Do your kids run, hide, or throw a tantrum when it’s bath time? I can’t imagine what it’s like chasing down a kid every night and trying to convince them baths are not horrible by filling the tub with rubber ducks, toy boats, and bubbles. Every couple of weeks, I corral my dogs outside or in the bathroom for some major spa time.
Your dog’s breed plays a big role in how often he needs to be bathed. Check the AKC’s website or a breed specific book for an idea, or if you have a mix, then go with whatever breed is dominant. Both Boston terriers and beagles are fine with a good bath every two to four weeks. Of course, if your dog jumps in the water at the dog park or plays in the mud, then he’ll need a bath more often.
With four dogs, I have to set up an assembly line and keep everyone nearby. As soon as the first dog is in the tub, the other three look at each other as if to say, “We have to get out of here! It’s too late for Lily!” I make sure four towels are ready, all collars are off, and baby gates are used to keep them from running and hiding somewhere.
How to wash a dog may seem obvious, but there are things we need to be aware of. Make sure to bathe your dog with warm, not hot, water. The water should not be too cold either. Get your pup totally wet, but be careful with the ears. Water in the ears can lead to ear infections, and it’s best to wipe out their outer ear with a towel as soon as the bath is finished. Don’t worry about hurting their ear drums. A dog’s ear canal is sort of l-shaped, and you cannot touch the drum with your finger or a towel.
After your dog’s coat is wet, rub shampoo on him everywhere. Don’t forget his paws, tail, and belly. I often let the bubbles sit on them for a few minutes to let the shampoo really do its job.
Kong makes a great bath tool that helps give your dog a really deep clean. It really gets through thick fur.
After a good scrub, I pour more warm water all over the dog, and then I clean my dog with the Kong again. Repeat the rinse and rub until you no longer see suds.
Now it’s time for the only part of the bath my dogs enjoy: snuggling in a towel. Each dog gets their face dried first, and then I wrap them in a towel like a newborn baby and snuggle. This, of course, is my favorite part, too.
After snuggling, I make sure each dog is very dry so as to avoid any illness. My advice, if you’re ever at my house during bath time, is to get out of the way after each is clean.
Something weird happens to my pack when they are clean. All four are suddenly think they entered a UFC match, and they race from room to room at full speed, wrestle, bark, and then pass out. While this is funny to watch, it reminds me how strong a dog’s sense of smell is.
It is a good idea to avoid bathing your dog if you have plans to visit doggy day care or the dog park that day. Wait until afterwards. Dogs greet each other and learn about each other by how they smell. Dog shampoo masks a dog’s scent, and it isn’t unusual for a freshly bathed dog to be the victim of a dog brawl at the park. So make it easy on your dog, other dogs, and yourself by waiting to bathe your pup until after he plays with other dogs (except your other dogs, of course).
Enjoy doggy bath time!