Bathing your pet

Bathing Your Pet – Everything You Need To Know

Bathing your pet can be a hassle. Trying to wrangle your pet into the bathtub, or even the bathroom for that matter, can be very difficult. But have you noticed that they become playful immediately after you dry them off? 
Bath time plays a crucial role in maintaining your pet’s health, but we know it can be a hassle for both you and your furry friend. So we are here to answer the question we all have: how often do you really need to bathe your pet, and why?

Bathing Your Cat Is More Important Than You Think

Because they groom themselves, some cats don’t need to be bathed. However, don’t rely on that as an excuse to never bathe yours! Every cat is a potential candidate for a bath as they are curious creatures and can certainly get into icky things that you don’t want to be carried around in your home. 

In addition, both heavier and older cats may require additional cleaning if they are unable to reach all areas. These neglected spots can become dirty and irritated, leading to discomfort for your kitty. 

One more thing to consider is the length of your cat’s coat. Long-haired cats may not be able to bathe themselves as well as you think, missing important areas and not maintaining the grooming requirements of their coat. 

However, we know that cats can make bath time very tricky by becoming aggressive and skittish. Thankfully, it’s not a lost cause. Getting your cat into a regular grooming routine is important to reduce the stress for both you and your cat, but you have to start somewhere!

Use the below steps to ease them into their bath.

  1. Tire them out with a play session 
  2. Place a rubber mat on the floor of your washing area so that your cat doesn’t slip
  3. Slowly wash your cat with water and do not douse or spray them. Make sure you avoid their eyes and ears.
  4. Use a soft towel to carefully dry off their face 
  5. Gently blow dry their fur on the lowest setting

How Often Should I Bathe My Cat?

There are several factors that determine how often your cat needs to bathe, but the recommended range is every 4-6 weeks. Fortunately, by brushing your cat and trimming their nails regularly, you can extend the recommended time of 4-6 weeks. Brushing their fur removes excess dirt, loose hair, and dead skin cells, while also preventing their hair from becoming tangled or matted. 

Similarly to dogs, the condition of your cat’s skin and coat is a great way to identify their overall health. If their coat is smooth and their skin is clear, that’s an indicator of a healthy cat. Typically, a simple visual or smell test will tell you when it’s time to give your cat a bath.

bathing your cat
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The Benefits of Bathing Your Dog

Maintaining your dog’s hygiene is crucial to their overall health and wellness. Bathing removes any excess dirt and debris from their coat, but it also helps prevent parasites and keep their skin healthy. 

There are many benefits to keeping your pup clean. Besides removing dirt and odor, bathing your dog with a dog shampoo helps keep their coat nice and soft. Baths also grab any loose hairs from shedding before they end up on your floor, leading to a cleaner home. 

One of the greatest benefits of a bath is reducing allergies for both you and your dog. Dogs’ fur does a great job of trapping allergens, dirt, and bacteria. Bathing reduces the amount of these icky allergens that your dog carries around with them in their coat, therefore keeping allergies at bay.

The Health Benefits of Bathing Your Dog

Something else to keep in mind is the health benefits that regularly bathing your dog offers to you and your home. If your dog lounges on the couch or the bed, the dirt and bacteria that sticks to their coat will come in contact with these areas and be left behind. These allergens stay on your dog’s skin and hair until they are washed away and can, again, lead to allergies and sometimes even illness. 

Finally, and most importantly, bathing is a great way to monitor your dog’s overall health. Take a close look at their ears, teeth, nails, and skin to see if there is inflammation or anything abnormal. Make sure to also check for fleas, mites, or lice while you’re at it. Early detection of skin irritations, lumps, and cuts is vital. 

Unlike cats, all dogs require a thorough bathing. However, different factors such as their breed, fur, health concerns, medication and environment all determine how often your pet needs to be cleaned. Make sure to talk to your vet about your dog’s specific needs. 

It’s important that you make the bathing experience as pleasant as possible for your pup. 

health benefits of bathing your dog
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How to Safely Bathe Your Dog: Preparing Their Bath

Before preparing your dog’s bath, make sure that your pup is comfortable and everything is set up. We recommend brushing their coat prior to the bath to prevent any tangles that can cause discomfort. 

Ensure that you have enough space by considering their size and determine whether the bath will take place indoors or outdoors. You will also need to line up any necessary safety measures. Unless your dog stays still or you can hold them down with your hand, it’s important to tether them to avoid a mid-bath escape. 

You will then need to: 

  • Set down a bath mat to prevent slipping 
  • Gather the necessary tools (e.g., towels, shampoo, brush)
    • Talk to your vet about the best shampoo brand for your pup
  • Make sure that the water is at a comfortable temperature

How to Safely Bathe Your Dog: Shampoo

You are now ready to bathe your dog! Start by completely saturating their coat. You can do this with a hose, a detachable showerhead, or a large cup. Make sure to avoid their eyes and ears to prevent infection in these sensitive areas. 

Once your dog’s coat is wet, work the shampoo into a lather focusing on one area at a time. Do not forget to thoroughly wash and inspect their paws. You would be surprised by the amount of debris that gets stuck in their paw pads and then is either carried throughout your home or licked out, which can be toxic to them. 

Make it a pleasant experience! Massage your dog as you rub in the shampoo and then let it sit for several minutes before rinsing. Make sure that all shampoo is completely rinsed off to avoid contact dermatitis or hot spots, a common skin disorder in dogs that leads to sores and pain.

How to Safely Bathe Your Dog: Drying Their Coat

Something that is often overlooked is the essential step of drying. A lot of pet owners aren’t aware that damp spots can lead to hot spots. So make sure that your pup is completely dry before letting them loose, especially dogs with heavier coats. 

Believe it or not, dogs are routine-oriented creatures. Making a habit of bathing your dog on the same day and around the same time is very helpful to keep them comfortable. 

Make sure you talk with your veterinarian about your pet’s individual needs for bathing and reference our recommendations so that you and your furry friend have a successful and stress-free bath time!

PetWellClinic is dedicated to being here for pet owners. Our hours of operation extend into the evenings and weekends, and our clinic environment is built with your pet’s comfort in mind. Talk to your PetWellClinic veterinarian about successfully bathing your pet based on their specific needs. Bring them by your local PetWellClinic for their next physical exam today!

PetWellClinic provides convenient, affordable veterinary care for pet owners. PetWellClinic has locations and services built with convenience in mind. Stop by with your pet any time! No appointment necessary.

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