Bathing Habits

I've titled this bathing habits because thats how the subject of bathing Eti began for me- by observing the habits of others. To my great surprise, I learnt from a couple of experienced Frenchie owners that they rarely bathed their dogs. Researching a little around the subject, it made sense not to strip the natural oils with overbathing but no bathing for 3 or 4 months. Really? I couldn't remember how often the dogs that I grew up with were bathed, I'm sure it was more often than that. What I do remember is that dog odor in the days or weeks that preceded the bath.

As it turned out, the first thing I noticed about Eti was he really didn't smell much like a dog. His things smell icky after a bit- like his bed and his toys and blankets, but not him. I've since spent close quarters with a couple of other Frenchies and they are much the same. When he was a puppy it was hard to avoid going without a bath every few weeks but the gaps got longer and after I started feeding him a raw diet at the age of 5 months, if he didn't really smell before he didn't smell at all now. One day I realised I hadn't bathed him in 2 and a half months.

I have learnt to do other things. I stand him in the bath and rinse with just water. Sometimes its just enough warm water to cover his paws- perfect for the winter months to get rid of the salt. This can be increased to include his legs and belly if he's been rolling in the grass or a full body rinse if he's been running around, or more likely lying and crawling in a dusty dog run. In the summer months this is also great to just cool him down, for dogs with environmental allergies this is also a great way to keep those allergens at bay. Every two or three of months I actually bathe him with a shampoo. I use very little which I have already watered down in a container, never applied in concentrated form directly. I always avoid the head and ears which I wipe with a damp towel- water in the ears can cause ear infections.

I came across some good advice about bathing in a post on a canine nutrition/health list that I read from, who better, a dog groomer of twenty seven years. She stresses the importance of rinsing the shampoo out- its the primary trigger of dry skin and the ensuing problems it leads to. Read her post for a solution to this and an interesting use for Listerine which was apparently a Dandruff shampoo before it was a mouthwash.

I marvel at the arc of the learning curve both his and mine in establishing his current bathing habit. From my nervous and inept handling and his terrified attempts to get the hell out of the bathtub to my now assured rinsing techniques and his fearless and patient standing and waiting and then the joyful towelling-he loves the towel. I also marvel that he smells better than I do even though I bathe about sixty times more often than he does.


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