9/17/2017 0 Comments
People frequently ask how often they should bathe their dogs. Unfortunately, many still believe the old wives’ tale that says you shouldn’t bathe your dog more than once or twice a month. There is a misguided fear that more frequent bathing might harm your dog’s skin or coat.
This is nothing more than a myth, and is not based upon any medical fact. This article will help you determine how often your dog should be bathed, why it’s good for him, and how to choose the best shampoo.
Bathing your dog is a good idea for several reasons:
•If your dog is trained to enjoy a bath, the experience will be pleasant for him, just like going for a walk or playing chase in the yard.
•The positive interaction between you and your dog strengthens the human-animal bond.
•Bathing removes dirt and odors from his skin and coat.
•Frequent bathing is necessary to heal inflamed or infected skin and damaged hair.
•Finally, while not often realized, bathing can have important health benefits for you and your family.
Many vets recommend bathing your dog at least weekly whenever he gets dirty or smelly, and even more frequent bathing may help keep him healthy. For example, dogs with skin diseases should be bathed more often, even daily if necessary. Dogs with allergies typically itch less when bathed frequently.
For dogs with bacterial, fungal or yeast infections, ringworm or mange, frequent bathing helps kill the infectious organisms and parasites. In many cases, dogs with bacterial and yeast infections rarely require antibiotic or anti-fungal drugs if their people can bathe them often.
Holistic veterinarians have discovered that when patients are bathed frequently using properly selected shampoos, they usually do not need conventional medications to treat their skin diseases. Even when they do, they require much less medication.
Choosing a shampoo
Frequent bathing will usually not dry out the dog’s skin or coat if the proper shampoo is chosen. While some shampoos, typically those made of harsh chemicals, can dry out the skin or coat if used too much, organic shampoos containing natural oils are safe to use whenever needed; many are specially formulated to encourage frequent bathing.
When it comes to choosing a shampoo, you have several choices.
•The first is the typical chemical based shampoo. These usually contain chemicals as their major ingredients. They can include, but are not limited to: sodium lauryl (laureth) sulfate (SLS), cocamidopropyl betaine (cocabetaine), diethanolalamine (DEA), artificial colors, artificial fragrances or preservatives, petroleum, animal by-products, detergents, alcohols, and propylene glycol. While none of these is imminently fatal when used as directed, they can cause problems such as increased hair loss, skin irritation, cracking and inflammation. My general approach to these chemicals is this: even if your dogs are not harmed by their use, if there are better, safer, more natural choices, I prefer to use those shampoos instead.
•The second choice is the “natural” shampoo. As a rule, these use few if any of the above chemicals and instead rely on more natural ingredients such as essences of fragrant oils, purified water and “natural” cleansers. Nevertheless, I have seen a number of “natural” products that still include some chemicals such as sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, and disodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate. Unfortunately, the term “natural” does not really have a legal definition.
While most people think a natural product is totally devoid of chemicals and by-products, there is no legal guideline that mandates this. Therefore, it is imperative that you read the label of any shampoo to know exactly what’s in it. Also be aware of nebulous terms like “natural oils” and “natural cleansers” unless the product specifically states what these terms mean. Thankfully Wiser Pet’s 5 in 1 All Natural Shampoo is an example of a high quality shampoo which is also kind to your dog and the environment.
Bathing your dog several times a week might seem like a lot of work, but it’s not when you consider the many advantages. And with time and patience, it can become an enjoyable opportunity to bond with your dog and spend some quality time together.
What’s In It For Me?
Bathing your dog often can benefit your own health and that of your family. Clean dogs are less likely to cause people to suffer unnecessarily from allergies and other respiratory problems.
Think of it this way. Your dog’s hair acts like a rug, trapping dirt, bacteria, fungi and allergens. Allergens are foreign proteins such as dander, dust mites, saliva from the dog licking himself, bug droppings, molds, and tree and grass pollens.
These allergens stay on your dog’s skin and hair until they’re washed away. The longer they stay there, the more likely they are to cause your dog to itch. And if you or any family members suffer from allergies, your dog’s skin and hair will contribute to your discomfort until the allergens are washed away.
I recommend bathing your dog as often as possible if you or anyone in your family suffers from allergies.