Photo of Golden Retriever dog playing in the creek.

Who Hates Baths

by Kris Phillips

Husky covered in dirtYou ever have that moment where you look at your dog and just wonder…how on Earth did you get so dirty?! Whether it’s a big muddy puddle or some random patch of dirt in an otherwise grassy park, dogs have an amazing knack for getting dirty. Which means that sooner or later they’re going to need a bath!

Aside from those extra filthy days, have you ever wondered how often to bathe your dog?  The good news is that most get along fine with semi-annual bathing, which is good since getting clean is not nearly as much fun as getting dirty. Depending on your pets lifestyle and coat type you might need to adjust that schedule a bit. Sweet Swota has some skin issues and thick fur that leave her frequently smelling like a mildewed towel. So we try to get her a good deep bath every other month. While Floki has a young and healthy coat that’s constantly in shed. So while he gets frequent brushing, we don’t bathe him nearly as often. If you’re not sure how often your dog should be bathed check in with your vet or groomer.

Alright so now that you’ve decided when, what are your options for how?

Well groomed huskyOption 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. 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. Though it’s hard to argue with that fluffy coat and adorable pink bow!

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.

Husky at self-wash dog wash stationOption 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! If you’re on the North side of town I can tell you the self-wash at Dingo Diner is absolutely wonderful. If you’re on the South side of town, I highly recommend Wag N Wash Littleton. 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.


Lab swimming in lake

Or if you don’t mind the smell of wet dog you could always just let nature do its thing!

Husky swimming in pond


Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.  ~Franklin P. Jones

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