How to Bathe a Dog with Sensitive Skin

Medium
30 - 60 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

Dogs may have sensitive skin for a variety of reasons. They may have allergies, parasites, sores, or infections or endocrine conditions. Some dogs with conditions causing sensitive skin experience worse symptoms due to the presence of stress and anxiety. Allergies can be caused by environmental factors, detergents, and food. 

If your dog has sensitive skin, not bathing him can allow oil, dead skin, and hair to build up and worsen the condition. Your dog requires regular grooming and bathing to address this, however, bathing in itself can worsen sensitive skin if detergents, stress, and water removing natural oils contribute to skin sensitivity. Bathing a dog with sensitive skin can result in a vicious cycle if appropriate products and techniques are not used to address skin conditions in your dog. 

If you have a dog with sensitive skin, first take your dog to a veterinarian to address any underlying medical issues and identify allergies or parasites, which are the most common causes of skin irritation in dogs. It is also recommended to get expert advice for appropriate commercial shampoos and products to soothe sensitive skin. Oatmeal-based and hypoallergenic shampoos are commonly recommended for dogs with sensitive skin.

Dog's Perspective

If your dog suffers from sensitive skin and skin irritation, he may have experienced outbreaks after bathing and associated these painful episodes with baths. Additionally, the process of bathing itself may be unpleasant, with water drying out the skin, hot or cold water being uncomfortable, and scrubbing causing further irritation to inflamed painful skin tissues. Your dog with sensitive skin may want to avoid bathing--efforts to make bathing more comfortable and creating positive associations with bathing may be required.

The Preventing Irritation Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Shampoo
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Use appropriate shampoo
Choose an appropriate, commercially available gentle or hypoallergenic dog shampoo, do not use human shampoos or detergents.
Step
2
Bathe
Wet down your dog and shampoo carefully, use a delicate touch and keep shampoo out of the eyes, ears and nose. Use lukewarm water so hot water does not cause further irritation and drying.
Step
3
Condition
Use a hypoallergenic, non-irritating conditioner and rinse off really well to remove all residue.
Step
4
Dry carefully
Towel and air dry or use a blow dryer on the lowest possible setting, heat will usually irritate sensitive skin.
Step
5
Groom regularly
Groom daily and use dog wipes between baths to maintain a clean dog, free from debris and dead skin and hair. Use a soft bristled brush.
Recommend grooming method?

The Address Irritation Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Shampoo
Scissors
Towel
Step
1
Remove hair as required
Clip or trim hair away from inflamed or irritated areas if medications need to be applied to these area after bathing. Prepare to treat parasites with appropriate products if present.
Step
2
Use medicated shampoo
Use a soothing commercial dog shampoo or oatmeal-based shampoo to soothe irritation. Use medicated or anti-parasitic shampoo such as chlorhexidine for bacterial infections or flea shampoo for parasites, if required. Use a bathing glove or brush in a circular, gentle motion to stimulate circulation and remove dead hair and skin cells without further irritating skin. Keep shampoo out of the eyes.
Step
3
Rinse
Rinse really well to remove residue. Use lukewarm water for wetting, shampooing, and rinsing.
Step
4
Dry
Towel and air dry. Avoid use of a blow dryer or use one on its lowest setting, as heat makes skin irritations more painful and uncomfortable.
Step
5
Treat as required
Treat any sore areas or inflamed areas after bathing with a drying powder containing antihistamine, aloe vera, witch hazel or appropriate medication for allergic reactions, skin infections or parasites.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Get veterinary advice before bathing to ensure that medical conditions are identified.

  • Use appropriate products and medications to address health conditions.

  • Be gentle and patient to avoid stressing your dog, which can increase allergic reactions.

  • Do not use hot water or heat when drying your dog.

  • Be sure to rinse off all detergent and conditioner

  • Read instructions on all products used to ensure appropriate use.

  • Monitor your sensitive skinned dog for sores, and especially look in skin creases and sensitive areas to address conditions as soon as they appear.

Conclusion

Bathing a dog with sensitive skin can be a bit of a challenge to ensure that irritations are appropriately addressed and not made worse by the drying effects of water and soap. Using the appropriate products, medications, and techniques, will ensure that a dog's sensitive skin is not irritated and that inflammation and conditions are addressed so your dog is more comfortable. Remember to seek medical advice to identify medical conditions that can be treated for dogs with sensitive skin.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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