How Often Do Dogs And Cats Really Need Baths?

September 4th, 2015

Going for a walk or playing in the park with your dog can be an adventure—or a disaster. Because inevitably, it happens: Your furry friend finds something awesomely gross and decides to roll around in it.

But unless a dog is unusually dirty (or covered in something awesomely gross), they probably don’t need a bath as often as you might think. One bath every three months or so is plenty for most dogs, according to the ASPCA, and short-haired breeds can probably go even longer without one.

For cats, it’s another story. Unlike their canine counterparts, cats are self-cleaning: The average cat spends more than five hours a day cleaning and grooming itself. The only time to ever consider bathing a cat is if they have fleas and in that case, you can just use mild soap and water.

But that doesn’t mean cats don’t need a little hygiene help. A good brushing goes a long way. Short-haired cats only need to be brushed once every week or so, but particularly fluffy cats or cats prone to hairballs should be brushed daily.

When you do give your pet a bath, stay calm and conversational, reassuring him that everything is fine as you hose him down.  If you’re stressed out, they’ll most likely pick up on that and get stressed out, too.

If a dog seems nervous or anxious about running water, try rewarding him with a treat after putting him in the tub and again after the bath. Eventually, he’ll start to associate bath time with foods he loves, which will make the whole process easier.

Your pup gets some one-on-one love and attention from you, and you get a squeaky clean pet. It’s a win-win!

Photo credit: shoehorn99 via Flickr

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This article is related to: Cats, Dogs, Healthy Families, Home Trends, Pet Care, Pets

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Annalise MantzAnnalise is a foodie, Brussels sprouts lover, grammar nerd, and political pet aficionado.

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