Dogs, unlike humans do not bathe every day given the opportunity. They might swim in a fresh water creek every day, but it is for pleasure, not because they feel the need to get clean.
If fed correctly, dogs are able to balance their own body odour, including the cleanliness of their ears and control it very well to the point that unless they have rolled in something particularly fowl, bathing them is unnecessary.
A very good friend of mine is a wonderful dog groomer and she often says to me, “Don’t bath your dogs. They smell great, and the soap will just strip their oils and ruin their ability to keep themselves clean”
A good vigorous brushing with a bristled brush to stimulate their skin and remove any loose hair is warranted on a fairly frequent basis. This will get rid of a lot of dust also, as well as being exceptionally pleasant for the dog. It is the equivalent of a good massage. It ensures that the amount that they shed in your home will be minimised.
Puppies however are known to get themselves into a terrible mess! Be it chicken fat on their ears or poop up their legs, like babies left to their own devices they aren’t the cleanest of creatures.
Whilst I don’t recommend bathing your pup frequently, If you need to bathe your pup, I recommend filling a bath or laundry tub with warm water, a cup of magnesium salts and wash them in this alone with a soft cotton cloth.
If soap is required to rid stinky stuff, use a pure Castile soap, like Dr Bronner’s, or you can make your own if you have lots of time on your hands.
I like to use the Dr Bronner’s baby soap as it is super mild for them, but you can use a scented one like lavender if you would like them to smell less doggy.
After a bath is a good time to trim their toenails. If your pup isn’t getting a good run on a rough surface like gravel or bitumen fairly regularly, it is likely that his or her nails are growing like talons. It is important to keep them trimmed for their own foot confirmation and comfort- as well as to stop them destroying your furniture, and upholstery.
When nails are so long that they constantly touch the ground, they exert force back into the nail bed, creating pain for the dog (imagine wearing a too-tight shoe) and pressure on the toe joint. Long term, this can actually realign the joints of the foreleg and make the foot looked flattened and splayed.
This isn’t just an aesthetic problem, it’s a functional one: Compromising your dog’s weight distribution and natural alignment can leave him more susceptible to injuries, and make walking and running difficult and painful. Even your dog’s posture can be dramatically improved by cutting back neglected nails.
In extreme cases, overgrown nails can curve and grow into the pad of the foot. But even if they are not that out of control, long nails can get torn or split, which is very painful and, depending on severity, may need to be treated by a veterinarian.
It’s much easier to trim white nails nice and short, since you can see the pink, sensitive tissue inside the nail, the “quick”, and stop short of cutting into this and causing it to bleed.
Personally I am a bigger fan of having them run on a rough surface and wear naturally away, but this is not always an option.
A good dog nail trimmer is an important tool to own.
These kinds are both effective. For the puppies, whilst they are little use human nail clippers to just snip the ends off. Trimming their nails on a weekly basis in a friendly loving and caring environment will ensure that this is a painless experience for both you and your pup.
Since they were 3 weeks old we have been trimming their nails gently with human nail clippers, so they come to you with this experience already under their belt. We have a Dane who came to live with us as a one year old and to this day we have been unable to even touch his feet let alone get near them with nail clippers. His nails only get done the “natural” way.
When trimming, it is very important that you don’t trim the wrong angle.
From the front view the nail must look like it has a sharp point, live a V, not flat and not an upside down V.
Trimming of the nails needs to be done much more frequently than bathing, which is a good thing because as they grow, finding a tub large enough can be quite a challenge.