Conquer Your Dog's Bath Time Fears

Behavior and Training  •   Lacey Miller  •   Apr 06, 2015

It’s bath time again. You’ve tried to put it off as long as possible but after that last walk, your dog needs to be washed if they expect to ever be allowed a cuddle again. Yet after what happened last time, bathing your dog might end up with you chasing a soaked Labrador through the house.

How often should I bathe my dog?

Bath time is an essential part of pet care, and being able to do it more regularly will help to improve your dog's skin and coat health. Many pet owners aren't sure how often to bathe their dog, and while there isn't a specific rule for when you should wrestle your pup into the tub, you definitely should do it! You can choose to bathe your dog every other week (if gentle shampoo is used) or every other month! The frequency of bath time will also depend on the season and if your pet has any skin conditions. Once your dog starts to smell poorly or appear dirty, it may be time to head to the tub.

What should I bathe my dog with?

While there are many dog shampoos on the market, you can ask your vet and/or groomer for recommendations on the type that will work best to get your pup's fur clean. You can also choose to make your own easy homemade natural dog shampoos.

How do I get my dog into the tub?

It doesn’t have to be a wrestling match to get your dog into the bath.  If you‘re nervous about it, your dog will sense that and react. Try putting a lead on your dog and firmly lead him to the bathtub. If you have a bigger dog, you may need help to lift them. Once in the bath, most dogs won’t move too much so long as you try to keep a firm hand on the back of their neck. This will also help prevent them from shaking suds all over you! Make sure you are wearing old clothes when bathing your dog. Even with the calmest animal, it’s likely that you’ll still get a little wet.

How to Bathe Your Dog at Home

  1. Remember that dogs are more sensitive than us, so have the water running at lukewarm, and don’t have the pressure up too high.
  2. Try and keep the water away from your dog’s face as you wouldn't appreciate being blasted in the face with water either!  You can wash your dog's face with a damp cloth after you have soaped and rinsed the body, and gently scoop water onto their head. It’s best to use a dog or puppy shampoo, as all the things in our shampoo that make our hair smell lovely can irritate your dog’s skin.
  3. Ensure that you rinse your dog until the water runs clear, as excess lather can cause them to itch.

**Tip: Some dog owners choose to smear pet-safe peanut butter on one wall of the bathtub. Your dog will focus on cleaning up the peanut butter mess on the wall and will be easier to bathe!

Make Drying Your Dog a Game

When bath time is over, hold up a big towel and let your dog have a shake, then either rub them dry or blowdry them. many dogs enjoy being dried off with at towel, so turning it into a game can help to make bath time more fun for your pup. Make sure you don’t let them outside immediately, as dogs will roll in the dirt after a bath!

Wellness Protection for Your Pet

No matter how well you bathe and groom your dog, you should ensure your pup is on preventative treatments to keep fleas and ticks at bay. PetPartners offers wellness protection coverage to reimburse you for many preventative care options to keep your pet feeling his best. 

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