View Full Version : Bathing

18th April 2010, 09:40 PM
Hello everyone. I'm new to the breed. How often do caves typically need to be bathed? I'm used to Labradors who rarely need them. Thanks for you time.

Kate H
19th April 2010, 01:14 PM
Welcome to the loving world of Cavaliers! My two - a ruby and a Blenheim - get bathed 3 or 4 times a year. Oliver the ruby sometimes gets an extra bath if he rolls in fox poo! Some people wash their dogs' feet and tummy when muddy (especially Blenheims), but I find that a good rub with a rough towel gets the worst off and then just a good brush the following day works well. Baby wipes can be useful as well! Too much bathing is definitely not good for their skin.

Kate, ruby Oliver and blenheim Aled

20th April 2010, 12:41 AM
I bath my girl about 1x every 2 weeks. I use a really good shampoo/conditioner (Buddy Wash by Cloud Star) that does not seem to dry her skin out in any way. I would hate to bathe her any less, as she is soooo soft and shiny afterwards and looks adorable!

20th April 2010, 01:06 AM
There's no general rule except that less is usually better. The general advice from most vets is not to wash dogs more than once every one to three months with shampoo unless there are medical reasons to do so (eg a medicated skin shampoo). If the dog is a bit dirty just a rinse with water gets dirt off or pee smell -- girls in particular can get pretty stinky if not rinsed regularly on hind feathering as this drags in their pee when they squat.

Groomers will generally recommend grooming every one-two months or so, if that is what people prefer to washing themselves.

Dogs have natural oils on their skin that keeps the coat glossy and healthy. Overwashing dries skin and can cause skin problems over time. It also means the coat dries out and doesn't get the oils that benefit it -- same as overwashing human hair, it gradually gets dry and brittle and can lead to a fluffy cottony coat.

Proper dog shampoo ensures the right pH balance as dog skin is different than human skin. A good brushing though takes out almost all dirt. You'd be surprised how a wet dirty dog will dry out and then look really clean! Using a good finishing spray/conditioner with some sort of silicone in it (look for an ingredient ending in -one) not only adds shine and gloss but also forms a protective barrier on hair that keeps the dog looking clean and repels dirt -- so the dog looks better for far longer than just bathing. I use a spray on after bathing conditioner called The Stuff that works well but there are loads on the market.

Improper bathing can cause dry dog skin. Proper bathing can help cure it. Dry skin occurs when too much bathing or bathing with harsh products strips your dog's skin of its natural oils. Symptoms of dry skin include itching, redness, hair loss, hot spots and infection. First evaluate whether serious underlying health conditions are causing your dog's dry skin and treat any you find. Whatever the cause of dry skin, implement the right bathing schedule and use the right products to repair and rejuvenate your dog's dry skin.

How Often Do I Bathe My Dog?

There is no one right answer to this question. As a general rule, dogs need to take baths far less often than humans do. Depending on the breed and length of coat, as well as general health status, of your dog, you and your vet will decide on the appropriate bathing schedule.

Use the Right Shampoos for Dry Skin

Never use shampoos formulated for humans or dish-washing liquid to bathe your dog; such products are too harsh and have the wrong pH for dogs. Choose canine-specific, soap-free and pH-balanced shampoos that contain the following ingredients:

Vitamins A and E, which promote skin and coat health
Humectants, which help your dog's skin retain moisture
Silk, wheat or oat proteins, which fortify skin and coat texture
Use the Right Crème Rinses and Conditioners for Dry Skin

Crème rinses and conditioners soothe your dog's skin as they silken the coat. Choose products with the following ingredients:

Hydrolyzed oat proteins
Vitamin E
Natural oils, like safflower and sunflower seed

From: http://www.vetinfo.com/dog-dry-skin.html

20th April 2010, 01:18 AM
A few more bits of advice from dog sites:

Bathing and Shampooing Your Dog

* Do not bathe your dog too often because that will dry out the skin, deplete healthy oils from the coat and skin, and lead to scratching and irritation. Frequency is largely dependent on the breed and activities of the dog. Dogs who spend a lot of time outside or engage in outdoor activities that expose them to dirt, bugs and/or debris typically require more bathing, perhaps every 6 weeks or more frequently. Some groomers recommend bathing double-coated breeds only about 3 times a year and suggest that smooth-coated dogs can go a lot longer between baths than can curly-coated breeds such as poodles. Too frequent bathing can cause the coat to soften and reduce its insulating qualities.

