Maintaining your dog’s coat is important to their overall health and well-being. Regular baths reduce dirt and debris picked up from the outdoors and can help prevent skin conditions caused by clogged pores and overly dry or oily skin.
When it comes to keeping your furry friend clean and healthy, bathing your dog is not one-size-fits-all.
Depending on your pup’s breed, coat, and lifestyle, you may be washing your dog once a week, once every other month, or somewhere in between.
How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?
There are a few main factors that can help dog owners understand the best frequency for washing their dog:
Your pup's coat is an important consideration when determining how often you should bathe your dog. This varies widely by breed, as some have naturally oilier coats that require more frequent washing, while others have thick coats that shed naturally and need less time in the tub.
Owners of hairless dogs like the Chinese Crested might think they have it easy when it comes to grooming, but hair length doesn’t necessarily determine bathing frequency. In fact, these dogs require weekly baths, according to the AKC.
The following are the recommended bathing schedules based on coat length:
- Short-haired coats: Baths every 4-8 weeks. Short-haired dogs are less likely to get matted fur, so they can go a little bit longer between baths. Breed examples: dachshund, basset hound, greyhound
- Medium- to long-haired coats: Baths every 4-6 weeks, ensuring that the coat is maintained and brushed in between. Breed examples: maltese, Yorkshire terrier, collie
- Thick or double coats: Baths every 6 weeks, using shedding-specific products and brushing frequently in between baths. Bathing these breeds too much will result in a loss of natural oils and can dry out the skin. Breed examples: golden retriever, Siberian husky, labrador retriever
Keep in mind that even though your dog may be considered short- or long-haired, there are often differences among breeds with the same type of coat, so it’s best to speak with your vet or groomer to advise about the appropriate frequency.
Naturally, dogs that partake in more outdoor activities will need more frequent baths. With short-haired dogs, sometimes you can get away with rubbing them down with a damp washcloth after outdoor playtime. But for dogs that herd sheep, swim, or accompany their pet parents on hikes, bath time should be more frequent.
Let’s just say this: If you can’t give your furry friend a hug without wincing or plugging your nose, it’s time for a bath.
Allergies and Skin Conditions
Some dogs, regardless of breed, suffer from certain allergies or medical conditions that cause their skin to be more sensitive. For pet parents of these dogs, it’s important to work with your veterinarian to understand the best products to use and how often to bathe your pooch.
Some dogs also suffer from seasonal allergies and are more prone to dry or itchy skin during the winter months. This may require an increase in the frequency of baths to keep them comfortable.
Dog Bathing Tips
Once you’re comfortable and know how often you should wash your dog, keep these dog bathing tips in mind:
- Get the right supplies. Make sure you have a dog brush, coat- and breed-appropriate shampoo, a non-slip mat, towel, blow dryer, and an attachment sprayer to avoid getting water and soap in their eyes and ears.
- Give their fur a brush before the bath. This will help get out any tough tangles and remove excess fur.
- Go beyond the surface when you shampoo. Use your fingers or a rubber brush to penetrate to the skin and make sure you get through any thick fur.
- Wash their face with a damp washcloth. Avoid getting soap and water in their eyes, nose, and ears by washing areas around the face with a damp washcloth.
- Don’t forget their paws, armpits, and tail. Make sure you wash everything — these spots are easy to miss.
- Rinse completely. Ensure you’ve gotten all soap and shampoo out of their fur and off their skin, as any leftover residue can cause irritation.
- Towel-dry their face and body first. Use a towel to dry your dog’s face and body first to let the fur air dry as much as possible before using a blow dryer. If you choose to follow with a blow dryer, make sure it’s not too hot and work in small sections.
Keep Your Dog’s Skin and Coat Healthy
To ensure your pooch’s skin and coat is healthy for years to come, owners can supplement their normal washing routine with a daily multivitamin or supplement rich in omega fatty acids.
In addition to a strong, shiny coat, your pup will reap the benefits of other ingredients in these supplement chews that help with joint health, brain health, and immune system support.