Pet owners know that it is a great responsibility to take care of a pet. Certainly it is a highly rewarding experience, as you get to share your life with a creature who will be only too happy to shower you with unconditional love. But certainly they deserve the best care possible, especially since they lack the ability to provide it for themselves.
An important part of proper pet care for some cats and all dogs is regular bathing. Most cats who keep up with their self-grooming habits do not also require baths, except in unusual situations where they have become excessively dirty. However, some cats–especially those with very long, thick coats–are not able to adequately clean themselves, and therefore need regular bathing. Since dogs do not participate in self-grooming (or at least not to the extent necessary to truly become clean) they need regular baths.
The frequency with which you bathe your pet depends upon many different factors, not the least of which is their coat length and thickness. In most cases a bath every three months is sufficient. These baths can be performed at home or at a groomer’s office, and are intended to clean debris, dirt and excess oil from your pet’s coat.
Where a pet is suffering from irritated skin, traditional baths can further irritate the skin and so a medicated bath is more appropriate. While it is possible to perform a medicated bath at home it is best performed at your veterinarian’s office so that the exact medicated soap and techniques necessary to achieve the most beneficial results are used. This is especially true if your pet is exceedingly intolerant of baths, as this may indicate that they are suffering from a health condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated.
Handling Irritated Skin
Pets can experience many of the same types of skin irritations as humans, including itchy, dry, irritated or infected skin. Flea and tick prevention or resolution is normally one of the key reasons for giving a pet a medicated bath. Some of the other skin conditions that can be addressed with medicated baths include:
- Bacterial or yeast overgrowths that result in itchy, flaky, crusty skin or skin with scabs and foul odors.
- Bacterial infections.
- Excessive oiliness.
- Skin allergies characterized by itchy or flaky skin.
If your pet suffers from any of these issues, you may have already attempted to resolve it on your own, perhaps through the use of mild medicated or oatmeal shampoos available from your preferred pet store. Some minor skin irritations can be temporarily resolved through the use of these products, but unfortunately there is also the chance that a pet’s skin irritations can be aggravated through the use of these products. This is why it is advisable to have your pet receive a medicated bath at your veterinarian’s office.
Once your pet’s coat is wet, the medicated soap will be massaged into their skin and then allowed to sit for a few minutes in order to soothe irritation and address any infection. Following a medicated bath, your veterinarian may determine whether oral medications are appropriate, or whether further topical therapy is necessary.
A pet’s skin normally experiences increased redness immediately after a medicated bath. This is because stimulation of the skin has caused an increase in circulation, and it is not something to worry about. That said, your veterinarian will ask you to keep an eye on your pet’s skin for the days following their medicated bath, and note whether it appears to be improving or worsening. This includes noting the color and the temperature of the skin, as well as discharge and any pain level your pet is experiencing. In most cases, a pet’s irritated skin will begin to heal within a few weeks of receiving a medicated bath. Rarely, a pet will experience complications that need to be immediately checked by your veterinarian. Symptoms of these complications include:
- Increased skin discharge.
- Increased redness.
- Increased swelling.
- Increased heat.
- Increased pain.
- Spread of irritation to a greater area.
Depending upon your pet’s specific situation and condition, your veterinarian may recommend that they receive additional medicated baths. There are some serious skin conditions that may take longer to heal, and may even require additional treatment and medication.
For more information about medicated baths, contact us today.