How to Bathe a Dog With Ringworm

Medium
30 - 60 Minutes
2 Week

Introduction

Ringworm. Sounds pretty nasty! 

Actually, ringworm is not really a worm, but a fungal infection that leaves itchy, crusty, often circular, or semicircular bald spots on your dog's skin. Unfortunately, ringworm can also be transmitted to humans and other animals--it is quite contagious and is transmitted by coming into contact with the fungal spores on the hair and skin of an infected host. There are several methods of treating ringworm, including topical creams and oral medications. A medicated bath is often part of the treatment regime. However, because ringworm is contagious to humans you will want to be careful handling your infected pooch, before and during bathing and until the infection is resolved, so as not to become infected with ringworm yourself. Precautions like washing your hands, wearing gloves and long-sleeved tops, and disinfecting items your dog has come into contact with, especially towels after bathing, will be important to contain the infection and prevent yourself and other pets becoming infected. 

Generally, ringworm, although unsightly and annoying, is not a dangerous infection and can be easily treated.  If left untreated, however, it can spread over large parts of your dog's body and compromise the skin and hair coat.  In humans, it is also generally easily treated, however, if you have an immune disorder or are undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy that impairs the immune system you should not handle or bathe a dog with ringworm, instead find someone who can bathe your dog for you.

Dog's Perspective

Ringworm is usually not serious or particularly painful, or itchy, however, there can be some skin inflammation and irritation in the infected area. Infection usually results in a loss of hair and small lesions that are often in a circular pattern, thus the name ringworm--although spots may also be patchy. If the infection is left untreated and becomes widespread, inflammation and scabs can cause more severe inflammation and irritation of the skin that will cause discomfort to your dog. Occasionally, infections can affect a dog's nails, causing them to become brittle and break, which can be painful. Although your dog may be somewhat oblivious to his ringworm infection, you should not be, since it can become widespread and cause problems and it is contagious to other animals and yourself.

The Lime Sulfur Dip Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Shampoo
Step
1
Obtain lime dip
Obtain a lime sulfur dip from your veterinarian or vet supply store. A commercially prepared dip for dogs will have detailed instructions on dosage and use.
Step
2
Protect yourself and your dog's eyes
Wear latex or rubber gloves and a long-sleeved shirt to protect yourself. You will also want to protect your dog's face and eyes. You can use an Elizabethan collar or cone on your dog to protect him during the bath and prevent him licking his coat while it is covered in the dip.
Step
3
Dilute
Dilute the lime sulfur product with water as directed. You can put in a squeeze bottle or spray bottle for easier application.
Step
4
Apply treament
Soak your dog's coat in the lime sulfur dip by spraying or pouring over your dog's body. Work from neck back, avoid the face. If necessary to apply to the head area, do so carefully with a cloth. Apply in a few days and repeat twice weekly as needed.
Step
5
Do not rinse
Do not rinse or towel off your dog. Prevent your dog from licking the dip off until he dries. You may need to remove dead hair from around affected areas and treat with topical cream or administer oral medication as well. Wash your hands and clothes thoroughly.
Recommend grooming method?

The Anti-fungal Shampoo Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Towel
Step
1
Prepare shampoo
Prepare a homemade shampoo with 50% water 50% apple cider vinegar or commercially available medicated anti-fungal shampoo. Anti-fungal shampoos with tea tree oil are also commonly sued. Sometimes diluting shampoo to spread evenly over your dog's body is useful, especially if you have a large dog.
Step
2
Apply shampoo
Protect yourself with gloves and long sleeves. Wet your dog down and apply shampoo from neck backwards.
Step
3
Lather
Lather your dog's entire body, legs, between toes, and abdomen. Avoid the face, eyes, nose and mouth. Take precautions to protect these areas.
Step
4
Leave on
Leave shampoo on for 5 minutes or longer if directed. You will need to repeat every couple of days for several days until infection is resolved.
Step
5
Rinse and dry
Rinse shampoo off, pat dry with towel, blow dry on low. Remove hair around infected areas and treat with topical medication if necessary or administer oral medication if directed by a veterinarian. Wash your hands and clothes thoroughly.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Because ringworm is contagious, protect your skin by using gloves and long-sleeved clothing. 
  • Wash hands and clothes thoroughly after handling and treating your dog for ringworm.
  • Avoid getting antifungal dips and shampoos in your dog's eyes, mouth or nose.  A cone works well.
  • Prevent your dog from licking himself after antifungal treatments.
  • Lime dips are foul smelling and can stain a light colored dog or your clothes. It can also discolor jewelry, so take off rings, etc.
  • Antifungal products can cause allergic reactions.  If this is a concern, spot test your dog first with the product, watch for reactions.
  • Do not handle an animal with ringworm if you are immune system compromised.

Conclusion

Ringworm is yucky, it's necessary to avoid it spreading and is time-consuming to treat and disinfect your home, but otherwise is not usually dangerous. Unless you leave it untreated and it spreads, or you or your pet are immune-compromised, dealing with ringworm is usually just an inconvenience. Take the time to prevent contamination and bathe your dog with medicated shampoos and dips, apply ointments and creams, and administer oral medication as directed to successfully eradicate ringworm. Because spores can live for several months on surfaces you will also need to thoroughly disinfect your home and dog's bedding to prevent reinfection.  

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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