bathing frequency

Discussion in 'Bernese Mountain Dog Grooming Forum' started by Nubia's mom, May 26, 2009.

  1. Nubia's mom

    Nubia's mom New Member

    Being a first time berner mom I have a question, how frequently do you bathe a berner???

    Our breeder recomended 4-5 times a year:confused: but that seems like too few baths...

    We live in Athens Greece and it gets pretty nasty and hot in the summer (its only May and its already up in the high 80's and low 90's) so we wet our puppy just using water several times a day and also we brush her every day to relieve her of all the excess fur.

    Oh and she just loves to roll around all day playing in the yard with our Dobbie and then looks like she has the entire back yard stuck to her fur.....

    I would love to bath her 1-2 times a month (if not more) is that too much for her skin???

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  2. hwhite84

    hwhite84 New Member

    If you bathe her too much her skin will dry out. She will get dandruff and even worse, if she stars scratching at it, it may become infected.

    As long as you are brushing frequently, a dog should only need to be bathed a few times per year. Brushing gets out the extra fur and not only will help the dog stay cool but will help the natural oils of the coat to balance out (not sure how to explain it).

    I would say 4-5 times per year is good advice. Just brush any grass off her or get any other debris (dirt, other dog's slobber, anything she may have rolled in ) off with a face cloth and a bit of puppy shampoo.
  3. Nubia's mom

    Nubia's mom New Member

    Thanks for the advice, I was sort of hoping Berners could handle more bathing than other dogs because their fur is like a dirt magnet (well at least puppy fur is). What about just water to cool her off in the heat? Is that ok?
  4. hwhite84

    hwhite84 New Member

    It's more the soap that is used that dries the skin out.... I find that it doesn't matter how mild it is.

    Water is good, but then you will have "wet dog" smell. lol

    A good brushing maybe a couple times/week will keep the coat virtually oil free and therefore free of most odours.

    I was lucky to have our berner at the puppy stage in the winter time... no mud/dirt to play in! lol I know what you mean though, that fur is like wool and it attracts everything.
  5. Nubia's mom

    Nubia's mom New Member

    Nubia is brushed daily. I use the "Furminator" and it works like a dream on her. Our summers are so hot that I want to help her rid of any excess coat she might have so she can keep cool, wetting her down helps her alot too so we are learning to live with her "eau de wet doggie" scent:)

    After she is brushed she looks like the perfect fluff, for about 5 minutes.... then is rolling around with the Dobbie who slobbers all over her and looks like she has never been bathed or brushed in her life... :D I am not complaining, to be honest I get such a kick out of watching them play!
  6. hwhite84

    hwhite84 New Member

    Haha that's so cute....

    Just be careful with the Furminator... it is so sharp, that brushing every day can actually split their hair and eventually make their coat not so nice, and it can also irritate the skin. I would only use furminator once/week.

    I just have a regular comb and rake that I use for Toa. It's gentle but still gets the undercoat nicely. Not saying you have to go buy something else, just follow the instructions on the furminator and don't use it every day....
  7. bernermom

    bernermom Administrator Staff Member

    Oh Yeah! The FURMINATOR !!!! We are big fans too! But we only use it a couple times a year. Just for the BIG sheds. It works fantastic!
  8. Lynn

    Lynn New Member

    Ollie is nearly 3 and has never been bathed, he has a healthy shiny coat and plenty of brushing I use a Les pooch brush it has a pin brush one side a and a demmater the other. Berners have self cleaning coats and should not need to much bathing.

    Be careful with just wetting the top of his coat in the hot weather either soak him completely or put a wet towel or sheet down for him to lie on otherwise just wetting the surface can lead them to burn underneath the fur a bit like sunburn.
  9. Nubia's mom

    Nubia's mom New Member

    Thanks for the advise! I had no idea they could sunburn:eek: When we wet her we do make sure she is soaked all the way through simply to get her as cool as possible but now I will be extra careful. Although she avoids the sun and usually just hangs out on the patio (nice and shady) during the day. Unlike the crazy Dobbie that actually sits and bakes in the sun... I just can figure him out:confused:

    I think the reason she gets so dirty is our climate, Greece is very dry and once spring is gone (which means late April at best) there is a lot of dust in the air since anything that is not someones yard (thus being watered daily) just dries up and turns to brown weeds. There is no moisture in the air to keep dirt and dust on the ground. When we bathed her about 4 weeks ago the water that ran off her was brown!! Kinda gross... Anyway, we will stick to the rules and brush brush brush. Thanks again.
  10. Lynn

    Lynn New Member

    Berners seem to be very intelligent when it comes to the heat Ollie is the same he will stay out of the sun. I think with the only wetting the surface of the coat it attracts the heat especially as they are mostly black and then the sun burns through a bit like watering plants in the full sun, if you soak her completely that is fine she obviously enjoys it.

