When Speedy gave Penny her bath yesterday afternoon, she was so well behaved that I grabbed my camera and started taking photos. A few weeks ago, that wouldn’t have been possible as she thrashed around and splashed too much water everywhere. She’s so used to having her bath by now and, if I am reading her body language correctly, she looks forward to it. Summer in the tropics is no joke.
Of course, I was going to post the photos on my blog and I wanted some useful information to go with it. I Googled “how often beagle bath” and, on the first page of the results, I found a supposedly “authoritative” website that says beagles don’t need to be bathed very often and twice a year was sufficient. Another website says every three weeks. A third recommends bathing a beagle monthly.
I could only shake my head at the cruelty of ignorance. Being an authoritative website has nothing to do with having the “right” domain name. The writers of those three websites don’t even seem to be aware that there are beagles all over the world and climates vary from extremely cold to hot and humid. Only one among the many websites I checked out mentioned climate at all. It says, “Frequency of baths will greatly be determined by how much time your beagle stays outside and the climate.”
On the day we brought Penny home, my cousin prepared a list to guide us with feeding, vet visits and general care. Since “bathing” was not included in her guidelines, I had to ask. Once a week, she said, should be sufficient.
A few weeks later, the worst of the summer season (or so we thought) was upon us. I observed how Penny looked wan around lunch time until late in the afternoon. I texted my cousin and told her that I was anxious because Penny didn’t look like she was taking the terrible heat very well. Could I bathe her more often than once a week? Yes, my cousin said, twice a week would be okay. Her beagles, she shared, weren’t taking the summer heat well either and there was an electric fan dedicated for their use. So, from once a week, we started bathing Penny twice a week.
Another two weeks and just when we thought that the worst of the summer heat was over, it got even worse with the heat index hovering between 39C to 40C. Penny’s vet said it would be quite alright to bathe her every other day. The heat has been that bad.
But we haven’t been bathing Penny every other day. It has still been twice a week — thrice if the heat is a real killer. But it’s good to know that it won’t hurt her to be in the water more often especially since she’s learned to love the after-shower feeling. She gets extra playful after a bath which I interpret as her body feeling relief from the heat.