At least once a week we get the question, "How often should I bathe my dog?"
The answer is more specific to your dog and your dog's situation than you may think. Of course you are going to bathe your dog if they get dirty. A dog that rarely goes outside may get a bath once a month or less while a dog with allergies or naturally oily skin may need more frequent baths.
One of our own dogs has allergies and is bathed once a week. Longer than a week and she suffers from itchy skin. Washing her once a week in our lemongrass and aloe dog shampoo and she's good to go!
The most important factor to consider when bathing your dog is of course the shampoo. At 4-Legger we talk a lot about ingredients because they truly do matter.
Your dog's skin is their biggest organ - covering their entire body. Bathing your dog with shampoo containing toxic ingredients may cause long term health issues that range from allergies and itchy skin to hormone imbalances, and cancer.
You can learn a lot more about the ingredients used in traditional dog shampoos in our blog!
Here are a few reasons why 4-Legger is better and safer than traditional dog shampoo:
We teamed up with Tonya Wilhelm at Raising Your Pets Naturally to talk about how to safely bathe your dog at home and we've talked to the professional groomers that use 4-Legger to develop our top 12 tips and tricks for safely washing your dog at home!
1. As a professional dog trainer Tonya recommends working with your dog to ensure they don't have "handling issues". If your dog does have issues being touched and groomed, first reach out to your dog's veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions. Once you have the green light form your veterinarian, work with a qualified dog behavior counselor to desensitize your dog to being touched, groomed, and bathed.
2. Using a hair catcher for your tub will save you from having to unclog a drain!
3. A non-skid bath mat will make your dog feel more secure and will (hopefully) keep them in one place during the bath!
4. Using a hand-held shower with a long hose will save you from having to fill a container and pour it over your dog. Look for one with an off switch at the head, it is really handy!
5. Before giving your dog a bath, you should run a brush through their hair to loosen the hair and remove any tangles.
6. You want to avoid getting water in your dog's ears. If you are concerned, you can add an organic cotton ball just inside their ear and remove them when you are done. Your dog may conveniently help you remove the cotton ball by shaking and conveniently flinging the cotton ball across the bathroom!
7. Warm up the water to make it comfortable. Test the water temperature before you start to wet your dog by running it over the inside of your own forearm. Avoid extremes - no hot or cold, just warm.
8. Lift your dog with one hand under the chest and the other under the belly and into the tub. Just before we lift our dogs into the wash, we tell them "You are earning a treat." Keeping the prize in their mind!
9. Wet your dog down from the top of the head to the base of the tail and save washing their face until the end so you can do it very carefully. Use your hand to go through your dog's coat and make sure they are completely wet.
10. Shake the shampoo bottle and pour some in your hand. Starting at the top, work the shampoo into your dog's coat. Work the shampoo all over their body (avoiding their face) and massage it into their coat thoroughly. To wash the legs, gently pick them up straight - not bending them off to the side. A thoroughly wet dog will create a great lather.
Note: If you want more lather, add more water, not more soap.
11.Carefully wash your dog's ears by wetting, lathering, and rinsing. Put your hand over the ear canal so no water gets into your dog's ears (or you can use the organic cotton ball trick)! Finally, using a wet washcloth to help you control the wash and not get shampoo in your dog's eyes, wet their face, apply a small amount of shampoo to the washcloth and add water, build up a lather with the washcloth and then carefully clean your dog's face (avoiding the eyes). Rinse the washcloth of shampoo and use it to carefully rinse the shampoo off your dog's face.
12. Rinse off really well, until the water is completely clear to get all of the shampoo off your dog. As a side note, if you are going to trim your dog's nails, right after the bath is a good time because they will be softer!
Pick up some additional tips and see a live demonstration by Tonya and Dexter in the video below!