How often should you bathe your dog?
Bathing is essential when it comes to taking care of your dog’s skin and coat. In particular, a breed that has abundant hair, it would be hard to discover any abnormal signs such as scars, fleas, and inflammation on the skin. While giving your dog a bath, you can find things that you normally do not see under its coat.
However, it can also be harmful to bathe your dog too often. It irritates the skin and damages the follicles of the hair. It can also increase the risk of bacterial infection.
Then, how often should you bathe your dog?
According to ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), it should be done at least once every 3 months. For a clean and healthy coat, your dog must bathe at least once every 3 months, and once every 2 to 3 weeks is known to be suitable. The reason why the appropriate bathing cycle is every 2 to 3 weeks is very related to the dog’s skin regeneration cycle. The dog’s skin regeneration cycle is 22 days. Approximately 3 weeks. It takes 22 days for the skin cells to fall off into dead skin cells.
However, bathing cycles may vary depending on many different factors.
Criteria for the dog’s bathing cycle
The commonly known bathing cycle for a regular coated dog is once every 2 to 3 weeks.
[Oily coat & skin]
However, if you have a dog with an oily coat and skin such as a Cocker Spaniel, it’s recommended to give baths about once a week to prevent bacteria and infectious diseases.
Because the coat is relatively clean on dogs with short and soft coats such as Beagle, it is not needed to give bath as often as long coated dogs. However, it may be necessary to remove dead hair.
[Water-resistant top coat]
Dogs with water-resistant top coats such as Golden Retriever, need less bathing compared to other breeds in order to preserve the natural oil of the hair. It is recommended to give a bath once every 6 weeks. In the meantime, you can manage their coats clean by brushing.
Double coated dogs such as Saymoyed need a lot of brushing. It’s good to brush frequently rather than bathing them often.
2. Level of Activity
The more your dog has lots of outside activities will mean a higher chance to be exposed to contaminants. Therefore, you can bathe more often for dogs that are highly active. Cleanliness management must be done after a walk to acknowledge if your dog has any ticks or fleas.
3. Allergy and Skin Conditions
Depending on your dog’s allergy and skin condition, you might have to bathe your dog more or less often according to your veterinarian's diagnosis.
Precautions when bathing your dog
1. Brushing before bathing
This is a part that many people forget. You should brush before bathing your dog in order to brush out any mats. Mats refers to any entanglement of the hair for your dog. If you bathe your dog with mats, shampoo doesn’t get on the skin properly. It can also make the hair tangled more tightly, which can hurt your dog.
2. Using dog shampoo
Be sure to choose a shampoo for dogs. Human skin and dog skin are different. Human skin is slightly acidic and maintains a pH of 5 to 6.5. On the other hand, dogs are more susceptible to skin infections than humans because they have a pH of about 6.5 to 7.5 and are close to neutral.
There is also a big difference from humans when it comes to the defense of the skin. Humans have 10 to 15 cell layers in the stratum corneum of the skin, but dogs only have 3 to 5 layers. The skin regeneration cycle from the epidermis to the keratin takes 2 weeks for humans and 3 to 4 weeks for dogs. In summary, dogs' skin has a thinner protective layer than humans and has a longer regeneration cycle, so it can be seen as having less skin defense than humans. Therefore, you must use shampoo that is made specifically for dogs.
3. Be careful not to get water in your dog’s ears
It’s good to get into the habit of putting cotton balls into your dog’s ears before bathing so that water doesn’t get into the ears or holding the ears down with your hand.
4. Checking the temperature
Dogs have a higher body temperature than humans. So, cold water will feel like ice water and hot water poses a risk of skin burns to dogs. Dogs' body temperature is about 1 to 2 degrees higher than that of humans. The appropriate water temperature is 37-38 degrees celsius (98.6~100.4 Fahrenheit). If you don't have a thermometer, you can think of it as the temperature at which your elbow feels warm when immersed in water.
Hair dryers are also made for humans, so the temperature of the hair dryers can be hot enough to damage their skins. Dry extensively with lukewarm or cool air.
5. Shampooing from the bottom and rinsing from the top
Dogs have the most dust on their feet and legs as much as they take a walk. So, let’s start with shampoo from the bottom. On the other hand, when rinsing, let the shampoo wash off from the top.
6. Bathing in the same place
What if your dog is afraid of taking a bath? It’s important to reassure your dog while giving your dog a bath in the same place. This is because when the place is familiar, the dog can at least predict what can happen there. If your dog gets baths from a pet spa, it’s better to go to the same groomer every time.
7. Dry thoroughly
After bathing, it’s recommended to completely dry the roots of the hair with a dryer. Double coated dogs particularly, have inner and outer coats. It’s important to dry thoroughly to the inner coat as wet coats can cause skin diseases such as skin eczema. If you comb your dog with a slicker brush or a silicone brush while drying your dog, the dead hair will fall off and the roots of the hair will dry quickly.