A Guide to Bathing your Dog

Written by Lucy Marcham, Academy Trainer

Regular grooming and bathing is an essential part of dog ownership. However many dogs don’t enjoy being washed, making bath time a stressful experience for both dog and owner. 

How often should I bathe my dog?

Generally dogs should be bathed every three months. However, this will depend on the breed, coat type and lifestyle of your pet.

For example, poodle coats will require more regular professional grooming, others may need spot bathing or sponging down more frequently if they are experts in rolling in fox poo.

However, believe it or not, dogs are very good at keeping themselves clean (perhaps not quite as clean as a cat) but they are able to self-groom, nibble, shake and roll to remove debris themselves.

Washing dogs too frequently can remove the essential oils from their coat which naturally protect their skin and help improve their waterproofing abilities. This is especially important for breeds such as spaniels, collies, and retrievers.

How do I give my dog a bath?

Bathing should always be a positive experience for any pooch and introducing the idea of bath time from an early age can help make the experience more enjoyable and part of their routine.

1) Make it fun! Use treats, toys and feeding tools such as licky mats to make bath time an enjoyable experience that provides fun and rewards while in the bath.

2) Use a non-slip mat. It is important for pooches to feel safe and secure. You want to make sure you have a good quality non-slip bath mat for them to stand on to prevent them from slipping, potentially spooking or hurting themselves.

3) Support them. Lifting your pet in and out of the bath can be quite a daunting experience for them. Make sure you are fully supporting their weight and making them feel secure when putting them in and out of the bath.

4) Use a natural dog shampoo such as the Dogwood Range.  Some shampoos can contain irritants that can cause itchiness or worsen dermatitis. 

What do I do after the bath?

Get them dry and warm! Once bath time is done, remove them from the bath and ensure they stand on a secure bath mat or towel. Wet paws and a slippery surface makes for an unbalanced pet!

Give them a good towel dry, microfibre towels are brilliant for towel drying dogs as they soak up so much moisture and are quick wicking. Pay particular attention to their backs, bellies and ears. For longer or denser coats you may want to speed up the drying process by using a hairdryer.

If so, be sure to do so carefully and monitor the heat and follow your dog’s lead – some can find the noise of the dryer a little scary.