Ask the Vet - Bathing Difficult Dogs
My dog hates to take a bath. Do you have any tips to make bath time more effective?
There are many different answers to this question depending on the age, breed, type and length of coat, condition of the skin, etc., but here are some tips that are generally true across all the different breeds:
- It is extremely important to use a pet shampoo, not a product made for people. While there are some products made for people that are very mild (such as baby shampoos), there is still a difference in the “pH” of the products (this is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the products). The pH of dog shampoo is two points different than people shampoo, which is a huge difference. Using products made for people can really dry out a dog’s coat.
- Bathe your dog less frequently, not more. On average, once a month is plenty. Many breeds can go much longer than that. Ask your veterinarian or groomer what the correct interval would be for your type of dog.
- Brush your dog before and after the bath. Brushing before makes the brushing afterward part much easier.
- Place some cotton balls in his ears before the bath. Water in the ears is one of the most common causes of ear infections. Just remember to remove them once you are done!
- Try to keep shampoo out of your dog’s eyes. If you do get soap in his eyes, flush them with water or saline solution.
- Rinse thoroughly. It is easy to leave some shampoo residue, especially between your dog’s toes, which will cause him to lick and irritate his skin, so check to make sure there are no soapsuds remaining on your dog when you’re done.
- Dogs love to run and roll after a bath, but you want to be sure your dog is dried thoroughly. If he is still wet, he will pick up all kinds of things from the ground and ruin all the work you have just completed.
Just follow these simple rules and your bathing experience can be a fun one for both you and your pet!