Whether it’s your puppy’s first or weekly dog bath, you may have encountered a problem that bothers many pet parents – an unruly canine that hates baths. But why do dogs hate baths? The best way to avoid this issue, apart from knowing how to give a dog a bath properly, is to start early and get a puppy used to it as soon as possible. Early training and prevention form the most effective approach when it comes to raising a well-mannered dog, but even so, there are a few mistakes that many dog owners make during baths, which we will cover in this article.
Not Setting up a Routine
To ensure a dog bath experience that’s agreeable to both sides, you should never neglect the rest of your dog’s hygiene. That means that baths should just be one small part of an overall, all-encompassing routine that includes things such as grooming, nail clipping, and teeth cleaning or brushing. As such, a bath will usually work best as the last step in a regular grooming session that your dog is used to. It’s also very important that you properly and frequently brush your dog’s coat, especially if it’s a long and thick fur. Apart from the main ordeal, there are other ways in which you can and should keep your dog clean as a part of that routine, such as using baby wipes and similar products to clean your pooch up when he gets a little dirty during a walk. All these things will make a dog more accustomed to the idea of grooming in general, while also understanding that baths are just another integral part of that.
Allowing for a Stressful or Excited Atmosphere
Your best bet for having a calm dog bath session is definitely doggy exhaustion. Therefore, it’s best to give your dog a bath after he has been spent copious amounts of playtime and exercise, making sure that he is too tired to kick up a fuss. Similarly, you must make sure that you don’t excite or stress your pet out before a bath. That means actual stress, in a negative sense, but also just overall excitement. If your dog is jumping around and playing with toys, then it’s certainly not a good time for a bath.
Making Bathing a Chore
The problem with many dog owners is that they too hate giving baths, which makes them irritable, unwilling, and overall negative. Dogs will sense this attitude and they will feel the same. In some cases, they can actually get the idea that they are doing something wrong, which leaves a very bad aftertaste associated with bath time. You should strive to make this a positive experience for your dog, especially if it’s your puppy’s first bath, which is crucial. For this purpose, you can use treats throughout that first session to make your puppy remember her bath as a good thing. And if your dog behaves well during a bath, it’s paramount that you reward him properly.
This goes without saying, but you must make sure that all the conditions are ideal and pleasant for your dog. That means making sure that the water is not too cold or too hot, that you are using the proper shampoos, and that the spray is not too strong if you are using a shower. Depending on your dog’s breed and thus the coat, you should consult a veterinarian to get recommendations on the perfect shampoo for your pooch. Furthermore, it’s best to avoid using any kind of dryer and instead resorting to gentle towel usage and mostly natural drying.
Half of knowing how to give your dog a bath entails understanding how frequently you should do it. Choosing how often to bathe a dog can depend on many different factors that are specific to your dog, but you might be surprised to find out that many dogs get by just fine on just one bath a month. Nowhere is this truer than with easily groomed dogs with short coats that also live in a very clean environment. Most animals, dogs included, have their own natural ways of staying clean, so they need way fewer showers than we do. And besides, washing your dog too often is not good for their skin because they must maintain natural amounts of various oils and scents. Some dogs require a weekly bath, but that’s usually about as frequent as it should get. Ultimately, you should consider your dog’s breed, grooming requirements, lifestyle, and the amount of outdoor exercise he gets.
For more on how to properly bathe your dog, check out our E-Book on Dog Grooming!