Whether you are the proud owner of a Beagle, a Bichon, a Labradoodle, or an “All American Dog,” your dog is going to need a bath from time to time. Some dogs seem to gravitate to dirt just like a duck takes to water, meaning you spend a lot more time mopping your floors and vacuuming up dirt than you care to admit. Still, other dogs seem to eschew dirt, preferring to stay clean and dry as often as possible. Yet even the most careful dogs still manage to end up with dirt and debris in their coats. More than that, dog hair naturally traps odors against the skin, making some breeds more prone to smelling badly than others. Since too frequent bathing can be harmful for a dog’s coat, it can be difficult to understand how often your dog should receive a regular dip in the tub. Just how often should you bath your dog?
Bathtime – It’s Not Just for Getting Clean
Bathing your dog is an important part of keeping his coat and skin in good condition. However, there are more benefits to regular coat cleaning than simply a better smelling—and looking—pooch. Taking the time to bath your dog often alerts you to other skin conditions, lumps, bumps, or problems you might not otherwise have noticed, particularly if your dog has a very thick coat.
Bathing allows you to see right to your dog’s skin which could unearth fleas and ticks who have taken up residence in your dog’s hair. Since ticks attach to the skin, one could harbor deep under layers of fur evading detection for long periods of time, causing your dog discomfort at the least and possibly spreading disease at the worst.
Factors to Consider in Setting Up a Bathing Routine
There are several different considerations that can help you to determine just how often Fido needs to take a tumble in the tub. The first is the length of your dog’s coat. Dogs with shorter hair don’t tend to need bathing as often as dirt and grime are less likely to remain in the coat. Unfortunately, this may mean more vacuuming for you as the dirt has to go somewhere, and it most often ends up on your floors, furniture, and carpeting! Dogs with longer coats tend to hold more odors and debris in the layers of hair, and thus, require more frequent bathing to stay looking and smelling fresh and clean. Your breeder can best advise how often bathing is recommended for your specific breed. If you happen to be the proud owner of a mixed breed, you can seek out dog breeds with similar coat types to what your pooch has and follow the bathing schedule that is considered best for that breed.
The second important consideration is what your dog gets up to in a day. Does your pup see mud puddles as an opportunity for fun? Are you the proud owner of a pooch who likes to roll in dead things…or worse…his own fresh feces? If so, you are likely going to be spending more time with dog shampoo than someone who owns a dog who prefers to avoid dirt and stinky things at all costs.
But it’s not just dirty activities that can contribute to dinginess and odors in dog coats. If your dog is a lover of water, swimming in lakes, ocean, rivers, and streams can also leave your dog’s coat in less than pristine condition, requiring regular bathing.
Lastly, a dog who suffers from allergies will require special shampoos to prevent further irritation of the skin. To be sure you are not bathing too frequently or too infrequently, it is always best to seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding the care of the coat and skin of a dog with allergies.
How Much is Too Much?
Most dogs can be bathed once a month without any ill effects to the skin or coat. However, if your dog doesn’t seem to be any worse for the wear when your one month bath date rolls around, you can safely extend it to up to three months.
But, how much bathing is considered too much?
While you can safely bath your dog as often as once per week, this is not recommended unless your pooch has a penchant for getting dirty. Bathing too frequently can dry out your dog’s coat, leading to itchiness and skin eruptions.
Of course, if your dog rolls in poop or another obnoxious scent; by all means, give him a bath! Bad odors and debris in the coat can contribute to other skin conditions and even health problems, so it is important to remove any offensive elements from the coat whenever it is warranted.
Basic Bathing Guidelines
Since human hair and dog hair require different things from shampoos to support hair growth, you must always use high quality dog shampoos to bath your pooch. For best results, consult a professional groomer who can recommend a shampoo and conditioner which is best suited to the type of hair your dog has. Human shampoos contain chemicals which are not safe for use on dogs, so you want to carefully avoid them. Conversely, dog shampoo formulations should not be used on human hair.
Be sure to remove all traces of shampoo from your dog’s coat by rinsing very thoroughly. Even minute amounts of soap that remain in your dog’s hair can cause itching and skin irritation.
Water temperature also factors into dog bathing. For best results, use lukewarm water. If it is hot to the touch, it is likely far too warm for use on your dog. Making use of hot water can lead to scalding and burns, both conditions that are very painful for your pooch.
Could Fido Benefit from a Bath?
Every dog needs a bath now and again. Follow our tips to keep Fido on a healthy bathing schedule and to keep him looking and smelling fresh and clean!