To bath or not to bath

Every so often, you will need to give your dog a bath, but there is a fine line between letting the dirt build up and overwashing

Should I bath my dog regularly, and how often should I do it?” is one of the most frequently asked questions that we received at the veterinary clinic. This concern is reasonable since we, as human beings, bathed ourselves every day so sometimes we think that we can apply the same routine for our pet.

Looking at the positive sides, bathing and brushing activities actually help us assess our pet hair and skin condition. We can easily miss out on changes in hair texture, alopecia, parasites or skin masses if we do not perform an inspection routine on our pet. But the question is: “How often should it be done?” The answer will always be: “It depends.” It depends on different factors, including skin condition, breed, coat, activity level, etc. Dogs who spend most of their time running around the yard, rolling themselves in mud and dirt should be bathed more than the one who spent the whole day on the couch. Use our nose: If your dog comes into the room and you can smell him, then he needs a baths. Also, if your dog is regularly covered in dirt or mud, a thorough brushing and bathing is the best option you might have.

Dogs groom themselves to help facilitate the growth of hair follicles and skin health, however, bathing too often can be detrimental to your pet as well. In facts, pet’s skin can easily be irritated, hair follicle can be damaged, and risk of bacterial and fungal infection can increase.

In contrast, a full-shampoo bath is recommended no more than once a week especially if your pet is under topical treatment like some flea products. Some of these products depend on the oil on the skin to be spread and by bathing regularly with shampoo, these oils will easily be wiped away. Some manufacturers have specific shampoo that are preferred for these types of flea products because they are non-stripping. If you have more questions related to certain shampoos, ask the staff at the veterinary clinic where you purchased your flea products. In general, most dogs can benefit from a weekly bath. Once a week is a great time for you to have an overall assessment of your dog’s skin condition, and also to clean their ears and eyes and also check their teeth. Any changes in skin, loss of hair, any bumps or lumps should trigger a call to your vet.

The same protocol could apply to cats but needs to be adjusted since cats are different. Although it cannot be denied that bathing your cat does provide several benefits: reduce shedding, shinier and healthier coat, and stops fleas but there is no point to bath your cat too often. In general, an average indoor pet cat can easily handle being bathed one or two times per year. In fact, it’s also not a big sin if you never wash your cat. Many people don’t and cats are fine with it, they don’t need the high level of cleanliness that humans (or dogs) normally do.

Choosing The Appropriate Bathing Products

“Can I bath my dog with my ‘human’ shampoo and conditioner?” is also another concern. Human skin is very acidic with skin pH of under 5 in most cases, while dog skin is much closer to a pH of 7—not strongly acidic or strongly alkaline. Therefore, some shampoo products that are specially designed for human use could become quite irritating for your pet’s skin. Clinical signs that are related to a skin reaction could include red and itchy skin. Accidental ingestion of any shampoo can also lead to vomiting, drooling and decrease appetite. If these symptoms are noticed, you should re-bathe your pet with warm water and reach out to your veterinarian for follow-up steps.

If you are still unsure about which types of shampoo to buy, contact your veterinarian, who understands your pets and their clinical history to establish the best option. This is especially important if your dog has suffered from several skin diseases in the past.

 

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