Grooming/bathing is a part of pet ownership that most of our pets hate, some more than others. So the question is how and how often? Well we all know Fido's answer.
I'll answer the second question first. The good news is that most get along fine with semi-annual bathing, which is good since getting clean is not usually as much fun as getting dirty. Depending on your pets lifestyle and coat type you might need to adjust that schedule a bit. I'll admit I never groom or bathe my cats because they are your standard domestic short hairs. While Sphynx cats need frequent bathing to adjust for oily skin. Swota and Yukon receive frequent brushing but only bathes about every six months. If your pet has any kind of skin condition check in with your vet about how often you should bathe. Too much or not enough can further aggravate sensitive skin. Alright so now that you've decided when, what are your options for how? Option 1-Leave it to the pros. For me, bathing the dog usually looks more like a wet, soapy wrestling matching, The cleaner they get the grosser I feel, in no time at all I'm covered in wet dog hair and filthy wash water. Taking your pet to a pro definitely takes all the hard work out of it. A few things to consider first. A professional groomer will send your pet home fluffy and smelling great. And some breeds require professional grooming. Mostly toy breeds such as Poodles, Shih Tzus, Maltese, Schnauzers, or Brussles Griffons demand specific cuts to keep them healthy and within breed standards. Professional groomers are trained in the best techniques for these specialty cuts. The same goes for long haired cats. Its usually not a good idea to attempt to cut your pets hair yourself. While working in vet hospitals I saw a fair number of pets who's well meaning owners had accidentally cut them while trying to cut corners on grooming. However, professional grooming is not for everyone. Most groomers require drop off for a good part of the day. Some pets and owners don't handle separation well. Some pets are snappy with strangers, which may get them kicked out of the groomer. And if you have a large or giant hairy dog like a Malamute, Pyrenees, or Shepherd a pro may take a good chunk out of your wallet. Option 2- Wash at home. Assuming your pet doesn't need a special 'do, home bathing might be a great option. It is certainly inexpensive and convenient since you wont have to venture out. If you have a small, short haired dog you may even be able to bathe 'em in the sink. You are in complete control and don't have to worry about separation anxiety or scheduling. But if you have a long haired or large dog washing at home may be messy and difficult. Thick coated dogs also take a long time to dry. And digging hair clogs out of the drain is never fun either. Back yard baths are great if the weather is good. Either way you end up hunched over and possibly wrestling with a soapy, wet, stinky dog. Option 3- A self serve dog wash- The hybrid of the dog grooming world! You get the use of pro tools- tubs, brushes, and forced air dryers! When bath time comes around I prefer the Wag N Wash. Walking in the door you'll be greeted with a smile and all the grooming supplies you could possibly need. A friendly employee will show you to a tub and even offer quick tips on which brushes & technique might work best for your furry one. If you find yourself lacking for anything there is always someone nearby who will bring more towels, brushes, or conditioner. And when all the scrubbing and rinsing is done the turbo dryer is well worth a few extra quarters for any heavy coated dog. We leave the mess behind and pick up a gourmet treat or the way out to make amends for the bath. Or if you don't mind the smell of wet dog you could always just let nature do its thing! Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog. ~Franklin P. Jones