How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?

When your dog comes inside covered in mud and dirt, you know it’s time to give him a bath. But otherwise, how often should your pet receive the spa treatment?

Studies show that 56% of dog owners do not bathe their pet enough. This can be a big problem, because bacteria, fungi, feces, dead skill cells, and other unpleasant things can live in their fur. Without the occasional scrub down, your dog can be exposed to parasites, infections, skin sores, and more.

On the other hand, you could also be jeopardizing the health of your pet if you wash him too often. Over-bathing can irritate the skin, damage hair follicles, and strip the fur of protective oils. 

So, how often is just often enough?

The short answer is that it depends. Many factors influence your pet’s hygiene. The rule of thumb, however, is that dogs should be bathed about once every other month. If they get smelly before this mark, give them a bath anyway. 

Read on for more specific answers regarding how often you should bathe your dog. 

Your Dog’s Coat Type

Unsurprisingly, the type of coat your dog grows will affect how often he needs to be bathed. 

Pups with long, fluffy, and thick hair will need a thorough cleaning more often because their coat can trap more grime. Breeds like Maltese, Huskies, and Retrievers should be bathed about once a month. Brushing through their coat between baths will keep them cleaner for longer. 

Dogs with short or thin hair can avoid the monthly bath altogether, and instead be wiped down with a wet cloth to remove dirt. A full bath will only be required a few times a year.

Based on this logic, you might assume that hairless dogs don’t need to be groomed at all. However, these dogs actually need more care to keep their exposed skin healthy. Breeds like the Chinese Crested and the Xoloitzcuintli may require weekly baths with special, gentle soaps. 

Your Dog’s Lifestyle

If your dog is a bit of a couch potato, you shouldn’t have to worry about cleaning him as often. Dogs naturally groom themselves, and if they are particularly tidy, you will only need to supplement with baths a couple times a year. 

Of course, if your dog is more adventurous, or he spends the majority of his time outside, bathing frequency should be increased. 

Your Dog’s Skin Health

If your dog has sensitive skin or an allergy, you may need to bathe him once or twice a week with special medicated shampoo. This will prevent bacteria from building up and causing irritation. Talk to your vet for more specific instructions.

Only Prescription, Detergent-Free shampoo is appropriate for bathing more than once per month. Bathing more frequently with the wrong shampoo can actually make your dog’s skin condition worse!

What if you’re the one with allergies? If your dog makes you sneeze and itch, you’re likely reacting to the dander that is released from their skin and fur. A weekly bath can send this dander down the drain and make you more comfortable. 

Ask your vet for a gentle shampoo that won’t strip the skin of the healthy oils it needs. Allergy-friendly shampoo is also available over the counter. 

Professional Dog Grooming in Frederick, MD

Here at Old Farm Veterinary Hospital, we know that bathing your dog at home can be a messy and frustrating chore. Let our professional grooming services help!

We provide bathing, brushing, coat shaping, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and more, all while keeping your pet calm and happy during the process. Schedule an appointment today!