Dogs need to bathe just like people do, although not as often. According to dog behaviorist Cesar Millan, most dogs should get a bath once per month. Your dog may also need a bath immediately after they get into something smelly or muddy like a puddle in the yard.
Whether your dog had too much fun in the spring melt, or simply needs their monthly bath, there are several steps you can take to make bath time enjoyable and stress-free. Before you even begin, take your dog for a long walk to work off pent up energy. Then, follow these tips for success:
Stay positive and prepared
Be sure you have all the products and tools you need set up, to keep you calm and focused. Dogs are experts at reading our body language. If you’re calm and not scrambling to find what you need while your damp dog is shivering in the tub, they are more likely to be at ease too.
Make it fun and rewarding
You used to insist on having your rubber ducky in the bath, so why not include your dog’s favorite toys during bath time — making it playtime, too. Foster even more positive connections to bathing with pieces of their favorite kibble given as treats throughout their bath. This reinforces cooperation and positive behavior.
Use proper washing techniques
Water that is too hot can be drying to your dog’s skin and painful, and water that is too cold can be uncomfortable and anxiety-producing. So just as you wouldn’t want to take a cold or scalding bath — make sure your dog’s bath water is lukewarm.
It’s also very important to keep water and soap out of your dog’s ears and eyes, because it’s uncomfortable and can cause serious health problems. A good way to avoid this is by washing your dog from the neck down using a bucket, cup, or a sprayer. Then use a damp cloth to wash your dog’s face.
Towel and air dry
Towel dry as best as you can — but know that a dog will always need to “shake it off” when they feel damp. Avoid using a blow dryer on your dog if you can. The loud noise might cause stress and there is a risk of burning. If you have a small dog that gets the shivers easily — keep them in a warm room or wrap them in their favorite blanket while they dry.