Giving my dog a bath was never one of my favorite duties, but I know that it has to be done from time to time.

I asked my veterinarian how often he bathes his dogs, and the answer was, "Twice a year. Whether they need it or not." I still can't get him to tell me if he was joking or not.

According to the Central California Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a once-a-month schedule should be good for the average dog. If the dog gets extra dirty or smelly, of course, you should bathe as needed, but not to the point of it being unhealthy for your pet.

Too much bathing can lead to dry skin and, if you aren't aware, dry skin can make a dog's skin itch, leading them to scratch. When we see our dogs scratching, what do we think? Fleas! And what do we do when we think they have fleas? Give them another bath.

Can you see the nasty cycle this could create? That's why it's a good idea to keep your dog (and cat) on a parasite preventative.

Now, with all that being said, here are a few handy tips that will help bathing a dog be a little more pleasant (if one can derive any semblance of pleasure from said chore).

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

Even with all of these resources, however, the best cure for food poisoning is preventing it in the first place. To give you an idea of what human foods can be dangerous, Stacker has put together a slideshow of 30 common foods to avoid. Take a look to see if there are any that surprise you.

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