You might think because we shower and wash our hair regularly, that we should do the same for our dogs. But there are other factors that we need to take into account to determine the answer to the question “how often should I bath my dog?” The type of fur and length, your dog’s activity level, and any allergies or other skin conditions should be considered.
When to bathe your dog
Generally, a healthy dog with a short, smooth coat and no skin problems won’t need bathing often. In this instance, if they get especially dirty or smelly they will need a clean but usually a bath once a month will be adequate.
Type of coat
Curly-haired and long-haired dog breeds generally require more regular bathing and grooming to keep their coats from matting. A weekly bath is recommended for hairless dogs who lack the skin protection a coat provides. Dogs with oily skin, like cocker spaniels, also benefit from more frequent bathing to prevent a buildup of oil on their skin.
Allergies or Skin issues?
Some dogs suffer from skin conditions or allergies that may require regular bathing with medicated shampoo. In this situation, guidance from your vet or groomer will help you decide the appropriate frequency of bathing for your dog.
How to bathe your dog
Preparation is key! Get everything ready that you will need. It’s no fun trying to grab towels, sponges etc whilst trying to keep your dog in the tub or avoiding the inevitable water shake off! Use collars that can get wet. Oscar & Hooch collars are perfect for this! And use a non-slip mat if you have one. Make sure the water isn’t too hot. Use enough shampoo – (our favourites come from Hownd – ethical, cruelty free ingredients) to get a good lather but use as sparingly as possible. Use the hose attachment or sponge to rinse being careful around their eyes and ears. A gentle squeeze of their fur should remove the excess water before giving a towel dry. If it’s fine weather out, a natural air dry is best.
How much is too much?
As previously mentioned, different coats require different levels of bathing. In general, dogs are better left without being washed for as long as possible.
You may think a dog’s coat needs washing as often as we wash our own hair. But actually, this is not the case. Dogs have sensitive skin. If they are cleaned too often, it dries out their coat and can cause skin irritation. Unless they get super dirty or roll in something really unpleasant, the best thing is to leave the natural oils in their coat to do the hard work – as they’re pretty good at self-cleaning.
So in summary, the answer to the question “How often should I bathe my dog?” is – it depends! It depends on the breed of your dog and their coat, and also what activities they get up to and how dirty they are! In our house with a Labrador it’s mud, fox poo and a bit more mud so quite a lot of wiping down!