October 13, 2010
How Often Do You Give Your Gun Dog a Bath?
By David DiBenedetto
Here’s a true story. When I was a teenager I once leashed my Lab, Salty, to the handle of the garage door and started giving him a bath. The handle was the perfect height, and I had used this technique often until this day when my old man came home early from work.
He hit the automatic garage door opener as he turned down the driveway and suddenly Salty was coming tight to his leash. I started yelling as I grabbed my dog and began lifting him up to keep pace with the garage door. Thankfully, as I was about to attempt to hoist the dog over my shoulders my father pulled up in front of the garage and reversed the direction of the door. There I stood holding a sopping wet 60-pound dog, both of us wondering how I could be so stupid. Needless to say, Salty had a lot less baths from that time forward.
Contrary to the above photo, Pritchard does not get a bath in the tub. She gets her shine on beneath the hose in the backyard. I typically rinse her thoroughly after she goes swimming in the salt water and bathe her only if she takes a number of healthy rolls in a pasture pie. The sniff test is my usual indicator of bath time.
I grew up thinking that giving a dog too many baths would dry out its skin, but according to a recent clip I saw on Good Morning America frequent baths are good for your dog.
In fact, the on-air Vet suggested that indoor dogs should get bathed once a week to prevent the build up of allergens associated with the house. Outdoor dogs, viewers were told, need only get bathed once a month. (There was also considerable time spent on how to bathe your dog in the tub without getting drenched, but the cast was still sporting foul weather gear for some reason.)
I still know one trainer who refuses to bathe her dogs on the principal that it’s bad for their skin. But like most things associated with dogs, much depends on the breed. (Just make sure not to use shampoo meant for your own noggin.)
But I’m curious, how often do you bathe your gun dogs? Once a week? Once a month? Once a year?