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Cruisin' Canines

With the snow melting and weather warming up, your dog is probably happy to spend more time outside now. While this is great for getting your pooch a bit more exercise and play time, as well as perhaps some socialization if you go to the dog park, it can also mean your dog getting smelly sooner and more frequently, or dirty from running through puddles of melted snow and mud. Giving your dog a bath can be a messy experience, but you can make it less of a hassle by following these tips.

How Often Should You Do It?

How often you’ll need to wash your dog will be largely dependent on your pup’s habits—some dogs seem magnetically attracted to mud, it seems, and they’ll need to be bathed more frequently, as you might imagine. A good general rule, though, is if your dog isn’t too dirty or messy outside, every six weeks or so is a good frequency for baths. If your dog doesn’t really get dirty at all and has a double coat, many groomers say that only bathing the dog every 3 or 4 months is fine. Smooth-coated dogs may be able to go even longer between baths. If you’re unsure, talk to your groomer or vet about what they recommend.

Before-Bath Maintenance

Before you get your dog wet, it’s ideal to brush their coat thoroughly to remove any tangles or mats. If you use a Furminator or de-shedding tool, you can use it before the bath too—after all, it’s kind of silly to wash dog hair that’s about to be shed. Gather all of your necessary supplies, like the dog shampoo, towels and brushes, before you begin. Change into clothing you don’t mind getting dirty, since there’s no way to avoid getting wet while doing this chore. Make sure you close the door of the room you’re bathing the dog in so that if he jumps out of the tub or shower, he can’t track water and dirt all over your home.

How to Bathe

Be sure to buy a shampoo formulated for dogs—human shampoo may be too harsh or not the right pH for dog skin and hair, and can cause irritation. Oatmeal shampoo can be good for dogs with sensitive, dry, or itchy skin, while flea shampoo can be good for killing and preventing fleas on your pooch. Get your dog wet, then lather the shampoo all over, taking care to avoid the insides of their ears, nose, mouth, and eyes. Rinse with warm water, and make sure to dry thoroughly—including inside the dog’s ears in case water got inside.

Make Sure to Dry

Be sure to dry your dog thoroughly, including possibly using a hair dryer if Fido will allow it. If it’s still a bit chilly outside, make sure they stay inside until they’re totally dry—the wet hair plus cool air can make them get too cold. There are special towels sold that are very absorbent and that can speed up the drying process, but the most important thing is to make sure your dog stays warm while drying!

Do you have any helpful tips for washing your dogs? Let us know in the comments!


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Cruisin' Canines logo of a white dog with an orange background