Since bathing your pets isn’t always easy or fun for you or your pet, you might wonder what’s actually necessary when it comes to how often to bathe your pets. Since dogs and cats generally groom themselves, it’s uncommon to have to bathe your dog more than once a month, and cats should not be bathed at all, with a few exceptions. In this article, we’ll go over specifics on how often to bathe a dog, and when to bathe a cat.
How Often Should You Bathe a Dog?
How often you should bathe your dog depends on whether your dog is outside a lot and actually gets dirty, or if they spend most of their time indoors. Some dogs have allergies that can be helped by bathing more often. And dogs who are smelly, for whatever reason, need a bath! So basically, you should be giving your dog a bath when it’s actually necessary, not on a mandated schedule.
For tips on making the bath easier and more comfortable for your dog, (that’s me in the pic above bathing my little wiener dog, Taz!) read my article, How to Bathe Your Dog – Tips to Make it Easier for the Dog and YOU! You can also get more information on how often to bathe your dog from PetMd.com.
You can get tips about the general care of your dog by reading my article, How to Take Care of a Dog.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Cat?
According to Jackson Galaxy, Animal Planet’s Cat Expert, you should not bathe your cat. Cats naturally groom themselves, and most cats are darn good at it! There’s usually no reason to bathe your cat, especially since it can be stressful for them, can be detrimental to your relationship with them, and, well, might get your face scratched off! There are a few exceptions, though, that should be discussed with your vet.
Possible reasons to bathe your cat:
- If they’ve soiled themselves, rolled in something stinky, or were sprayed by a skunk.
- Hairless breeds may need a bath as often as once a week because they produce excess oils on their skin.
- If you’ve just rescued the cat and it’s extremely dirty or covered in fleas.
- If your cat is elderly or has a health condition such as arthritis or obesity which makes them unable to adequately groom themselves, cleaning them with a baby wipe will usually suffice.
How to Bathe a Cat
Consult your veterinarian first if you think you have reason to bathe your cat. If you must bathe your cat, follow these tips on how to bathe a cat:
- Fill the tub first so your cat isn’t frightened by the sound and rush of the water from the faucet.
- Place a non-skid pad on the bottom of the tub so your cat isn’t slipping around.
- Gently wash the cat’s face and head with a washcloth – dumping water over their head is never a good idea.
- Use a proper shampoo, and make sure it’s unscented because cat’s have a super-strong sense of smell.
- Always take it slow. Remember that baths can be far more stressful for cats than they are for dogs.
You can get more information from Jackson Galaxy here or watch his hilarious and informative video on this topic here. You can get tips about the general care of your cat by reading my article, How to Take Care of a Cat.
If the reason you’re giving your dog or cat a bath is because they have fleas, take it from me: in over 40 years of pet ownership, I have never, ever, ever seen a flea bath work to get rid of or prevent fleas. Instead, use a flea treatment medication prescribed by your veterinarian or a product like Advantage II. You can find it on Amazon here (make sure to choose the right dose for your cat or dog based on their weight). You can read more about this in my article, How to Get Rid of Fleas.
Pets have a different pH balance in their skin than people, so shampoo for humans, even if it’s all natural or a baby shampoo, may be too drying for your pet’s skin. The best pet shampoo is one that’s specifically formulated for dogs or cats. Oatmeal-based shampoos are a good option. Always get a recommendation for a pet shampoo from your vet if it’s meant to treat a specific skin condition.
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