How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?

Dog jumping into water for a bath

There are a number of dependencies that are going to have a bearing on the answer to this question. Key factors are your dog’s breed, their lifestyle, whether they have any health issues, and where they enjoy their favorite activities. 

Your dog’s age may be a determining factor too. Senior dogs may not, for example, want to go outside and roll in the mud as they did when they were a puppy. 

So, how often is too often and how little is too little when it comes to bathing your dog? Read on the find out.

What’s Your Dog’s Coat Type?

Different breeds of dogs tend to have different kinds of coats. What type of coat your dog has is possibly going to be the biggest determining factor related to bath frequency. It’s not, however, quite as straightforward as assuming, the shorter their hair, the less you’ll need to bathe your pet. 

Certain hairless breeds, like the Xoloitzcuintli and the Chinese Crested, need lots of care. They can sometimes need some form of bath once per week – although check with your vet.

Long-coated breeds, like the Collie and the Maltese, require more work. That typically also includes a higher frequency of baths. Those dogs that have medium-to-long coats, may need a bath weekly or less frequently if owners manage and groom the coat properly in between baths.

There are exceptions. Long-haired Pulis, for example, don’t need as many baths when corded. They don’t tend to get that typical doggie smell either and so don’t normally need as many baths as the majority of other long-haired breeds.

The thick or double coats of breeds like Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, insulate them on a seasonal basis. If you bathe them too often, you risk removing oil from the skin and diminishing the purpose of the coats. 

Does Your Dog Have a Health Condition?

Should your pet have a particular health issue, your vet may recommend using a medicated shampoo when bathing your dog. If baths are going to be a part of a dog’s medical treatment plan, your vet should explain to you how often to bathe your dog and what types of products to use.

A grooming regime using products such as brushes and de-shedding tools will help keep them in better health. All pets should have a monthly ear cleaning and nail trim. Coat-brushing and combing are as important for a pet’s health as bathtime. 

There’s the added bonus as well to those who suffer allergies to pet hair. If you can get rid of dead or loose hair through grooming and bathing then it may help to manage a bad reaction to dogs and their coats.

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What’s Your Dog’s Lifestyle?

A dog’s active lifestyle may be simpler to manage when you have a short-coated breed of pet. Maintaining their cleanliness between baths normally means less effort. You might be able to simply give a short-haired dog a rub down with a damp towel, for example. 

Dogs that enjoy playing in rivers and the sea or who like hunting in muddy terrain are going to need more frequent baths than dogs that prefer to stay indoors. That’s regardless of the breed.

The Importance of a Consistent Bathing Routine

Bathing is an opportunity to get your pet’s coat clean, get rid of dead hair and excess oil, and keep your dog free of unpleasant odors. However, it has other functions too. It’s great for building a bond of trust between a dog and their owner.

It’s also an opportunity for an owner to look for signs and symptoms that might mean your dog has a health problem. When bathing a dog, you should check for lumps and bumps, redness around the ears and eyes and, if possible, check the color of the gums as well. You should also check for any signs of ticks or fleas.

What Kinds of Products and Tools Should I Use?

If you’re new to bathing your dog, you should prepare well to mitigate any chance of nervousness in your dog. You can use treats to get your pet used to the bathtub, for example. Some people also swear by placing a little peanut butter inside the tub so that a dog gets distracted as they lick the treat up.

Gather together all the essentials. These include:

  • A gentle conditioning shampoo, formulated for dogs
  • Plenty of dry towels
  • A favorite toy
  • Brushes and de-shedding tools
  • A container to pick up water for rinsing

There is a wide range of shampoo and conditioning products out there. Always use ones made specifically for dogs. Check with your vet for recommendations.

How to Make Bathtime Easier

You can help both yourself and your dog to make bathtime more pleasurable by following a few useful suggestions:

  • Go for lukewarm water that you might use for a baby’s bath
  • Ensure that the spray for any shower attachment is not too harsh
  • Choose the right shampoo – one that does not sting the eyes
  • Wash the face, ears, and eyes separately after the main bath
  • Massage shampoos well into the coat
  • Make sure to wash the shampoo completely out of the coat
  • Brush and groom your pet before and after each bath
  • Spend time drying off your dog completely after a bath

Dogs will naturally self-groom. Although there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, “How often should I bathe your dog”, on average you won’t need to bathe your dog more than once a month. 

As we have discussed there are plenty of dependencies so once a month may be too often or too little for your dog’s personal circumstances. Bear in mind, however, that bathing a dog too often can strip away the natural oils in your pet’s coat and that can result in skin irritation. 

It’s Always a Good Time to Contact a Vet

We know that understanding how often to bathe a dog can be confusing to owners because of the plethora of dependencies. It’s a good idea to talk through any questions you may have with a vet about bathing a dog.
We have a team of expert vets on hand to talk you through all aspects of dog bathing and dog grooming. Book a timeslot today with one of the team today!

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