If there’s one thing that just about every dachshund despises, it’s being wet. And if you have a hard time getting them to even go pee when it’s raining, the thought of getting them into a bathtub can sound all the more daunting. Giving your dachshund a bath, though, is an important part of keeping their coat healthy and shiny.
The frequency with which your pup needs a bath will vary based on their coat type. Longhaired doxies, with their lush coats, need baths the most often and should get a shampoo every week or two. Wirehaireds’ coats are a little more low maintenance, and only need a bath once a month, while smooth dachshunds can go one to two months without needing a wash (assuming they don’t get into any messes, that is!). Regardless of how often you need to give your dachshund a bath, here’s how to make bath time as effortless as possible.
Normalize bath time
The more comfortable your pup is with a bathtime routine, the less likely they are to make a fuss when they need to be washed. In the same way that you can normalize car rides and unfamiliar sounds, you can spend a bit of time getting your dachshund used to the bathtub. Since it’s the water they don’t love, try putting them in the bathtub while it’s empty, rewarding them with praise and treats. Doing this a few times before they actually need a bath can normalize an otherwise unfamiliar location! And while some people like to wash small pups in the sink, this isn’t recommended for dachshunds. Since they don’t tend to like water, there’s a higher risk that they could try to escape the lower walls of a sink, and hurt their (sensitive) backs in the process.
Get your bathtub prepped
Fill the bath with a few inches of lukewarm water — only their paws really need to be covered, and you’ll want to avoid submerging their belly. To prevent your pup from slipping and sliding around, it can help to put a nonstick mat or small towel at the base of the bath to keep them comfortably in place. If you want to keep them occupied, you may be interested in a treat dispensing mat for the bath — it’ll suction to the side of the tub, and you can add a smear of peanut butter for them to lick while you wash them! Have your shampoo, conditioner, and towels in arm’s reach, too, so that you can be as efficient as possible once your doxie is in the tub.
Pick products with care
Just as there are ingredients that you wouldn’t want to use on your skin, there are ingredients that are not kind to your dachshund’s skin or overall health. To avoid irritating your dachshund’s skin or exposing them to toxic ingredients, you should look for products made without SLS, SLES, and parabens. Avoid human shampoos, too, as they’re not designed for your dachshund’s sensitive skin! We’re big fans of Fresh 2-in-1 shampoo bars, which are made with food-grade, natural ingredients and are gentle on your pup’s skin. The fact that it combines shampoo and conditioner is an added bonus, since it allows you to spend less time with your dachshund in the tub.
Give them a good wash
To loosen up any dirt in your pup’s coat so that they’re easy to clean, give them a quick brush before you put them in the tub. If you have a super wiggly dachshund, it can always help to have an extra set of hands to keep your pup still while you wash them. Pour water over their body using a cup or the shower nozzle on its most gentle pressure, and avoid their head and ears — you’ll want to wash these separately! Once their coat is wet, lather them up with shampoo, using your hands or a bath brush to work the product into their coat. Make sure you clean their entire bodies, from their chest and belly to their paws and under their tails. When you rinse them off, you’ll want to be sure you rinse off all the product you used, as remnant shampoo can cause skin sensitivity.
Wash their head and ears separately
Once you’ve finished washing your dachshund’s body, use a damp washcloth to wet their head, ears, and noses. You can add shampoo directly to the washcloth and work it into the fur on their head, and then rinse it off with a clean washcloth. Be careful not to get any water in your doxie’s ears, as this can put them at risk of infection. Just as you would with a baby, keep your pup’s eyes protected from suds!
Make sure they’re warm and dry
Since dachshunds hate being both cold and wet, they’ll require some extra attention after their bath. Let them shake off any excess water, and then give them a thorough dry down with an absorbent towel — microfibers are great for this. If you can get them comfortable with the noise first, using a blow dryer on its lowest setting is a great way to ensure that they’re fully dried off after their bath.
Having lots of treats on hand will make bath time easier, and gives your pup something to look forward to for future baths. You may also notice that your dachshund likes to zoom around the house after a bath, but since they’re nice and clean, there’ll be much less of a mess!