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Should You Be the One to Bathe Your Dog?

September 11, 2018

If bath time for your dog is total chaos, you might want to read our collection of helpful tips. After all, dogs don't seem to mind living a smelly life near as much as they dislike being bathed. Since bath time can be stressful, messy, and time-consuming, the first question that comes to mind is, "How often should you bathe your dog?" Although most dogs do a reasonable job of grooming themselves, supplemental baths are needed to support good skin health. Just like their human counterpart, it depends mostly on how dirty they get. For example, dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors rolling around on foul scents need to be bathed more often than ones who spend most of their day asleep on the sofa.

Breeds That Love the Water

You may know someone whose dog loves the backyard pool and even beats his or her owner to the tub on bathe day. Some canines can't wait to get wet, such as a:

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Poodle
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Otterhound
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Newfoundland
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • English Setter
  • Golden Retriever
  • Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Boykin Spaniel

If you're lucky enough to own one of these breeds, the problem you have is probably not bath time but figuring out how to keep them out of every puddle they see.

Breeds That Hate the Water

Although some dogs can't wait to get wet, others are much more content to stay dry and shy away from pools, lakes and ocean waves, such as a:

  • Chihuahua
  • Shih Tzu
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Pekingese
  • Dachshund
  • Bichon Frise
  • Pomeranian
  • Pugs
  • Yorkshire Terriers
  • Boxers

Although the above list contains mostly small dogs, some small dogs (Jack Russell terriers) love the water. In general, breeds that can't swim also have a tendency to keep their distance from the wet stuff.

Be Prepared to Get Wet!

If you own a dog that naturally loves the water, you shouldn't have any problem bathing your best friend. Plus, it is a great time for bonding with your pet. Just remember to have your equipment laid out ahead of time and within easy reach. If your dog has a skin condition, ask your veterinarian which shampoo is best. If not, stay away from cheap fragrant products and use a very mild shampoo or nothing at all. Always adjust water temperature for your pet. Although you can use the hose on your lab, that's not appropriate for your papillon. It's a good idea to wash the body first and save the head for a good rinsing at the end. Always avoid getting water in their eyes or ears; and don't expect them to stand still for extended periods. After you've finished, allow for some "fun time".

There are also dozens of reasons as to why you should not be the one to wash and groom your dog. If you hate doing it, your attitude can negatively impact your pet's behavior forever. Maybe, you have a breed with a coat that requires lots of attention. Some dogs need both a pre and post bath brushing, or shaping of their coat for a breed-specific cut, or frequent cleaning or treating of the ears. For these dogs, you may want to opt for a professional service. You will be surprised at how well behaved your pet is on a groomer's table plus they are experts at de-matting problem areas of the coat, removing excess ear hair, and keeping the nails trimmed. For residents in our area, you can use a directory like yelp to find the best mobile dog groomers in Jacksonville or Orange Park.


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