How Often Do Dogs Need to Bathe?

If your dog were to write a list of the top 3 things he would rather avoid, a bath will probably end up at the top. This is definitely one of the things that no one tells you that is troublesome before you buy a dog. Bathing your dog tends to be messy and time-consuming and is not very fun for any of those involved. Because of this, it is reasonable to ask the question “how often do I have to bathe my dog?”.

As with much else, the answer is “it depends”.

“Dogs wash themselves to accelerate the growth of hair follicles and to maintain the health of the skin,” says Dr. Adam Denish (Rhawnhurst Animal Hospital in Ekins Park, Pennsylvania, USA). “Bathing your dog is a complement to the dog’s own washing. However, it can be too stressful for the dog to bathe too often. It can irritate the skin, damage the coat and increase the risk of fungal infections ”.

Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Coates adds that “the optimal bathing frequency depends on the reason why the dog needs to be bathed. Healthy dogs who spend most of their time indoors need to bathe a couple of times a year to maintain basic hygiene. However, if your dog suffers from a specific skin disease, for example, it can be extremely important that it is bathed often ”.

Regardless of whether your dog voluntarily signs up for a shower, or if he does everything he can to avoid it, here is a list of a few things you can think of to facilitate the washing time.

How Often Should the Dog Bathe?

How often you bathe your dog depends on several different things; the dog’s health, breed, coat, activity level, and where these activities are performed. Dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors and roll around in things they might not need to roll around in need to be bathed much more often than dogs that mostly lie on the couch. A simple trick: use your nose to determine if it’s time for a bath.

“If you can smell your dog entering a room, then it’s time for a bath,” says Mari Rozanski, owner of Plush Pups Boutique in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, USA. She goes on to point out that “if your dog is covered in dirt or dried mud, the best option is often to try to brush the dog thoroughly (preferably outdoors!) And then give it a bath”.

It can be a good idea to wash the body first and the head last, as dogs tend to shake when their heads get wet. Even if a shampoo markets itself as “tear-free”, you should avoid the dog getting it in your eyes. Instead, wash around the eyes and rinse immediately.

Dr. Jennifer Coates adds that if it is the case that the dog only needs to due to a medical condition, your veterinarian will give you advice on how often this should be done, as well as what products you can use.

When You Should Call Your Veterinarian

Mari Rozanski has taken care of and bathed dogs of all colors and shapes: everything from chihuahuas to grand danois. She has followed all trends in dog washing and points out that it is not just about “foaming, rinsing and rehearsing”. “Bathing a dog is not as easy as it seems. There are so many types of dogs and furs and they all need to be treated in their own way, with regards to everything from texture to length. If you wash your dog at a dog salon, those who work there know what to think about, but if you bathe the dog at home, you may not be aware of what to watch out for ”.

Take, for example, a Shetland sheepdog. It has double layers of fur with thick, falling hair. This breed needs to be thoroughly rinsed with plenty of water and needs to be brushed thoroughly before, during, and after the bath. It also needs a special conditioner that must then be rinsed out thoroughly, as well as a subsequent blow-dry.

If you do not have the time or space to bathe your dog at home, go to a dog salon.

Finding the Right Products

There are some obvious differences between human and dog skin types, but a less obvious one is the skin’s pH value. This is, without a doubt, the most important component when choosing the right products for your dog. “Human skin is very acidic, with a pH below 5 in many cases,” points out Coates. “On the other hand, dogs’ pH value is closer to 7, which means that their skin is fairly neutral – neither particularly acidic nor alkaline.” Because of this, products that are for humans can be extremely irritating to your dog’s skin. Coates recommends dog shampoos that are mild and moisturizing.

According to Adam Denish, dogs can react to shampoos and other products even if they are for dogs. “I have seen several animals that reacted to shampoo, soap, and conditioner – even though they were for the dog’s skin type. Such allergic reactions are often due to something in the product that the dog’s skin does not tolerate, or that the dog has ingested some of the product ”.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction include red irritated skin and hives. If the dog ingests shampoo, it may show symptoms such as vomiting, drooling, and decreased appetite. If you notice any of these symptoms, Denish recommends rinsing the dog with warm water only and then contact your veterinarian.

If you are unsure which shampoo is right for your dog – talk to your veterinarian. He knows your dog and keeps track of his medical history and can often decide which product is best for you. This is especially important if your dog is suffering from a skin condition.

“I divide shampoo into two groups: beauty shampoo and medical shampoo. As a veterinarian, I believe that medical shampoos should be recommended and provided by a veterinarian before use. ”

concludes Denish.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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