How often should you bath your dog?
These are the two questions I pondered this morning as we went up to the woods, in a cloud. I found myself thinking how little I mind a bit of rain. I don’t like it when rain is driving and freezing, or if I thought it was sunny and am incorrectly dressed when it starts to pour. I might cut off a corner or two in those circumstances. Otherwise, I go out with my dogs, rain or shine. In 24 years of dog ownership, I can count of one hand the number of times I have missed a walk because of weather.
Yes, I walk my dogs in the rain. Border Collies simply take no notice of weather. They are designed to be outside in this country, up on the hills on the border of England and Scotland, which is pretty wild and bleak. They have a snuggly, fluffy undercoat and a silky, waterproof top coat. So it really takes driving rain to penetrate through to their skin. They absolutely do not react when it is windy, or wet, or cold.
Not all breeds are like this. Some dogs have a single coat and will become cold and wet very quickly. Any dog bred not to shed or moult will need to be clipped to prevent their coat becoming tangled and tatty. Once clipped they should be protected from the elements, because they simply don’t have the hair to protect themselves.
Conclusion: Only walk your dog in the rain if they have been designed for that weather, or you have a coat for them to wear.
Similarly, Border Collies have thick double coats which take a great deal of water to soak through. Once they are soaked, they then take all day to dry off. I therefore choose not to bath my dogs, ever. I seriously never, ever bath them completely. If they are muddy (like today), I stick their legs in a bucket and splash water on their stomachs, to wash out the worst of it. Then I rub them down with a towel. That is the appropriate level of care for a dog with this type of coat, in my opinion. I quite like them to be out in the rain from time to time, as it gives them a bit of a wash, without washing out their natural oils.
Again, with a short coated, shedding dog breed, such as a Labrador, you probably would bath them occasionally, as they will become smelly. And dogs who are clipped will be washed and groomed extensively (at great cost). We are obsessed with having clean houses and no offensive smells, so dogs who smell of dog are frowned upon, poor things.
I am not suggesting that I do not groom my dogs, or check them over regularly. I make sure they have no parasites, (ticks in summer, fleas at any time). I look out for cuts or bumps, or other issues with their fur. I check their nails and get these trimmed (by Chris) as required. I make sure their teeth are clean and that their breath does not smell.
Top tip: When your dog rolls in fox poo (when, not if) try rubbing in a handful of tomato ketchup. Then wash out. It really helps to remove the smell. Or get some Fox Poo Shampoo
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