How Often Should You Wash Your Dog
How often should you wash your dog? Bathing a dog too much leads to dryness and skin irritation—but, if you do not bathe your dog enough, your home gains an unsavory, dog smell. There is no hard and fast rule for how often pet owners should wash dogs. There are a number of factors that come into play that influence the need for bathing and grooming. What are some tips and recommendations about how often pet owners should give dogs baths?
Active, outdoor dogs require more baths than house dogs. Obviously, a dog encounters more dirt in an outdoor environment than during time indoors. Active dogs need more bathing. Many groomers suggest bathing active outdoor dogs every six weeks or so—or more often if necessary.
Indoor dogs may only need a few baths per year. The ASPCA recommends bathing dogs every three months. Obviously, when dogs are exceptionally dirty or smelly, the time between baths needs to be shortened.
Certain dog breeds require different bathing schedules. It is recommended that double-coated breeds, such as herding and hunting dogs, only be bathed three times a year to avoid the double coated fur from losing some of it insulation properties. Short haired dogs, with smooth coats, require fewer baths and grooming than long or curly haired dogs.
Wait to bathe puppies. Experts suggest that puppies should not be given a bath until at least five weeks old. Puppy skin is more sensitive and shampooing may cause adverse reactions.
Some dogs have special circumstances and grooming needs. Dogs or puppies with loose skin, such as Shar-Peis, may require cleaning within the folds more frequently than an overall bath to avoid skin infection or excessive dirt buildup. Long-eared dogs require more frequent attention to ear cleaning and grooming than to full body bathing to avoid wax and dirt buildup. Indoor dogs require more nail maintenance than outdoor dogs as well. Dogs with sensitive skin or allergies may require special grooming considerations with prescription strength shampoos or instructions.
While your dog does not require a weekly bath, there may be other grooming activities to attend to throughout the month. Your dog’s natural oils and personal grooming activities may make less work for you—but it is important to pay attention to your individual pet’s needs. Discuss your dog’s individual grooming needs with your veterinarian or groomer if you are uncertain.