* To keep your dog clean between baths, brush vigorously and regularly -- preferably daily. This is good for the coat and skin, and helps the dog look and smell good. If you are allergic to your pet, wear a mask when you brush...brush outdoors or onto a newspaper indoors to aid in clean up...and wash hands afterwards.

* Remember that after being indoors during the colder months, a dog's fur and skin can become dry. And if your dog grows an undercoat, you need to comb it out in warmer weather. If a dog's fur gets matted, the skin cannot breathe -- compelling the dog to scratch and pull out fur, which can result in sores.

* Wait until a puppy is more than five weeks old before giving him his first bath.


From a vet (http://www.petpeoplesplace.com/resources/advice/dogs/309-how-often-should-dog-be-bathed.htm):

have been told it is not good to bathe a dog frequently. If this is true what is considered frequently? (D Stenta - Florida)

This is not entirely true. It is perfectly OK to allow your dog to swim in natural water as often as he likes (within reason) but what is not OK is to wash your dog using soaps or shampoos very regularly. Using human shampoos on dogs leads to an imbalance of sweat, and they would be likely to develop dry, itchy skin. Having said that, using mild human shampoos is fine used at a frequency of once per month. However, I would personally recommend dog-specific shampoos and these will have a recommended usage detailed on the bottle, but this would definitely not be more than once every several weeks. In some cases shampoos can be medicated, such as for specific skin-disorders, and the frequency of use for these would depend on the condition.

If you find a soap-free shampoo then some say you can use that more often.

21st April 2010, 09:22 AM
Normally we bath out dog about 4 times a year, if we take him out and his feet are muddy we normally just wash his feet and dry them with a towel and he's ready to go again, they dont need bathing to often because of the oils in the skin apparently

22nd April 2010, 11:11 PM
Mine are bathed every 2 weeks, and since I've been bathing them more often their coats have been growing faster and have also been silkier...just my experience...

23rd April 2010, 02:35 AM
I am in Australia and it has been summer....so mine have had a bath about once a month to 6 weeks.... now we are going into winter, it will be just as and when they need it.

I am thinking of getting a mobile dog wash service though for the winter months, so that they they can be washed and dried by a professional rather than me trying to wash them in the laundry tub and trying to use my hair dryer on them.... but we shall see :)

We don't have central heating in Australia, just a gas fire in the lounge so don't like the thought of them drying off after a towel dry like they do in summer.

23rd April 2010, 02:41 AM
Holy cow, I must be in the minority! I bathe Holly at least once a week. She goes everywhere with us (and I have two young kids) so she gets pretty dirty. I use Isle of Dogs and always condition her after her rinse off in the sink. She loves bath time and I haven't noticed any skin problems -- she's two years old now.

Hopefully I'm not doing anything wrong here:confused:.

23rd April 2010, 05:23 AM
I bathe my girl at LEAST once every 2 weeks. Sometimes 1x a week. She gets so dirty looking. Her ears get all stringy and her feet stink lol. She looks so gorgeous and fluffy after her bathes and her water is always brown, so she def needed it. No skin probs from bathing. I use a really good all natural shampoo followed by a conditioning rinse so I think that helps!

23rd April 2010, 05:56 AM
Thanks, Erin. Good to know I'm not the only one bathing quite so often. Holly sleeps in the big bed with us, so I like her to smell good. She also lays in bed with each of my daughters for their bedtime stories. I guess since she's in all our beds I'm a bit of a clean freak.

I will watch her skin closely to make sure I'm not harming her with frequent baths.

