How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?
Do you really need to give your dog a bath every week?
You love your canine companion and want to ensure they are happy and healthy. Many parts of dog ownership are reasonably straightforward, but other aspects can cause uncertainty. An example is knowing how often you should bathe your dog.
Regular baths can help ensure your dog stays clean and even keep some of their shedding under control. However, too many baths could lead to issues as your dog’s natural oils that protect their skin are repeatedly washed away.
Luckily, there are general guidelines you can follow to ensure your furry friend stays clean without overdrying their sensitive skin. If you’re wondering how often you should bathe your dog, keep reading to find the answer.
How often Should I Bathe My Dog?
It may come as a surprise to learn, but as long as your dog isn’t partaking in activities that cause them to become dirty, they only require a bath every two to three months. Of course, every dog is different, and some factors will determine the exact amount of time you can go in between baths. Let’s take a closer look at these factors so you can better understand your dog’s specific bathing needs.
Skin Or Coat Type
Your dog’s coat and skin greatly determine its bathing needs. According to the American Kennel Club, dogs with curly or long hair naturally require grooming and bathing at shorter intervals to guard against matting. To help keep their skin and coat clean and free irritation-free, you should bathe your dog at least once every four to eight weeks, with daily brushing in between.
This routine helps to keep their coat tangle free. It also removes dirt and irritants that can get stuck against the skin, causing excessive scratching, chewing, or biting at the area. Shorter-haired breeds like Jack Russel Terriers can go longer between baths as long as their skin and coat are healthy.
For hairless breeds, weekly bathing is essential. Hairless breeds are missing out on the protection a coat provides and are at a higher risk of developing painful skin conditions. Dogs with oily skin, like Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels, also might need weekly bathing and daily brushing to remove excess oil from sitting against their skin.
Skin Issues Or Allergies
Unfortunately, skin issues and allergies are common with many breeds, requiring a regular bathing schedule utilizing a medicated shampoo. This shampoo and the directions for how often to use it should be given by your veterinarian, with routine follow-up appointments to monitor its effectiveness.
Some minor cases of itching and skin irritation can be cleared up with regular baths. Colloidal oatmeal soap can help soothe redness and irritation, providing much-appreciated relief to your furry friend.
Tick Or Flea Infestations
If your dog suffers from a flea infestation and hasn’t responded well to topical or oral treatments, you may find bathing them with a flea and tick shampoo helpful in combating the problem. While most dogs only need one or two treatments, some might require a few more baths.
If you find they still suffer from fleas, it’s best to continue bathing them regularly with this shampoo until the problem is resolved. Likewise, with ticks, for those living in tick-prone regions, your dog may benefit from a bath with an anti-parasitical shampoo before entering any wooded or tick-infested areas.
A Highly Active Lifestyle
If your dog is a homebody and doesn’t spend much time outdoors, you will not need to bathe them as often. However, regular shampooing may be necessary if your pooch lives a highly active lifestyle.
Dogs that spend time playing in the dirt, swimming in a lake or at the beach, hiking, running, or other sweat and dirt-producing activities require regular baths to ensure their coats and skin stays clean. While your pup may not mind tracking mud throughout your home, chances are you won’t want to share a couch or bed with a smelly companion!
Your Comfort And Health
It comes as no surprise that many dog owners are actually allergic to their canine friends, with over ten million people reporting an allergy to their pets. If you count yourself as one of these pet owners, you may find that frequent baths can help alleviate symptoms by reducing the amount of dander your dog gives off. Additionally, a clean dog will help keep your home smelling fresher for longer, especially for dogs who are allowed to sit on the furniture.
How Do I Know If I’m Bathing My Dog Too Often?
While it’s essential to keep your dog’s coat and skin clean, bathing too often can actually be harmful to your dog. For dogs who need to be bathed more than once every two to three months, use a highly moisturizing shampoo and conditioner free from unnecessary chemical additives.
The shampoo you use can strip your dog of its natural oils, a necessity for maintaining healthy skin and coat. Without this soothing oil, your dog could develop a dull, dry coat and skin irritation. Condition your dog’s coat after shampooing to help lock in moisture and keep their coat soft and shiny. If you’re still unsure of the best bathing routine for your dog, reach out to your groomer or veterinarian for their suggestion.
Understanding your dog’s breed, coat, and lifestyle can help you determine the appropriate length of time to go between bathings. While many factors contribute to how often they require a bath, you should generally shampoo your pup once every two to three months.
Your Dog’s Health
Your dog’s health is your number one priority, which means it’s our top priority too. At Westmonte Animal Clinic, we aim to give you and your pet many happy and healthy years together. Besides regular baths, annual pet wellness exams are vital to ensuring your dog leads a long life.