Bathing your dog can be a rewarding experience. Not only will it ensure that your pet has healthy hygiene, but he also won’t smell so bad (we know sometimes our canine companions roll in some pretty funky stuff).
However, it’s important that dog owners know how often to wash a dog, as well as the proper techniques for washing a dog.
How Often Should I Wash My Dog?
Most veterinarians recommend washing your dog about once every 1-3 months. Too many baths can actually be a bad thing – they strip your dog’s coat of natural oils that protect the skin, as well as decrease the coat’s shine and luster.
It is worth noting that some dogs may need more frequent baths than others. Reasons for extra bathing may include:
- Dirty dogs. Some dogs are always getting into messes!
- Medicated baths. Some dogs may have fleas or some other medical issue that may required more frequent bathing or special medical baths.
If you do end up bathing your dog more than once a month, consider using soap-free or moisturizing shampoo to prevent you dog’s skin form getting dry. If you’ll be regularly bathing your dog more frequently than usual, make sure to discuss it with your vet.
Most owners end up bathing their dog too often, thinking that they need to wash their dog in the same way that they wash themselves. Dogs really don’t need weekly baths. Some dogs don’t ever need baths if they don’t smell particularly bad.
When it comes to soaps and supplies, you can use dog shampoo or even baby shampoo to wash your canine, but make sure you take note of how the shampoo affects your dog’s skin. Some shampoos may irritate your dog’s skin more than others, and you may need to test out a few to find a good shampoo for your furry pal’s bath time.
Different Breeds Need Different Bathing Routines
It’s easy to accidentally wash your dog too much, especially considering the unique conditions of different breeds.
Some dog breeds, like basset hounds, might have very oily skin, prompting dog owners to wash them more frequently. Meanwhile, breeds like beagles need less washing because they have short, smooth coats.
Golden retrievers seem like they would need frequent baths because of their long hair, but their coats are water-repellent, and you’ll want to avoid too much bathing since washing can strip Goldens of their natural water-repelling oils.
Dogs with ultra thick coats, such as Malamutes, should be bathed less often and instead should be brushed regularly, which keeps the dog’s coat healthy by distributing natural oils and getting rid of loose hair).
It’s a smart idea to do research into what type of shampoo is best for your dog breed. For instance, if your dog is a breed that is prone to dry or itchy skin, it’s best to find a shampoo that offers extra moisturizer.
If your dog has a smelly coat, shampoos containing ingredients such as chlorhexidine can help.
Dog Washing Tips
Here are some additional tips to washing your dog:
- Brush your pooch before bath time. Before bathing your dog, make sure to brush your dog. Otherwise, extra matted hair will hold water and irritate your dog’s skin.
- Do not wash your dog too often. Washing your dog too much can cause skin irritation. If you want to keep your dog clean in-between baths, brush his coat frequently.
- Keep your dog comfortable. Make sure that your dog is comfortable when taking his or her bath. Some dogs may feel more comfortable if you put an anti-slip mat at the bottom of your tab. For some dog owners, it’s a difficult task just to get your pet into the bathtub. If you praise your dog with treats and toys, it might get him to warm up around bath time. If you have a young puppy, get him used to taking baths as young as five weeks old.
- Make sure the water temperature is right. Pets are very sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, so use lukewarm water. Don’t use water any warmer than what you’d use for a human baby.
- Find the right shampoo. As noted earlier, you’ll want to make sure you are using a shampoo that is a good fit for your dog. When you apply shampoo to your dog’s coat, make sure it stays away from his mouth and eyes. Human shampoo isn’t toxic for dogs, but they often contain fragrances or ingredients that can irritate a dog’s skin, so it’s best to go with a canine-specific shampoo.
- Fully rinse the shampoo from your dogs coat. Keep on running water over your dog’s coat until the water is clear.
- Let your canine air dry. Blow dryers are too hot for sensitive dog skin, so instead dry your dog down with a towel and let him air dry.
Recommended shampoos to consider:
- Normal Hair: All-purpose shampoos should be fine. Earthbath dog shampoo is a good choice, and it’s available in a number of different formulas such as hypoallergenic, orange, tea tree, and puppy!
- Dry Skin: Look for shampoos with moisturizers that contain silks, oils, oak, and wheat protein. Oxgord Organic Oatmeal dog shampoo is one popular choice, with aloe vera for itchy, sensitive skin.
- Smelly Coats: Look for shampoo with deodorizing elements (common in many dog shampoos).
- Puppies: There are some shampoos specifically for puppy coats, such as Oster Oatmeal puppy shampoo.
- Dry Shampoo. If your dog just can’t stand water or traditional baths, consider a dry dog shampoo like one offered by Paw Choice, which uses pomegranate scented waterless foam.
Ultimately, you’ll want to study up on what’s appropriate for your dog’s breed. Different breeds need different shampoos and bathing frequencies. Find out what works for your dog and stick to it!
Do you have any bonus bathing tips? Share your doggy bath time advice in the comments!