Scrub – a – dub – dub your pup in a tub!!
Giving your pet a bath can be a stress-free and fun time for both you and your pet. It is also a great chance to do a really good nose to toes exam at home.
Below are the answers to the most common questions people have about bath-time.
How often: How often to bathe a dog depends on the breed of dog and their hair coat, as well as their lifestyle, and temperament. Puppies under 8 weeks are not able to regulate their own body temperature and can get too cold.
As a general rule of thumb a medium to short haired dog can be bathed weekly. A long-haired dog, especially one with a double coat like a husky, should be bathed less frequently and brushed more frequently instead. Occasionally bathing a dog more frequently is fine if he or she gets dirty.
If you use a topical medication like flea/ tick and heartworm prevention a safe rule of thumb is to not bathe a pet 2 days before application and 3 days after.
A veterinarian may prescribe a medicated shampoo that should be used more frequently, in this case, follow your veterinarian’s recommendations. Many of these shampoos are antimicrobial or used for specific skin conditions and more frequent bathing is needed to see clinical improvement.
Before you bathe routine.
Before a bath it is best to get all supplies together. You will need a dog friendly shampoo, not even baby shampoo is gentle enough for dog’s thin skin. You will also need ear cleaner/dryer, treats, a brush, and 2 towels. Before getting your pet wet, brush the coat to remove any loose hair and remove any mats.
Type of shampoo.
There are many different types of shampoos that can be used for a healthy pet’s bath. Get one that is meant for pets and is a moisturizing/gentle shampoo. If a pet has fleas, dawn dish soap can be used to remove many of the fleas, but an anti-flea medication should also be used to kill the fleas that are left behind and to prevent fleas from continuing to infest the pet. DOG FLEA AND TICK PREVENTION SHOULD ONLY BE USED ON DOGS. Some ingredients in dog flea prevention can be very harmful to cats.
Bathing can be very stressful to pets. It is important to make bath time fun. Give copious treats, ideally treats low in calories. Treats make stressful times more positive. One option is to get a metal bowl, line the inside with peanut butter and freeze it. This bowl can then be placed in front of the pet. As the pet licks the peanut butter and the warm water runs over the bowl, the peanut butter will melt. The pet can then get a treat and be distracted during the whole bath.
One thing that also stresses pets is being on a slippery surface. If you do not have a non-slip surface then place a towel on the bottom of the tub to provide more stability.
Human skin is 10 times as thick as dog skin; hot water is extra hot to the thin skin of a dog or cat. Use tepid water, that would be a little too chilly for you to bathe your pet. If your pet begins to shiver, increase the temperature slowly as hot water can easily burn a pet’s skin.
Some common skin conditions that would require a special shampoo would be dry skin. If you are seeing flaky, dry, itchy skin your pet may benefit from an anti-seborrheic shampoo containing salicylic acid to help pull off the dry itchy skin.
Generalized infection of any kind will often be treated with an antimicrobial shampoo. If you are seeing redness on the skin, itchiness there may be infection that should be addressed.
Anytime you see abnormal skin, the pet should be seen by your veterinarian to keep your pet’s hair shiny and clean, and skin healthy. These medicated shampoos are often recommended to be used more frequently than once a week. Often for infection or seborrheic skin I will recommend bathing every day or every- other- day for the first few weeks.
When the bath is done dry the pet off with either a dry towel or blow dryer. When using a blow dryer, it is important to use the cool setting. Don’t forget that pet skin is thinner than human skin and hot and dry air can dry out the skin. Continue giving the pet treats to make the whole experience beginning to end a pleasurable one. Let the pet completely dry before giving free reign. Pets will often role in grass or dirt to help dry off and remove the smell of shampoo.
Ears – Some pet benefit from the following – When your pet is dry and the entire bathing experience is over always apply drying ear drops in each ear. This prevents ear infections from happening with the additional moisture that inevitably gets in the ear canal during bathing. The easiest way to apply a drying ear drop is to soak a cotton ball with the ear cleaner and place the cotton ball in the opening of the ear canal. Then massage the outer ear, this will release the drops to then fall into the ear canal. Don’t forget to remove the cotton ball when you are done. This method is much easier than trying to squirt a bottle of cold liquid into your pet’s ear.
And remember treats, treats, treats and be positive the whole time.
Always here to answer your Questions!!! And we have amazing GROOMERS at UVH Unleashed that are trained to give great care and attention to your pet and their coat needs. Call for an appointment 318-797-5522 or email them firstname.lastname@example.org
Have fun time!
Dr. Todd Smith