So Fresh, So Clean! How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?
We wash ourselves every day to stay nice and clean, but our doggos don't have the same routine. Depending on what type of dog you have, and how dirty they tend to get, your dog’s bath routine will be one that is specific to them.
How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?
Depending on the breed and coat of your pup, they might not need super regular baths. Not all doggos need regular baths, a good rule of thumb is to assess your doggo visually and by scent as a indicator of when they need a bath. If you over wash your doggo they may develop overly oily skin, skin irritation, or even allergies.
Short Haired Doggo
The general rule for short haired doggos is once every few months (1-3) depending on how dirty they are. The exceptions to this are pugs, as they have oily skin, so therefore need to be washed more frequently (every three weeks). They also require a dog-shampoo catered for sensitive skin.
Medium-Long Haired Dogs
If you have a dog with medium to long fur, they require more frequent bathing as their coats tend to pick up more dirt. Typically medium-long haired dogs need to be bathed every four to six weeks. Their coats also may require more frequent brushing, after every bath and in the interim between bathing.
For breeds that shed, i.e. huskies, they need their coats bushed often, especially in the summer, as they shed and need extra help to get rid of all the shedded fur.
If you have a dog that has hair or wool instead of fur, their care routine will be very different. Typically, since they don't shed naturally, their skin and coats need special attention.
Poodles for example, need to be washed every three weeks and get a full groom every six weeks. They also need to be brushed a few times a week in order to keep their oil levels in check.
Make sure to use a gentle coat-specific dog shampoo for hypoallergenic dogs, as they tend to have more sensitive skin types.
What products should I be using?
If you’re thinking of using human-grade shampoo and conditioner on your dog — think again. Dogs’ skin has a very different PH level in comparison to humans, and therefore require dog-specific products. If you use human shampoo and conditioner on your furry friend, they are likely to experience skin irritation.
If you have a doggo with a thick coat, you will need a shampoo and conditioner specific for this fur type. There are shampoos that will help you deshed your dog’s coat to help them cool down.
If your doggo has a shorter coat, focus on their skin type and how often they need to be washed in order to choose shampoo appropriate for them.
If you have a doggo who has sensitive skin or skin allergies, opt for fragrance-free hypoallergenic shampoos and conditioners. Soap-free formulas are great for sensitive skin, as well as soothing ingredients such as aloe and oatmeal.
Always utlise professional advice from your vet in regards to any products you are going to use on your dog’s skin and coat, this is imperative if they are more on the sensitive side.
You can purchase dog grooming products from your local pet supplier or vet.
Okay, so you have the products, how do you wash your furry friend?
Keep it lukewarm!
Start with filling a bath or sink with lukewarm water. Be super cautious, your pooch's skin can be sensitive, so make sure the water is of a comfortable temperature before popping them in.
It is not time for a swim
Make sure you do not overfill the bath, your canine companion should not be swimming! Fill it so it covers their feet and is no higher than the bottom of their bellies.
If your pup is a little water-phobic, take everything slowly. Try dropping a little bit of water onto their feet or lightly splashing the water on them before lowering them in fully. Lower them in slowly, and listen to their queues in regards to whether they find the temperature of the water comfortable.
Make the experience less stressful by having some taste WAG natural dog treats on hand to distract them.
Time to get those paws wet!
Once your doggo is settled in the water, you can prepare your dog’s coat for shampoo by scooping up water with a small container and thoroughly wetting your dog’s coat. If your doggo is not loving the water, distract them with treats and lots of praise along the way.
Foam it up
Once your doggo is thoroughly wet, start shampooing them down. Apply a 10c coin size amount of shampoo to your dog’s coat and massage it in until it forms a lather.
Make sure to avoid your dog’s eyes and face with the shampoo. You can simply gently rinse this area with plain water and use a soft wash cloth if necessary.
Top Tip: If you're having trouble distributing the shampoo evenly and want avoid using too much, try diluting the shampoo with some water in the small container, and then pour it onto your dog’s coat.
Rinse and repeat
Use the container or a tap attachment to rinse off your doggo with fresh water. You may have to change the water in the tub before rinsing if your dog is particularly dirty.
If required, repeat the shampoo step. Shampooing your furry friend twice helps get rid of all the more stubborn dirt build up.
Always remember to rinse the tricky to reach spots, like behind their ears, under their legs and their paws!
Although not required for every dog, some dogs (particularly those with dry and sensitive skin types) benefit from a conditioner following a shampoo. Conditioner can help detangle matted fur and help to replace any essential skin oils lost during the shampooing process. Opt for a gentle, conditioner with naturally derived ingredients.
Get them dry
Grab a big towel and begin drying your pooch. You can use a blowdryer with a diffuser and on a low setting if your doggo has a thick coat. They might not love the noise of a hairdryer, so try giving them beef jerky for dogs to keep them happily distracted.
To brush or not to brush
A good rule of thumb to by is the thickness of your doggos coat. If you need to deshed your doggo before the wash, brush them before and after. If they have a fine and short coat, you can brush them after the wash to detangle it.
Why do dogs go crazy after a bath?
After bath time is complete, you may notice your doggo going crazy with some zoomies. This is completely normal. The pent up energy from sitting still for so long can make them need to get it out after.
Another reason could be the scent. Your doggo loves to smell like you, so their zoomie routine could simply be to try and get that usual smell back instead of this strange new shampoo scent!
Running around like crazy also helps them feel like they are air drying their coat. To your canine companion, there is nothing better than running around post-bath feeling the breeze in their fur.
A dirty dog is a happy dog
Well done, you both did it! Bath time can be no easy feat, but over time your dog will become more used to his or her bathing routine.
If your doggo rolls in something unpleasant and gets dirty, although frustrating, remember that its completely normal behaviour of a happy and inquisitive dog, and there is no need to punish them.
Bath time can also be fun. It is a great opportunity to bond and spend time with your canine companion and can facilitate a sense of trust.
We hope this blog has provided you with some tips and tricks on how often should you wash your dog. Make sure to always reward your dog after every successful bathtime - we think our yoghurt drops or kangaroo cubes would go down an absolute treat!