Bathing and grooming your dog can be a huge hassle. It’s usually not very enjoyable for either party. Your dog doesn’t like being tied up or herded into the bathtub, and you probably don’t enjoy dealing with an unhappy pet. So if it’s generally a tough task, it begs the question, how often should you wash your dog?
The answer is, is unfortunately not so simple.
It depends on a bunch of contributing factors that will keep you and your best friend in a good mood.
Factors to Consider Before Washing Your Dog
A dog’s skin is a bit different than a human’s. While human skin has a ph of 5, dog skin operates around a ph of 7. That means it is essentially neutral, like water.
Therefore human skin products are not formulated to maintain healthy dog skin, and can leave their hides a bit dry. For this reason, always use products created specifically for dogs.
Is Your Dog’s Skin Healthy?
To decide how often to go through the ordeal of a bath is a bit complicated. Check with your vet about any possible skin conditions.
If your veterinarian recommends a bath every week due to a skin ailment, it’s very important to adhere to this schedule.
A dog with dry skin can be a very unpleasant partner. Plus, who wants to see their best friend being uncomfortable.
If you think your dog is suffering from dry or infected skin, make sure you talk to your vet before starting a bathing program and ask about any recommended shampoos.
Dog grooming products have come a long way, and there are now many great options to help your pooch.
Consider Your Dog’s Breed
Furthermore, dog hair varies wildly by breed.
For example, rustic large outdoor dogs like Labradors or Shetlands, have thick sturdy pelts that are very good at self-maintenance but can be hard to manage.
However, smaller indoor breeds like Yorkshires, or Pomeranians require a bit more attention. So how often should you bathe your dog?
Your Dog’s Lifestyle
If everything seems fine, you can use bath time as a chance to inspect your dog’s coat and make sure everything stays in tip-top shape.
For dogs in good health, bath frequency depends on their breed, lifestyle, and your personal preference.
Larger dogs that are often outside, especially in rural areas with lots of other flora and fauna, should be bathed more frequently. They get really dirty and it is necessary to give them a thorough cleaning every month.
This can prevent skin disease, bacterial/viral infections, and general discomfort.
The issue is compounded if your dog spends equal time inside and out. Unless you want dirt, and grime in your house on a regular basis, keeping your dog clean is a must. This is especially true if they sleep in your bed, or on your furniture.
Also, all dog owners know they can get pretty stinky. So for larger outdoor breeds it comes down to a personal preference on how clean you like your home, but once or twice per month should suffice.
Smaller indoor based breeds can live well-being bathed just a few times per year. It’s important to keep an eye on them in the meantime as their skin can be more sensitive to infection.
Essentially, it comes down to a personal preference. If you enjoy a clean nice smelling home it’s probably best to stick to the once a month rule of thumb.
Washing your dog regularly can help your family stay healthy as well. A monthly rinse will prevent infections of course, but it will also stop infestations.
If your dog is often outside, especially in wooded areas, it’s important to keep them from bringing pests like fleas and ticks into your home. This is of paramount importance in households with immune-compromised members or young children.
Fleas and ticks can spread disease, and laziness is not a good excuse. Make sure to give them a thorough scrubbing and check for parts just above the tail for signs of parasitic life forms.
For those dog owners with serious allergies, washing your dog once per week can greatly reduce the effects of dander. Most people are not allergic to dogs themselves but to the microscopic particles of dead skin they constantly shed. Washing your dog once a week can minimize your symptoms.
If you’ve decided that having a dog is worth dealing with allergies (and consulted with a doctor about possible risks about sharing a home with something you’re allergic to), giving them a weekly wash is a great idea.
This will stop the accumulation of dander and make it easier for you both. Establishing a weekly bath time routine can help you and your dog get used to the discomfort. Make sure to find a shampoo that doesn’t dry out their skin, as it is a risk with frequent washing.
So, How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?
There is no correct answer about how often you should wash your dog.
While every dog needs a little bit of cosmetic care, chances are once a month will suffice.
If your dog is especially prone to getting dirty, you have allergies, or like to keep a really clean house, perhaps bi-monthly or once weekly works better for you.
Any more than that can be very harmful to your pet’s skin health and should only be done on vet’s orders.
There’s really no reason to put yourself through the paces unless absolutely necessary.
While it may be difficult at first, establishing a routine will allow you and your pet to get in a rhythm. Try to make it enjoyable for them by giving them treats for good behavior, using toys, and showering them with praise.
They will get used to the minor discomfort the longer you keep a regular schedule. If you don’t have time, are having trouble managing them, or don’t like dealing with the mess, remember there are professional groomers who offer superior care. They are experts at taming all sorts of breeds’ fur.
So if you don’t know how to manage your mutt, send them to a professional. This can be expensive for regular maintenance, but for large breeds who can be hard to control, pampering them a few times a year can pay off.
Still don’t know what’s right for your best mate, ask your veterinarian at their next checkup. When it comes to your dog’s health you can never be too sure.