How Often Can You Bathe Your Dog?
The first thing you might want to consider is, how often should or could you bathe your dog? Most everything you read or find on the Internet tells you, certainly not more than once or twice a month, all the way up to three times a year. The reason given is that you will cause your dog to have dry, itchy skin. That's commonsense, right? Well, where did that come from? There is no scientific or medical evidence to substantiate the "dry skin" claim. If you use the wrong type of soap or shampoo? Sure. If you use BVH Premium Dog Shampoo and Conditioner or any other brand that is pH balanced for dogs, you can bathe your dog whenever you determine that you need to. More about this later in the article.
Reasons for Bathing Your Dog
- Generally, It makes them feel good. If your dog has been bathed from early on, and they have had good experiences, they enjoy the process and like the clean feeling. I don't have scientific evidence for this, but I have observed how perky and playful they are, particularly after they are dry and brushed.
- Bathing removes dirt and debris, dander, some matting, urine, and saliva from their coat. Brushing can't remove much of that.
- Bathing gets rid of things dogs transport like pollen, mold, spores and other allergens which won't go away with brushing.
- It helps to heal infected and inflamed skin.
- It helps damaged coats to recover.
- It helps to stop the itching and scratching.
- It kills many parasites.
- It will often kill bacteria and yeast that irritate their skin.
- Helps to get rid of dead hair or fur.
- There are numerous health benefits for the owner and their family. Pet allergies affect about 15% of the population and roughly 25% of those people have pet dogs or cats in spite of the allergies. Washing pets twice a week can reduce allergens by 85%.
- It is a good time for bonding with your dog. You have your hands all over them scrubbing and massaging.
- Finally, it gives you a chance to inspect your dog for unusual growths, injuries, inflammations, etc.
Why You Have To Pick The Right Dog Shampoo and Conditioner
The pH of human skin is acidic and the skin of your dog is alkaline. The pH level for human soaps and shampoos should be in the 5 to 5.5 range, depending on who you believe. Everybody seems to be pretty close on this one. The point being that that pH factor leans toward acidic. The pH level for dog shampoos should be close to the 6.5 to7.4 range, which again most scientists are in agreement.
Again, the point being that 7 on the pH scale has crossed over to alkaline, which is completely different. The take-a-way here is that you should never use human soaps and shampoos on your dog without the specific direction of your vet. Generally, you will do harm to your pet.
The pH scale is logarithmic like the Richter Scale so the difference between 5.5 and 6.5 is 10 times, and the difference between 5.5 and 7.5 is 100 times! Please understand that this is a BIG deal.
Even an overly simplified explanation as follows will get the idea across.
The sebaceous glands of the skin secrete a substance called sebum, a waxy, oily substance, that among other things, helps to waterproof the skin. Sebum combines with sweat to form what is called the acid mantle. This is not dirty! You want this protection right where it is. This is one of the ways that mammals are able to thrive on land. It also helps to keep germs and bacteria from penetrating the skin. There is much more that the acid mantle does, but I'm trying to keep this simple. On top of that is the lipid barrier which among other things, helps the break down the substance which binds skin cells together so that dead skin cells can exfoliate. These layers have the aforementioned pH factors and you don't want to disturb them any more than necessary.
The acid mantle takes upward to twelve hours to recover. During that time the skin is susceptible to attack by different agents that don't normally get through. This is why you don't want to wash with a product with the wrong pH level.
Additionally, most soaps and shampoos have additives that will somewhat coat the skin to protect it during that period. However, don't look to the additives in an acidic product made for humans, to protect an alkaline skin. In the case of a dog, the skin would be unprotected which causes dry skin, and can cause rashes and inflammation. Which of course the dog will aggravate by biting and scratching which could lead to infection because the skin is unprotected.
A shampoo with the right pH level won't disturb the acid mantle or lipid barrier to a dangerous degree. That means you can bathe them frequently if necessary for your family's health or any time your dog flunks the "smell" test. But only if you have the right shampoo. Or ear cleaner for that matter.