    I wouldn't think a bath once or twice a year would hurt if you have problems with the dust. breeders bath a lot more too make their dogs look good, but it does wash a lot of the natural oils away and dries the coat.
  11. Lucky-Liz

    Lucky-Liz New Member

    I also do not bathe our dogs. I did when they were puppies and I do make them get into a tub I have outside to wash their paws, but other than that, I brush them with a shedding comb (has 2 lengths of teeth and is made of strong steel) and a brass bristle brush. I paid quite a bit of money for the brush - it is static-free and has never lost a bristle. I do brushing weekly year round and at least every 2nd day during shedding season (which is right now!) Be sure to lift up their ears and comb carefully under there; they get dreadlocks under there very quickly. I even use a very fine tooth comb for that part. Our dogs have gorgeous shiny fur without any dandruff or skin problems and they don't smell a bit doggy. I suppose if they ever rolled in something terrible or met a skunk I might have to bath them, but I'm hoping this never happens!
  12. Gail949

    Gail949 New Member

    If your breeder is telling you to bathe your dog 5-6 times a year, then she must not be a breeder that shows her dogs!

    Some show dogs are out in the ring almost every week, or every other week, and they are probably getting baths weekly or every other week before going into the ring.

    If you use Oatmeal shampoo which is moisturizing and soothing, I doubt you'll dry their coat out. My Berner gets a batch a couple times a month as he too enjoys to roll around in rain and mud and he has a wonderful coat.

    I will say that I brush his coat DAILY and typically that will get a lot of the daily dust off, but if not, into the shower we go! I live in the Chicago, IL area, and during the winter the snow cleans him off naturally, but during the summer, he get a lot more baths.

    Most shampoos these days are not that drying like in the past...just buy a high quality shampoo just like you would buy a good shampoo for yourself. I also do put a conditioner on after the shampoo, and then while blow-drying him, I usually use a spray-on/leave-on conditioner/detangler made by an Australian company. Can't think of the name right now, but there is a kangaroo on the front of the black bottle.

    Best of luck,
    Gail and Finn
  13. Nubia's mom

    Nubia's mom New Member

    Ah our breeder!!! Its an interesting story... We live in Athens Greece and there are NO breeder for Berners here, so we had to look elsewhere. We found our breeder in Italy. They are very nice people with gorgeous dogs but we have one major issue with them... Communication barriers! They do not speak any English and I dont speak any Italian. During the months prior to getting our girl all the communication (email, phone calls) had to be done using translators:D it was so timeconsuming and aggrevating at times. So when I stated that we would not show or breed our pup they recomended how much to bathe but like other questions I have, Iam not sure things are not getting miscommunicated between the "translators"....
  14. hwhite84

    hwhite84 New Member

    You'll just have to do what's best for you... if you bathe her lots and she doesn't dry out then awesome... It's very dry where I live in Northern Canada, so Toa gets very dry... I used to live in Southern Ontario and the humidity was awesome and there was no dry skin!

    I use really good shampoo for Toa and he still dries out if I bathe him too much.

    Give it a try and see how it goes :)
  15. Gail949

    Gail949 New Member

    A Dedicated Berner Search

    Dear Nubia's Mom,

    Love that you are so dedicated to find a Berner you went on an international search!!! Nubia is a lucky puppy!

    I am fortunate to live in a spot were there are quite a few breeders in adjoining states, so I have only had to go up to Wisconsin for my Finnegan and my puppy that I'm getting next week is from Michigan...a little further away, about a 6 hour car drive!

    Best of luck with the bathing! Finn doesn't quite love getting into the shower with me for his baths, but afterward when I am brushing and blow drying his coat, he throughly enjoys the grooming time!

  16. Nubia's mom

    Nubia's mom New Member

    Hello Gail,
    Thank you for your kind words. We tried very hard to find our baby girl, it was not easy as most breeders would not give us a pup to take out of their countries... I actually tried many breeders in the States but they all refused. On the one hand I completely understand but at the same time I was almost in tears eveytime someone turned us down. Even with our Italian breeder it was all uphill... They too were very reluctant to allow one or their pups out of Italy, but I guess we were able to convince them she would be loved and well taken care of in our home.

    Little Nubia (well not so little as far as size:)) is worth it! I have had other breeds in the past but nothing had prepared me for the joy this fur ball has brought us all. Sometimes I think she is too perfect to be real. I watch her sleep and get that warm fuzzy feeling... I think I am hooked for life on Berners!

    Have a wondeful day

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