Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Low maintenance pups

OK, I'm going to admit this right up front ... our pups haven't had a bath since August 2004.

Before we bought Pup1 eight years ago, I bought a little "how to" book about chihuahuas. One of the pieces of advice was "chihuahuas only need to be bathed about every 6 months." Having grown up with a golden retriever, I thought "yea, right, no dog of mine is going 6 months without a bath." So, I dutifully bathed her anytime I felt like it, which was a lot. She loved it - that warm water pouring over her, then being carried around by Mommy for the next hour or so swaddled in hot towels that I had warmed in the oven. If the towels started to cool down, I took fresh ones out of the oven. Yes, baths were good for Pup1!

A few years later, Pup2 came along. We bought her while we were in Florida and so her little "puppy physical" was done by a new vet - a wonderful vet who leaned toward a holistic approach ... the first vet we'd ever been to that talked to us about nutrition and who recommended books and who recommended a raw meat diet with whole grains & fresh veggies and using garlic and cider vinegar in their food instead of Frontline to deter tics & fleas.

So, what does this have to do with baths? I'm getting there ... well, we took the vet's suggestions, all of them, and quit using Frontline and started adding apple cider vinegar and garlic to their food. No fleas...ever! That is, until we bathed them. It seemed that whenever we bathed them, they would end up with a flea or two the very next time they went outside. And a single flea was enough to drive Pup1 absolutely nuts. Were the baths washing away the natural protection that they seemed to be getting from the garlic & vinegar??? That was the conclusion that I came to, so I quit bathing them. It's been over 2 years and there have been exactly zero fleas.

Pup1 probably misses her luxurious "spa days", but Pup2 never liked baths anyway. Any process that takes more than 90 seconds bores her and she gets agitated. So instead of a sink full of bubbles and oven heated towels, it was a cursory scrub & spray, then running around the house at full speed (her, not me) until she was dry.

So how do I keep them from smelling like dogs? Well, they're not exactly big roll-in-the-dirt dogs, so it's not that hard. They love fleece blankets and sleep on them and under them summer & winter. As long as I keep the blankets washed using heavily scented detergent (I like Gain) and fabric softener (April fresh Downy), our pups smell just like fresh laundry all the time. And it doesn't hurt that their favorite place is in a basket of "fresh from the dryer" laundry.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...


My dog does NOT smell like fresh laundry, but then she checks out the yard every day looking for a new stink to roll in!

Laura said...

There's me thinking you got the dogs straight from the machine, in the last photo.