How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog? Most dog owners know when their dog smells if they don’t bathe them, but they aren’t sure how often they need a bath.
There are no strict rules for bathing your dog, but frequency will depend on many factors such as breed, coat type, length, activity level, time of year, and skin condition.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO BATHE AND GROOM YOUR DOG?
The skin serves to protect your dog from external agents. Keeping the skin and coat clean and tangle-free ensures this barrier remains intact and strong.
All dogs need regular grooming, including trimming their toenails, brushing their fur, using tools to remove hair from dogs with thicker fur, and cleaning their ears and skin folds.
Brushing is also part of general grooming. Regular brushing removes dead hair, skin cells, and dirt, distributing natural oils to moisturize the coat.
It also prevents long fur from becoming tangled, which leads to skin ulcerations and bruising.
Some dogs will need more frequent grooming than others.
Bathing your dog too often can lead to dry coat and skin problems, while fewer baths can lead to health problems and a stinky puppy.
The average can range from bathing your dog once a week to just a few times a year.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU BATHE YOUR DOG?
How often you should bathe your dog depends on the individual characteristics of each dog. Most healthy dogs need a bath every one to three months to minimize odor and oil buildup, but this can vary depending on the following factors:
- Some dog breeds, such as Bulldogs and Pugs, develop a strong smell.
- Dogs with oily coats as retrievers may need a bath every few weeks to reduce odor and will benefit from daily brushing to remove hair and distribute oils.
- Dogs with thick, double coats, such as Siberian Huskies or Chow Chows, shed constantly, which means they need a bath every two to three months. Daily brushing is essential.
- Short-haired, or wiry-coated dogs such as Pitbulls, Weimaraners, or terriers require relatively low maintenance – a few baths a year are sufficient.
- Dogs with soft, curly coats and non-shedding dogs such as poodles, bichons, shih tzus, or Yorkshire terriers accumulate dirt faster and need a monthly bath.
Dogs that spend time outdoors need a good brushing and bath whenever they become visibly dirty, once a week or more.
Dog breeds prone to allergies, skin infections, and excessively oily or dry skin need baths one to three times a week.
Please note that medicated shampoos may be necessary to treat some skin conditions, and these dogs may need more or less frequent baths than general breed recommendations.
TIME OF THE YEAR
- The time of year will affect how often you need to bathe your dog and what products you should use.
- During the warm, humid months of the year, many dogs are prone to greasy coats and dog odor. Skin allergies will also be more visible, with scratches and sores developing.
- Parasites such as fleas and ticks are more common during hot weather and irritate the skin. Dogs need more frequent baths with medicated products.
- Dogs that swim in the warmer months may not need as many baths, but they will need a good boost of clean water after swimming.
- During the winter, dogs are generally not as dirty but might have dry skin, which can cause itching and irritation, so a moisturizing shampoo is necessary. The level of bathing will depend on how much dirt and grime your dog has.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT SHAMPOO FOR MY DOG?
Your furry friend’s skin needs a shampoo designed specifically for dogs.
- Choose a hydrating oatmeal or aloe shampoo for dogs with normal to dry skin. Dogs with excess oil or skin conditions may need a medicated shampoo prescribed by a veterinarian.
- Short-haired coats need an air-drier after bathing, but longer or denser coats should be blow-dried after conditioning and rinsing to prevent moisture from becoming trapped in the skin.
- Dogs with long or fluffy coats often need a dog-specific conditioner after shampooing to help keep the coat moisturized and tangle-free after removing dirt and oil.
WHEN SHOULD I TAKE MY DOG TO THE GROOMER?
- You may choose to consult a groomer instead of performing the task yourself for these reasons:
- Your dog has a continually growing, non-shedding coat that needs regular trimming all over its body.
- Your dog is big or disobedient.
- You don’t have the time, energy, or space to bathe your dog at home.
- Your dog has extremely thick fur or sheds a lot.
- You want professional recommendations or help determining your dog’s coat type and grooming needs.
DOG BATH PRODUCTS YOU SHOULD HAVE ON HAND
Before stocking up on bath supplies, talk to your vet to get the right product for your dog.
Some great products to have on hand include:
- Nail clipper
- Ear cleaner (ask your vet if your dog needs a prescription cleaner)
- Soft brush for your dog’s coat
- Undercoat hair removal tool
- Fluffy towels to dry off
- Hair dryer
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Waterless shampoos for cleaning between baths