23rd April 2010, 09:53 AM
Every 2 weeks, all of mine get a wash. I hate, hate, HATE the smell of dog (when I tell people this they think I'm insane because I have so many) and I can't stand when I walk into a house and there is a smell of dog off of the carpet, furniture etc. and the house in general smells like a dog.

Two of mine in particular get very dirty, the water is brown when they are being rinsed and because I let them all up onto our bed, on the couches (which are leather, so no smell absorbing) and generally everywhere in the house I really don't want them dragging all the dirt around with them. I can usually feel when they are dirty anyway. I wash their beds every time I wash the dogs (usually, every 3ish washes I'll do an all out bed wash - wash the whole beds, wash the plastic and all the blankets but if it's just a normal wash it's just the covers and blankets that get done) and give them - the beds - a spray over with Tea Tree spray (and leave to dry!) when they are changed. I wash our own bedding once a week, at least, because with the dogs on the bed so often they get quite smelly.

I have never had an issue with skin problems with my guys and all the dogs coats are in very good condition - one of mine gives herself dermatitis (on her bits! :eek:) from licking every so often, I asked the vet if it could be me over washing them but he said no because she only really does it when her glands are dodgy. Another one has ear problems but I put cotton balls in his ears to prevent water getting in so the water does not affect him. Every so often, one of them can get a bit of flaky skin (consulted the vet about it, and it's only dandruff) that a bit of Tea Tree or medicated shampoo sorts out pretty quickly. They are also given fish oils.

If I had a breed that was prone to skin problems (eg. a Westie) I probably would not wash the dog as often but I have had the same washing routine for years, with my own dogs and with fosters, and so far so good! I really think it is personal preference.

23rd April 2010, 10:38 AM
Hi Tara

We do buy your Isle of Dogs products? I have tried to source them here in Ireland/UK, but can only find them in the US so the postage is quite expensive. Would love to be able to try them out.


23rd April 2010, 10:47 AM
Basically it depends on your dog's coat and what condition you want to maintain it in.
If they don't have too much coat you'll get away with a lot less washing.I used to wash Daisy every six to eight weeks,she never had much coat as a puppy but now that she's three she has quite an amount of coat which has altered slightly after neutering,so to keep her looking well she needs an extra bit of maintenence.
Holly is a different girl,she has way more coat and very heavy long ears and to avoid tangles and matts she gets spritzed every day with "ice on ice" and brushed through thoroughly.It also protects the areas of her coat which are vulnerable to staining.
It's a live and learn situation with cavaliers...it's always great to pick up tips from others and eventually you'll find what works for you.But if you put the work into the coat,it'll remain in good condition.

23rd April 2010, 12:59 PM
What are you all using for their eyes (tear staining). The vet suggested he operate on D'Artagnans eyes or at least his left eye as the staining is worse on that one. He said he has .... I forget the term.... where the hairs go the wrong way... they haven't scratched his eyeball but he does tear up a lot on one side.

The peeps on another CKCS forum I go to said I should see a specialist rather than let the vet operate. It was just a suggestion from the vet, Tagnan's eyes are not infected... although when he's been playing in the garden for a few hours and has leaked alot, then he can smell rather fishy around the eye area.

I have been using tear wipes but don't think they do much...

Suggestions would be great :)

amanda L
23rd April 2010, 01:19 PM
I usually bath my pair every 4/5 weeks, and we use PetSilk moisturizing shampoo and Silk conditioner. I find it keeps their coats in tip top condition, healthy, silky and shiny and no dry skin problems. I also use ICE on ICE for maintenence inbetween bathing, brushed through with a soft baby brush, and find it great for keeping matts to a minimum. :D

23rd April 2010, 01:38 PM
I probably bath Cass & Sparky about every other month - unless theyve rolled in something nasty! I bathed Lucy for the first time this week as she was manky from being in season & hadnt had too much care applied to 'that area' but shes fine now so hopefully I wont be bathing her for a while again! - although she's booked in for her spay next month so I might bath her before she goes in.

I use 2 shampoos - either Dorwest herbs pennyroyal shampoo (because I generaly dont use any flea reppellants) or if Sparky needs bathing more frequently because of rolling I use johnsons baby shampoo.