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How to wash your dog. For a happy bath-time


Dogs and bathtime

As you can tell, we’re sticking with Thai this week as obviously rolling around in stinky stuff has consequences when you come back home.   Thai is not a great fan of baths and showers, but then a lot of dogs rather skip bath time.   Oh, they love rolling around in a puddle or a stinky swamp, but get the shampoo out and they run a mile.   Having said that, considering Thai is not used to a bath, she’s doing pretty well.   We’ve not yet had the drama of chasing a soapy dog around the house … give it time .. 

How often should you wash your dog?

Ah, well, that depends on a few things.   In her case?  Pretty much every day!  OK, that’s an exaggeration, but it sure feels like it this week. 

How often you wash your dog depends on the breed (how long is their coat) where you live (in an apartment, or on a farm?).  However, here are some general guidelines: 

  • Once a month normally does it, under normal circumstances.  However, dogs with oily skin can need a wash as much as weekly. 
  • Breeds with water repellant coats (golden retrievers, Great Pyrenees) should be washed less regularly to preserve the oil on their skin. 
  • Dogs with thick double coats benefit from more brushing to get rid of dead hair, and washed less to help with oil distribution, keeping their coat shiny and healthy. 
Of course, it depends on what they get up to.  If they’ve been rolling around in stuff, or had a swim in a stinky swamp, start running that tap!  However, if you are bathing them more than the above recommendation, it is worth checking out what shampoo you’re using to make sure you’re not irritating their skin.  

Where should you wash your dog?

This can depend on the size of the dog.   If you’ve got a small dog, the sink, or a portable tub may do the trick.   Got a Saint Bernard? .. I’d stick to the shower or the bath tub!   

I get Pinterest envy when I’m looking at some of the dog wash rooms that are on there!  One day … 
dog wash room, how to wash your dog, how to bathe your dog, dog shower room,

Tempted to use the hosepipe?  I know I’ve been tempted in the past to avoid having to get a stinky smelly dog in the house.   If the weather is warm and if it’s on the odd occasion then you can get away with it.  However, just like us humans, dogs don’t necessary like having a stream of cold water aimed at them (did you do the ice bucket challenge?!), so only use it as a last resort when the weather is nice.   


If you are using the hosepipe in the summer, check out the temperature of the water in the hosepipe first.   Water can be absolutely scalding when it first comes out if the hose has been in the sun for too long.  Check out this warning that was sent out by the fire department after a young baby got burned. 

How to wash your dog

Brush your dog before you put them in the bath

Now, I appreciate that this depends on whether you had pre-planned to get the ducky and bubbles out, or if they forced your hand by jumping in something undesirable on your walk.  If you can, brush before wash.  It will avoid having a load of hair in the bath.  In addition, matted hair holds on to water more and getting rid of it means it will be easier to dry them. 

Use lukewarm water

Dogs are very sensitive and burn quicker than humans do.   Use a water temperature that is suitable for a baby to avoid them getting hurt, or overheating. 

Talk to them to calm them down

They may eventually get the message that you’re not there to drown them.  Whether they will grow to love bath time is another story .. 


Use dog shampoo only 

It’s designed for sensitive dog skin and won’t have anything that irritates their eyes like human shampoos do.  The only exception, at a push if you need to, is Johnson’s baby shampoo which obviously is also kind on skin and eyes. 


Rinse, rinse and then rinse some more

 Getting rid of all the shampoo is important to avoid skin irritation for your dog. 

Be careful with drying

Blow dryers can get very hot so it’s best to dry them with a specific blow dryer designed for dogs. In addition most of them are less noisy than our human hairdryers, which make mine run a mile in any case!   Of course completely towel drying them, and then letting them air dry is another option, mostly for short haired dogs.  Just make sure they are kept warm and don’t catch a chill.    


Reward them

Have you survived bath time again without the dog running off down the hall? – make sure you praise them and give them a treat.  OK, even if it wasn’t quite straight forward – you got there in the end, so make sure they know you’re as pleased as they are that it’s over … until next time .. 


Want to keep your furry friend nice and cozy after their bath time experience?  Check out some of the paw-some dog robes from Etsy, such as this one.  

Available in various sizes and colours, it’s the perfect way to keep your dog snug and warm after their bath!

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