Smelly Pooches

Dear Liz, My pooch loves a good swim in the local pond and enjoys rolling in fragrant items when out for walks. Will frequent baths damage his coat?

Signed, Eau De Wet Dog

Dear Wet Dog:

Well, frequent bathing can be a problem if you use the wrong shampoo or don’t rinse well. It will be more of an issue for Pooch’s skin vs his coat.

Shampoos with harsh chemicals or shampoo that’s not completely rinsed off will leave a residue on Pooch’s skin that can cause itching and flaking, much like dandruff in people.

Before resorting to a shampoo, try brushing Pooch’s coat. Most of the dirt (from rolling in things) stays on the surface or can be brushed out with a stiff bristle brush. Don’t use the wire ones as you might scratch Pooch’s skin and introduce bacteria into his system.

Best to either buy shampoo from a professional groomer or cut what ever shampoo you use with 50% water. That way the shampoo can be rinsed better. And don’t forget the conditioner! It works much the same way as it does on your hair and will leave Pooch’s coat much softer. Make sure, though, that you do a complete rinse.

A few notes about your e-mail, though. First, watch closely for ear infections. Swimming in pond water or even frequent bathing can introduce lots of bacteria into the ear canal, causing bacterial infections, etc., which will result in nasty smelling and itchy ears. When you do come back from the pond, make sure you rinse Pooch’s ears with an ear cleansing solution (available at your vet’s) and make sure they dry well, especially if your dog’s ears hang vs stand up.

Also, when Pooch rolls in “that stuff”, he’s also rolling in stuff that you don’t want to have introduced into your home! Again, you don’t know what that “stuff” is made of (bacteria, intestinal parasite eggs, salmonella laden, rotting what-evers), so keep Pooch OUTTA there! If you know where the location is of the enticing pile, keep Pooch on a tighter leash until that temptation has been passed by.

So hope that helps. I know it’s a problem that many encounter in the warmer weather!

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