regulation. Giving them dog showers may lead to hypothermia. They also have an immature immune system. Thus exposing them to water and other potential contaminants of the sink or shower area may increase their risk of infections.
Bathing puppies younger than 3 months old will also remove the natural scents. As they only rely on their sense of smell to identify their mother and siblings, this may cause stress and confusion for them. Additionally, bathing is generally stressful for most dogs, especially for very young ones. Stress can negatively affect their health and growth.
2. Old or senior dogs
Giving showers to ageing dogs is not necessarily harmful. However, you should consider their frail body. Senior dogs, especially those with arthritis and joint issues, have difficulty standing in a slippery bath. Therefore providing additional support or non-slip mats to avoid the risk of falling or possibly being injured.
Older dogs also have difficulty regulating their body temperature and may be too sensitive to the cold temperatures of bath water. Using lukewarm water may be helpful to avoid pain.
3. Mother dog that is Nursing
The same as newborn puppies, lactating mothers should only bathe when extremely necessary. This is to prevent her scent from being washed away.
All the energy of a mother dog is being used in recovering from giving birth and lactating. Therefore their body temperatures are slightly elevated. Giving them a dog shower may decrease their dog’s body temperature. This may cause discomfort and health issues.
With the high demands of feeding and rearing their puppies, mother dogs are already in a highly stressful state. Bathing a mother dog may cause aggravated stress and anxiety for both the mother dog and the puppies.
If you encounter the above three conditions in the life stages of your dog, and it is extremely important to bathe them, try gentle dog washing instead. It is recommended to use warm wet washcloths or towels. Wipe your dog's body instead.
Choose the right time when it is less stressful for the dog. Make it a quick dog cleaning. Prepare all dog wipes and towels in advance and within your reach. Plan your approach, and work as efficiently as possible. Don’t forget to wipe them dry thoroughly to help them regain their temperature and comfort quickly.
Essential Pet Grooming Tools for Bathing a Dog at Home
1. Moisture Absorbent Towels
Moisture-absorbent towels are recommended when drying your dog after a shower as it absorbs more moisture compared to normal towels. Dog bath towels like CLEAN CHARM Quick-Drying Chamois Cloth Pet Soft Towel dries your dog’s coat quickly while being gentle on skin and coat.
2. Dog Brush
Before showering, it is recommended to use dog brushes to remove loose hair. Ensure there is no matted and tangled fur from the body of your dogs. Matted and tangled fur holds more water and may cause skin irritation.
For short-haired dogs, you will generally use a short-haired brush or soft-haired combing gloves, and for Long-haired dogs generally you need brushes with longer bristles.
3. Pet Shampoo and Conditioner
Human and dog skin are different, so prepare a dog shampoo and dog conditioner, never use products for humans.
If your pet is experiencing skin problems, consult a vet to choose a shampoo specifically designed to treat the condition.
However, if you use shampoo alone, the hair will become dry, so it's also a good idea to use conditioner for your dog. Amazonia and DermCare are recommended shampoos and conditioners for dogs with sensitive, dry, and itchy skin.
4. Water Blower and Drying Box
Drying your dog after a bath is a must! Bacteria may multiply causing foul smell to form if your dog is not dried properly after a bath. Pet blow dryers save time and dry a dog’s coat and skin thoroughly.
However, pet blow dryers may be stressful for the sensitive ears of dogs. To make it less stressful for your dog, you may consider using a Pet drying box. Drying will be a breeze and relaxing for your dog.
How to Prepare the Dog Before Showering?
First brush the hair
Before using any water, remove excess hair. Comb out the knots and any matted fur. This will also remove some dirt from the top coat. Once you’ve combed your dog, it will be easier to lather when using shampoo.
Check shower temperature
Warm water is the most suitable when bathing a dog. Make sure the water is not cold or even too hot. Always check the water temperature before and during the shower. Water that is too cold or too hot may startle the dog or bring them discomfort. It may also bring them injuries.
The ideal shower temperature when bathing a dog is between 36-38 degrees. High shower temperature frequently leads to dry skin dryness. As dogs have minimal sweat glands, the dog's body temperature cannot adjust quickly. Thus dogs may likely suffer from heat stroke.
How to Properly Bathe a Dog?
Always start from the back
Start showering from the hind legs and buttocks. Never start with the dog’s head, face or ears. This is to not scare the dog. The shower head should be close to the dog's fur. This is to reduce sound and irritation. Then slowly shower from the back, going towards the head last.
The anal glands secrete most of the strong odour of a dog. Thus it is recommended to squeeze out their anal glands whenever bathing them.
To empty the glands, start by lifting the dog's tail. Grab the anal glands from both sides at four and eight o'clock positions. Squeeze out the secretions. Immediately rinse out the secretions after squeezing. This is to avoid getting it on the dogs’ hair.
This is a very tricky optional step. If you are not confident to do it by yourself, don’t force it. You may let the professional groomers or the vet do it for you.
Follow the proper order of washing body parts
First, wash the limbs, carefully wash the paw and the in-betweens. Then the buttocks go to the tail. Move to the stomach, be gentle on this area as this is their most vulnerable body part.
Go up on their back, making sure that the lather is penetrating the fur towards the skin. Move back down to their chest and check that you have covered the entire body. Finally, carefully yet quickly wash the face.
Focus areas when washing a dog
Dog’s feet get the most dirty. Their fleshy paw beads tend to deposit dirt and should also be thoroughly washed.
Dogs sit a lot on the ground. That’s why the surrounding and the area of the buttocks are also prone to dirt. Use plenty of lathered gentle dog shampoo on this part.
Many people squeeze the shampoo directly into the dog’s hair, then use their fingers aggressively to make lather. This can easily injure a dog's skin. It also has a lousy cleaning effect.
The correct way is to fully lather the shampoo on your own hands. Then use your fingertips (not your nails!) to massage the dog's skin and coat.
Finally, wash the face and remove the eye booger carefully. Never rinse the face directly with water as they might get the feeling of drowning. It may also cause the shampoo to enter the eyes and ears. It is best to use a clean wet sponge to clean the dog’s face and body.
When washing a dog's body and face, it must be done gently and not forced.
Rinse the shampoo from head to tail, then from top to bottom immediately after washing.
After Dog Bath RoutineBlow dry the hair
Gently pat the dog’s hair to remove excess water. When there is no more water actively dripping, start wiping them with an absorbent towel. You may opt to use 2-3 towels, depending on your dog's size, until they are towel dry. Then use the pet hair dryer to dry their fur. Dogs have a high sensitivity to sound. The sound of the hair dryer might scare the dog. To avoid this, it is best to let the dog get used to the sound of the water blower beforehand.
Help your dog to relax
When they are completely dry, comb the hair and apply a fur conditioner. You may also apply pet deodorant or flea powder to keep the bad odour and pests away from your pet. Petting and combing their fur also relaxes them and lets them settle down.
It is important to let the dog understand that behaving well during a bath makes them a good boy! Reward the dog with lots of praise and hooman interaction for a bath well done.
Spend time bonding with them. Do small games and give rewards and treats. This is to train them that bath time is fun and something to look forward to regularly.