Handy tips for bathing your dog with ease
Daily walks, rainy weather and energetic play can leave your dog a little mucky, so frequent baths are essential. Just how regularly you should bathe your dog will vary depending on their daily activities and the quality of the product you are using, but as a general rule of thumb you can bathe your dog around once a month.
However, if they enjoy bath time, you’re using good quality products and they have no adverse reactions, there’s no reason you can’t bathe them as often as you please! And, of course, it goes without saying that if your pup ends up covered in mud after a particularly soggy walk – it’s time for a bath – even if you bathed them the day before!
Our resident Veterinary Nurse, Louise, shares her tips & tricks for bathing your dog with ease:
- Choose the right shampoo and conditioner
It’s important to choose the right shampoo for your dog. Opt for specialist dog shampoo and conditioner to keep your pup’s coat healthy. Our favourite shampoo is Wild for Dogs, which is organic, natural and free from any nasties. It’s available via their website and will also be stocked at our WagWorks flagship store.
If you run out of dog shampoo and need to wash your pup, don’t panic, you can, as a last resort, use baby shampoo. This is gentler on dogs’ skin with a more canine-appropriate pH level than regular human shampoo – but make sure it’s free from artificial fragrance and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).
Whatever you’re using, always test it on a small area first to check your dog doesn’t have an allergic reaction to it. If your dog has particularly dry or irritated skin, we recommend consulting with your vet who will be able to recommend a shampoo that can help alleviate any skin concerns.
- Ensure you have a dedicated place to bathe your dog
It doesn’t matter whether you bathe your dog indoors or outdoors, the most important thing is to bathe them in the same place each time so they get used to the routine.
If your dog tends to move around or tries to climb out of the bath, place a towel at the bottom of the tub to provide more grip underfoot and stop them from slipping. Always use warm water and follow the instructions on the side of the shampoo.
- Give them lots of encouragement
If your dog appears a little nervous during bath time, try using an aid like a lickmat to distract them. Wild for Dogs founder, Laura Sarao, explains, “Lickmats are a game changer! Stick it to the side of the bath with your dog’s favourite treat spread over it. It will help to keep them calm and distracted, and create a positive association with bathtime!”.
Plenty of words of encouragement and extra treats will also help to build their confidence in the bath.
- Make sure you dry them thoroughly
Once you’ve shampooed and rinsed your dog thoroughly, start by towel drying them before using a hairdryer (if possible). Leaving your dog with a damp coat after a bath can lead to skin irritation and exacerbate any pre-existing conditions, so be sure to dry them off as much as you can.
- Brush your dog’s coat regularly
Before you bathe your pup, give their coat a quick brush to loosen any dirt or knots. Then, once you’ve bathed them, be sure to brush them again to remove any undercoat and prevent their fur becoming matted. It’s also a good idea to brush your dog in between baths to remove any dirt or tangles.
We recommend starting to brush your dog from when they’re a puppy as this helps them to get used to it and feel more relaxed.
If you’re wondering how often you should brush your dog, we recommend the following:
- Short haired breeds – once a week
- Medium haired breeds – 2-3 times a week
- Long haired breeds – daily
The best type of brush to use will also vary depending on the type of coat your dog has, i.e. tight and curly, smooth, wiry or long and silky. Check out the breakdown below to find the best option for your pup: