Properly performed bathing with specialised cosmetics affects the health of the dog and helps to treat skin problems. How often and how should my dog be bathed? Which shampoo should you choose? Find out the answers below.
How often should my dog be bathed?
It is assumed that adult dogs should be bathed at least once every three months. However, the frequency of bathing your dog should be decided individually. It depends primarily on the type of dog’s coat. Breeds with a coat structure similar to that of human hair, e.g. Yorkshire Terrier or Shih Tzu, should be bathed regularly because of the rapid penetration of dirt. Breeds with undercoat (a short, dense layer of fur next to the skin), e.g. golden retrievers, German shepherds, can be washed less often – their coat does not attract dirt easily.
Please note that too frequent bathing removes the natural oils from the dog’s coat and skin. As a result, the coat becomes dull and the skin is irritated and begins to itch. If you decide to wash your dog more often than once a fortnight, you should choose moisturising shampoos.
Bathing puppies must be particularly gentle, as their coat has not yet developed its protective layer. It is advisable to choose special, mild shampoos for puppies that contain natural ingredients and do not cause skin irritation or eye tearing. Your pet’s coat can also be washed with a damp cloth alone.
Bathing – how to do it properly?
Before bathing, we recommend that your dog is thoroughly combed and knots are removed. This will remove loose hair and dirt from the coat. It is also a good idea to buy a non-slip mat for the bath or shower tray. This will prevent your pet from slipping and reduce stress for you.
Start the bath by setting the water to the right temperature, preferably lukewarm – it should be neither too hot nor too cold. Pour the water over your pet with a gentle stream – always start at the paws or neck, never at the head and muzzle.
The next step is to spread the shampoo on the dog’s fur and leave it on for a few minutes. The product should be gently massaged in.
When the massaged shampoo remains on the body, we proceed to wet the head and ears. We pour a gentle stream over the head, remembering that it must not get into the dog’s nose in particular. We also avoid getting water into the muzzle and ears – this leads to the development of ear infections. The shampoo is then lathered in the hands and spread in circular motions. It is best to wash the muzzle after bathing, e.g. with special wet wipes.
Finally, rinse the shampoo thoroughly, ensuring that no residue remains on the coat. If the dog was heavily soiled or we feel the need to wash it more thoroughly, we repeat all the above steps.
After bathing, we dry the dog, usually using a large towel. We must remember to wipe especially the ears and paws. Some owners use a hair dryer to dry their dogs. If you choose this solution, you should set the device at a medium temperature (never the highest, as it can burn the skin) and dry from a distance of about 20 cm, while combing the coat with your fingers.
Which shampoo should I choose?
When owning a dog, we must remember to choose cosmetics for your dog that are designed exclusively for pet care. Human cosmetics, even the most delicate ones for small children, can cause allergies and irritation to the dog’s skin.
When choosing shampoos, we should first of all pay attention to the type of your pet’s coat. There are products on the market for long hair, rough hair and oily hair. Colour-intensifying shampoos naturally refresh the pigment depending on the colour of your pet’s coat, and shampoos for reducing shedding are dedicated to dogs with abundant undercoat.
For more demanding dog skin – dry, sensitive, irritated – there are therapeutic, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free or moisturising shampoos. These are formulated with soothing substances such as aloe vera, colloidal silver particles, oatmeal, tea tree oil.