How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?
Humans shower or bathe every day and are used to being squeaky clean. Is this safe or even reasonable for our dogs? In short, no. Dogs do not need to bathe as often as humans, and in fact, shouldn’t because being washed too often can dry out their skin. Cleaning is necessary to get rid of excess dirt, help avoid flea problems, and to avoid unpleasant odors.
The frequency of baths can vary due to many reasons. On average, vets and groomers recommend bathing a dog once every two to four weeks. This may seem like a very long gap between baths until you think more about it. After a shower, we are able to moisturize our skin with lotions. Dogs don’t get this option and bathing too much can strip the necessary oils from dogs’ coats, leaving their skin dry and more prone to cracking. This can also lead to dandruff, coarse fur, and bald patches. Smaller dogs and those that do not get dirty very often do not need to be bathed more than normal. Puppies and those with short fur should also not be washed too frequently, especially during the colder month as this can make them more vulnerable to illnesses.
Dogs that spend a great deal of time outside or like mud more than you would prefer will need to be washed more frequently. Certain skin conditions also require medicated shampoos and will come with instructions on how often they need to be used. When bathing dogs, try not to get water near their ears as this can cause ear infections. Most dogs don’t want a stream of water near their eyes and nose. To avoid this discomfort, use a wet washcloth to wipe around the eyes, nose, mouth, and ear areas.
Be aware of the type of shampoo you use on your dog. All shampoos should be pet-friendly and mild. Fancy fragrances and dyes can make your pet uncomfortable or even cause allergic reactions. If your pet already has skin allergies (from the environment to food), check with your vet about soap recommendations. Even if you feel like two to four weeks is too long to go without a bath, make sure not to wash your dog more than once a week.
Written by: Callie T.