6 Options for Winter Dog Baths

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The calendar may say winter—but the list of reasons for bathing your dog during the cold weather months is just as long as it is during the summer. Although your dog may not need as many baths during the winter as in the summer, you’ll still want to keep up a dog bathing routine to help keep your dog smelling fresh, to help prevent fleas, to prevent matting, and to notice any lumps and bumps that his thick winter coat may be hiding.

Here are six options for keeping your dog clean this winter:

Groomer: Even if you usually handle your dog’s grooming during warm weather, you may want to pamper him with a professional shampoo during the winter. A groomer will be able to thoroughly wash your dog and dry him before leaving the store. Ask your groomer to use a moisturizing shampoo since, like with our own hair, cold weather can cause your dog’s coat to become dry.

In-home dog groomer: Many dogs (and dog owners) would be more comfortable having the dog grooming done in their home (and no fighting the winter weather to get to the groomer’s!) Check for mobile dog groomers who can wash your dog in the comfort of your own home.

DIY: As we mentioned, outdoor dogs baths are probably out of the question unless you’re lucky enough to be living in Key West—but an indoor bath is always an option. Whether you’re bathing a small dog in the sink or a large canine in the bathtub, be prepared with plenty of fluffy towels, a good dose of patience and good humor, and possibly a hair dryer. Time the bath for early in the day after your dog’s morning walk and potty break so he’ll have plenty of time to dry before venturing outdoors again. Turn up the thermostat a degree or two to make sure he’s comfortable then, after the bath, towel him thoroughly. If he’ll allow you to blow dry his fur, turn the dryer on a low setting with low to medium heat, keeping the dryer moving so you don’t cause discomfort.

Self-service dog washes: At a self-service dog wash facility, you can rent a room with all the tools you need for a dog bath: a special deep sink, dog stairs, aprons, shampoos, towels, and dryers. Another big benefit: no cleanup!

Waterless Shampoo: Can’t make time for a winter wash? Waterless shampoo can help lift out oils and dirt without the need for a rinse. Waterless shampoo is liquid; it sprays onto your dog’s coat. You’ll work the shampoo (often a foam) down into the fur either with your hands or by brushing. Towel your dog, allow the waterless shampoo to dry, and then brush again.

Dry Shampoo: Super easy to use, dry dog shampoo simply sprinkles on your dog’s coat to help lift out dander, dirt, and oil. You’ll work it into your dog’s coat then brush out all the powder and, with it, the dirt!

However you choose to bathe your dog, a dog bath will help keep your dog’s coat – and your home – clean this winter.  Even if the weather outside is frightful, your dog’s coat can be delightful with just a few minutes spent on a winter bath.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's also the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com Award winner for 2013. In addition, she's written Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

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