Giving your dog a bath doesn’t have to be a chore. The following tips will help you introduce your dog to taking baths and deal with some common issues and concerns associated with dog baths. We also have step-by-step instructions on how to give your dog a bath when you’re ready.
How often to bath a dog
How often you’ll have to bath your dog depends on a number of factors such as his breed, type of coat, and what sort of mischief he’s been into. A dog involved in water sports or that likes to dig in the yard will need to be bathed regularly, while a short-haired couch potato can go for a few months between baths.
You shouldn’t have to ready a dog bath more than once a month and more likely every two or three months. Bathing your dog more than once a month could damage his coat and skin by removing their natural oils. The best guideline is to use the sniff test. When the doggy odor is too strong, it’s dog bath time. Consult your veterinarian for specific guidelines when necessary.
Introducing the bath tub
Before you have to give your dog a bath, you should introduce the bathing process in a few steps over the span of a week or so. This can ease your dog’s anxiety and make dog baths more enjoyable for both of you.
Step 1: In the tub without water
Put your dog in the tub once or twice a day. Give him a treat and lots of praise while he’s there. Don’t make a fuss over him when he climbs back out since you want to make being in the tub the fun part. Slowly increase the time your dog stays in the bath to get the treat.
Step 2: In the tub with an inch or two of water
Once your dog readily gets in the bath, add some lukewarm water before he climbs in. Reinforce with a treat and praise as before and slowly increase the time he has to stay before being rewarded.
Step 3: In the tub with running water
When Step 2 goes smoothly, try running the water and wet your dog with the shower head or pour some water over him from a plastic pitcher. You should be ready for hassle-free dog baths in no time.
If you’re still having trouble or your dog stinks now and you don’t have time to properly introduce the tub, you might consider a booster dog bath. A booster bath is a professional-type dog bath tub that’s elevated with high sides and a built-in leash restraint to keep your dog in place.
Tips for safe, easy dog baths
The following are some ideas and advice you should keep in mind when giving your dog a bath.
Put a rubber mat in the bathtub
Dogs don’t have the best traction in tubs, especially with soapy paws. Use a bath mat to keep your dog from slipping and getting injured when he climbs in and out of the tub.
Consider using a nylon leash and collar or grooming loop
These tools are particularly useful if your dog is an escape artist or just doesn’t like baths. Don’t use leather, which can stretch and mold with constant water contact.
Consider using towels specifically for pets
There are special pet towels that can absorb an incredible amount of water. These can help to expedite the dog bath process.