How often should I bathe my pet? by Jacqueline Valencia
This question was an easy one to answer when I fostered my first foster dog from a rescue. I wanted to wash the beautiful black Labrador mix right away. Since he arrived from the streets of Paris, Texas, his fur was matted in parts and he smelled like a stale barn. However, having just come from a long journey, it was best to let him be and wait until the vet’s approval for his first bath. So for a while, I watched him get comfortable in my home and let him groom himself after his first adventure in Canadian snow.
Animals live on instinct. Sights, smells, and sounds compose a giant picture for where they are and how they can survive in the world. Dogs and cats rely heavily on their own scents and that of other animals to navigate each other. They can tell what’s going on with other animals in their vicinity entirely by sniffing the air or the ground. Dogs and cats also groom themselves with licks which helps with their skin and the growth of necessary hair follicles.
So the answer to the question of how often you should bathe your pets is that it really all depends on you. Some cats and dogs, especially ones who spend a lot of time outdoors, require a good cleanup simply to control their natural odors inside your home. However, it’s important to not wash your pets too often (exceptions being medical conditions such as allergies), and with the right products.
Dogs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and this also comes into mind when considering their fur. Thicker coats require more frequent visits to a groomer than their short hair counterparts. Skin sensitivity is also an individual breed and type sort of thing, therefore, please consult a vet before you try any new product on your pet.
Gentle is always best when it comes to new products. Consider something organic and that doubles as a bacteria buster like, Sipet Pet Shampoo (https://humblelittlepets.com/collections/dogs/products/sipet-pet-shampoo-for-dogs-and-cats?variant=36981927837861)
Get your pup comfortable with their bath using treats, positive reinforcement, and praise. Dilute the shampoo and/or conditioner with warm water. Also be very careful with their eyes and wash their face with a soft washcloth. Make bath time like a soothing massage. Be prepared for a wet home right after the bath though, since most encounters with water cause a cute case of the zoomies around the house!
GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.
Just kidding. Most cats never need a bath since they are very self-sufficient. Sometimes though, older cats need a little extra help in the grooming department. If your cat spends time outdoors, they can bring in mysterious scents with them and might need a little extra cleaning as well.
First off, make sure to clip their claws and wear some waterproof rubber gloves, because an unexpected encounter with water can involve a bit of scratching! Put a rubber mat or some sort of slip proof base so that if your cat bolts, they don’t fall down too hard and hurt themselves. Make sure the temperature is warm and not too hot or cold. Treats and positive reinforcement help here too but be patient. If your cat is resistant to taking a bath, try another time or consider a washcloth to help them if they need the extra grooming. As with dogs, products should be gentle and luckily, shampoos like Sipet above, can be used on cats as well.
As for my foster dog, eventually he did have a nice bath in my tub and then went for a big round of zoomies around my tiny apartment, much to my cats’ chagrin. Soon he was smelling like clean corn chips, (I really don’t know what that means, but corn chips are how a clean dog smells to me), and ready to take on the day.
I find pet maintenance to be a good bonding experience where your pet learns to trust you to be part of their care. My cats have rarely been bathed, but when they have it’s been a test. They eventually find their way back to cuddling and if done right, warm naps on your lap are soon to follow.
- Photo by Craventure Media on Unsplash
- Photo by Mona Magnussen on Unsplash