Bathing your pet
Frequency of bathing
Dogs with healthy skin and coats should be bathed once every 2 weeks or so for reducing odor and maintaining skin health. Pets with allergies, physically removing allergens from their coat and skin can help reduce the irritation associated by the close contact. During periods where allergen contact is high we suggest bathing your pet twice a week.
When using a medicated shampoo to treat skin infections your pet should be bathed twice a week until the infection is under control.
Selecting an appropriate product
Due to the differences in pH between human skin and dog skin avoid bathing with human shampoos. Human shampoos often contain soaps that have the potential to strip important oils and fats from the coat.
Essential oils should also be avoided at bath time unless used under the guidance of a registered holistic veterinarian. Some oils are toxic to dogs. Laudry detergents are another big no as they are poorly suited to skin care.
A shampoo specifically created for dog will ensure your pet's skin is cared for during bathing. Leave in conditioners, designed for pets, are helpful to moisturise the skin and aid in detangling the coat.
Washing your pet
Hydrobaths can be useful for bathing dogs, however they are not the only way to ensure that a dog is bathed properly. Some dogs do not like standing in a hydrobath, and small dogs can be difficult to reach once in there. Cats and small pets like rabbits may find the experience of a hydrobath to be very stressful so hydrobaths are not suitable for these pets.
If your dog does not like, or does not have access to a hyrobath, bathing outside with buckets of warm water may be a more practical approach. Small dogs may even prefer being bathed in a small tub, bath or laudry sink. If they do not like the spray of a hose or shower head, gently running water from a tap may be less stressful.
Whichever method is used, correct bathing technique should be applied. Using lukewarm water means that the pet will not suffer any skin damage from too hot or cold water. Extra care should always be taken when bathing very small, very young or very old pets as these pets may have difficulty regulating their temperature. In the winter months bath them at the warmest part of the day, and wrap the pet in a towel or take them for a walk if using a medicated shampoo that requires an extended contract time.
When bathing always ensure the coat is thoroughly wet before applying the shampoo. This will ensure a sufficient lather develops and will assist with penetration of the shampoo through the coat right down to the skin. To ensure even distribution of shampoo throughout the coat, apply the shampoo in strips up and down the back. Once the shampoo is applied, using a sponge will help with the distribution and lathering, and can help to gently spread the shampoo through the coat. A sponge can also act as a barrier between your and and the pet's skin if you are sensative to the shampoo.
It is important to wash all areas of the pet. This includes the back, belly, chest, under the chin, down the neck, under the tail, between the toes and face. Using a wet face cloth or linen cloth with a small amount of shampoo foam on it, gently wipe the face, taking care around the eyes and mouth, ensuring you clean between any skin folds. Take care that the pet does not inhail or ingest shampoo and avoid contact with their eyes.
If using a medicated shampoo do not leave your pet unsupervised while the shampoo sits for its contact time. The contact time is how long it takes to achieve optimal reduction in bacteria. Use this time to bond with your pet, give them a massage or play with them. They don't have to stay in the bath for the contact time, so you can get them out and take them for a quick walk, play a game or do some training!