How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?

how often should i bathe my dog

Every so often, you will need to give your dog a bath but there is a fine line between letting the dirt build up and overwashing. Many dog owners are not sure how often they should be looking to bathe their dog and are inadvertently doing this too often. Here are our take on when to bathe your dog, plus some tips on encouraging your pet to enjoy bathtime more.

How Often to Do Bathtime

How often you should bathe your dog will depend a lot on their breed and lifestyle. Dogs that like to spend time outdoors and have a habit of getting mucky while obviously need more frequent bathing than dogs that spend most of their time indoors and are not exposed to as much dirt, for example. This is only part of the picture though, as your dog’s coat can also play a big part in how often they will need bathing.

Long haired breeds will need more regular bathing than their short haired counterparts to stop their coat getting tangled and matted, and to stop their fur from retaining as much dirt. Dogs with coarser coats can get away with being bathed less often for the most part. The main exception to this is light coloured coats, which will usually show up dirt more easily and will need more regular washing to stop them looking discoloured.

Generally speaking, most dogs can be bathed around once a month, assuming that they don’t get excessively dirty in between baths and that you’ve not been advised by your vet to bathe your dog more often than this. Some breeds can go longer than this, especially with regular grooming to loosen dirt and minimise tangles and matting.

While infrequent bathing will allow dirt and oils to build up on your dog’s fur, you may be surprised to know that having baths too often can be just as bad for your pet. The main problem here is that it is likely to strip your dog’s coat of its natural oils.

What Products to Use

Always use a mild shampoo that is specifically designed for dogs. The aim is obviously to make sure that your dog is nice and clean afterwards but at the same time, you don’t want to strip natural oils from their coat and skin or cause skin problems due to your choice of product.

“Human” shampoos shouldn’t cause any harm to your dog but they will often cause irritation, itchiness and other skin problems so it is far better to use a product that has been made with dogs in mind. If your dog’s skin is sensitive, you’ll need to be particularly careful what you use on them. If you’re not sure what type of doggy shampoo to use on your pet, speak to your vet about the options.

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Building a Positive Association with Bath Time

If your dog isn’t keen on having baths, they’re not alone! Bath time can be a negative experience for many dogs but you can change this by helping your pet to build a more positive association with the activity. Using praise and treats throughout can mean that your dog comes to think of bath time as something that leads to pleasant and fun things and over time, they should be less inclined to see it as an experience to dislike or be scared of.

[Photo Credit: simon.morris]