How often to bathe a dog really depends on factors like breed type, activity level and coat quality, to name a few. Let’s learn more here.
First off, why should you bathe a dog?
The most important reason to bathe your dog is for his health. Without a bath, your dog’s skin could get irritated and infected and his coat could get matted and hard to manage. It’s also important that your dog gets bathed regularly to ensure that he can live healthfully alongside your family in your home (and as a cuddle buddy!).
How often to bathe a dog
How often you should wash your dog depends on his breed, coat quality, skin needs and activity level. So, how often should you bathe your dog?
- When he smells. It’s an easy rule of thumb. If your dog smells bad, beyond just normal dog smell, it’s time for a bath!
- Consult the professionals. Talk to a professional groomer. She has the knowledge and experience with different breeds and pups that she can help you understand what schedule will be best for your dog’s health.
- Medical reasons. If your dog has skin issues, he may be prescribed medicinal shampoo. Tucker used this for a couple of years and it was an amazing solution for his itchy skin. Follow your vet’s directions when using medical shampoo. It will usually require washing more frequently than you are used to and spending more time with a wet, soapy dog as the medicine works its magic!
- Pay attention to your dog’s skin. If your dog’s skin gets dry and flaky, you are most likely bathing too often and stripping out important oils from his coat.
Double-coated breeds. Pups with double coats like Samoyeds, Alaskan Malamutes and Chow Chows, will most likely need less frequent bathing but more brushing to keep their coats healthy and clean.
- Oily-coated breeds. Basset Hounds, for example, tend to have oily coats. These pups may require bathing as frequently as once a week.
Short-haired dogs and dogs with water repellant coats. Weimaraners and Dalmatians tend to need very few baths as they can regulate their natural oils without much help.
What you’ll need to wash your dog
Choose a dog shampoo that fits your dog’s coat quality and the frequency with which you need to wash him. Diluting the shampoo with water up to 1:8 will allow you to easily cover your dog in suds without over-using the product.
A good way to know that the products in your dog’s shampoo are gentle and safe is to make the dog shampoo yourself at home. Here are a few homemade dog shampoo recipes to try.
Do not use human shampoos for adults or babies on your dog. They are most likely going to be too harsh and harm your dog’s skin.
Lukewarm water. You don’t like a cold shower, so why would your dog?
Brush. Comb your dog pre-bath to help shed any dead hair. Comb your dog again after your dog’s coat is dry to keep your dog’s coat free of mats and to help spread out your dog’s natural oils.
Dry carefully. Do not use a hairdryer on your dog. It is most likely too hot, and the harshness will dry his skin out. Pat your dog with towels and air dry, or use a dryer specifically designed for dogs.
Wet alternatives. Try using dry shampoo and/or dog wipes (use wipes made specifically for dogs — not wipes made for humans or babies, as they have ingredients that may be harmful to dogs in them) to keep your dog dirt and mud free in between baths.
Patience and love. Some dogs don’t like baths, With love and patience, you can make the experience less scary and even enjoyable to them.