How Often Should I Wash My Dog?

Unlike humans, dogs don’t require daily showers.  In fact, doing so would be harmful to your pet’s sensitive skin.  However, if your dog spends frequent time outside, chances are your pet starts to stink if not bathed regularly.  How often should you bathe pup?  The answer depends on what type of dog you have.

If Your Dog… 

Has an Oily Coat

Some breeds produce excess oils on their skin, such as Bassett Hounds.  These dogs require baths as frequently as every 1- 2 weeks in order to keep oil production at bay.  If your dog produces excess oil but is not a breed that is known for this trait, your pet may be suffering from allergies or a skin infection.

Is Short-Haired with a Smooth Coat

Dogs that have a single, short, smooth coat (such as German Shorthaired Pointers) require baths less frequently, typically once every 2 – 3 months. It is important not to over-wash short-haired dogs, as stripping the natural oils from their skin can lead to dandruff and irritation. 

Cares About Personal Hygiene

Some dogs, such as Basenjis and Shiba Inus, are fastidious in their personal hygiene and keep themselves remarkably clean.  These pets only require baths as needed, such as after swimming through a mud puddle. 

Has Water Repellent Fur

Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Newfoundlands all have water repellent fur.  As such, these dogs require less frequent baths in order not to remove natural oils from their fur.  A bath once every 2 – 3 months is sufficient in most cases. 

Has Thick Double Coat

Dogs with thick double coats such as Siberian Huskies, Malamutes, and Pomeranians should be bathed as infrequently as possible.  Often, dogs with thick fur have sensitive skin that can become irritated if bathed too often.  Instead, these dogs should be brushed more frequently in order to remove loose fur and better distribute natural oils. 

Is Hairless

Hairless dogs lack the inherent protection that fur provides and also have different skin characteristics, such as sweat glands.  These pets require frequent baths – typically one per week – in order to keep from developing skin problems such as acne. 

Is None of the Above

If your dog does not fit into any of the above categories, chances are that your pet can go 1 – 2 months without requiring a bath, unless particularly smelly or dirty.

Tips for Bathing 

Use a Gentle Cleanser

Always use a dog-formulated cleanser that is free of harsh chemicals and detergents.  A dog’s skin is more sensitive than that of humans and can easily become irritated when not cared for properly.  Look for a formula that is oatmeal based and made especially for the needs of your pet. 

Let Your Pup Air Dry

A human hair dryer is too hot for your dog’s sensitive skin and will cause discomfort.  Instead, use an absorbent towel to remove as much water as possible and allow your pet to air-dry.  If necessary, invest in a dryer made specifically for dogs.

How often do you bathe your dog? Does your dog like having a bath? Tell us your experience…