How Often Should You Wash Your Dog? Michael Explains

By Michael Tarran

November 10, 2016

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Does it sometimes seem to you that your dog is simply drawn to the mud puddle? That his main goal is to dive right in just after you’ve bathed him?

What is more, bath time is probably not amongst your dog’s favorite activities. But it’s mandatory and a vital part of its hygiene!

Have you ever wondered, is it too often to wash a dog once a week? You probably have, if you take enough care of your lovely puppy.

But really: how often is good enough?

The most common advice you see on the Internet tells you that your dog should be bathed just several times per year! For some, this can be quite a big surprise.

Some other pet owners seem to have a different opinion, and some vets say differently.

If you asked your dog, the answer would probably be once a year!

So, today, I’m going to help you answer the question: How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

Last Updated: September 24th 2020

Things You Need to Consider On How Often Should You Wash Your Dog

how often should you wash your dog - Michael responds!

The best answer to the question how often should you wash your dog - it depends.

Ultimately, it depends on you. It’s in your best interest to read and get yourself acquainted with the different factors that determine how often you should wash your pet.

It is necessary for your dog to be clean and free of disease.

To find the answer that is right for you and your doggo, you need to answer some questions first.

#1 - Does Your Dog Live Indoors or Outdoors? Does It Sleep in Your Bed?

It is essential that your dog is often washed if it lives in your house or apartment, especially if it sleeps on your bed.

The frequency, in this case, ranges from once a week to once a month, depending on which breed your dog is.

Other than that, if you’re in doubt, you may perform the “hugging test,” as I like to call it. 🙂 If your doggo is perfectly huggable, and there is no bad smell, you probably shouldn’t wash it yet.

If you wash your dog accordingly, your house will become cleaner and disease-free with no dirt, flea, parasites, or insects on your sofa, your bed, or your reading room.

#2 - What Breed Is Your Dog?

puppies bath time

How often you should wash your dog to a great extent depends on the dog’s breed and coat.

Let's break down the info by the type of coat:

  • Harsh-Textured Coat

  • With undercoats or dogs that don’t shed

  • Short-haired, smooth coat

  • Water-repellent coat

  • Oily coat

  • Double-coat

Example Breeds: Shelties, PitBulls and alike

How Often to Bathe - Every month or less frequently

Why - Their fur repels dirt quite easily, unlike other soft-coat breeds

#3 - Is There Anyone Allergic to Dogs in Your House?

If there is any member of your family having allergies to dogs, your dogs should be groomed and bathed as often as possible

By doing that, you can remove the dander that accumulates on your dog’s fur.

Therefore, the symptoms that people who are allergic to dogs may experience (such as a rash and watery eyes) can be prevented if you don’t expose them to dog dander, which is done by frequent washing and brushing of your loved pet.

#4 - What Does Your Dog Do Every Day?

If your dog has an active lifestyle -  that is, if it pays frequent visits to the local muddy waters, enjoys activities like digging holes, playing in the sand and dirt, or simply fighting and kidding with his fellows, he might get “unhuggable” more often. 

Remember, this is always a sign you should wash him!

Other dogs just want to go around your house and do nothing. They will require less frequent baths.

#5 - Does Your Dog Suffer from Itching? Does It Have Skin Problems?

It is good to know that, unlike humans, dogs absorb all the allergens through their skin instead of noses, and mouths. 

These allergens, if not cleaned and removed correctly, can cause itching, redness, and even skin diseases.

Weekly bathing for dogs who experience itching can prevent further complications and any potential diseases.

Also, some dogs may have certain skin conditions that make them more prone to health issues if they aren’t bathed frequently enough. These include:

  • Dermatitis

  • Skin allergies

  • Yeast infections

  • Accumulation of dandruff scale

  • Hives

Conversely, if your dog has explicitly dry skin, it may be a sign that it has been over-washed and that you should reduce the frequency a bit so that the coat can retrieve the balanced amount of natural oils. 

Your dog needs those natural oils to stay soft and silky, and especially to avoid getting brittle and damaged.

Useful Bathing Guidelines

Useful Bathing Guidelines

 Bath time… Again?!

Hooman, can you do something to make this loathed chore a bit more enjoyable?

Of course you can!

Also, some of the following guidelines are important for the canine’s well-being!

  • Calm your doggo down. I’m not exaggerating when I say it is a loathed chore for them - so they can get really scared and anxious when they approach the bathtub. Talking to them in a reassuring voice and repeating this every time you begin the process will lead to him learning that it isn’t a big deal! 
  • Use special shampoo. Dog’s shampoo should have no or minimal chemicals so that they will not harm the dogs. They are gentler than human shampoos because they do not dry the skin as much. Human skin is less sensitive! Also, steer clear of products that contain selenium or benzoyl peroxide, unless your dog has seborrhoea.
  • Don’t let the shampoo get in your dog’s eyes. Ouch! Just like us, they don’t like it, either!
  • Use a dog conditioner. If you want even to achieve an even softer coat, you can apply a conditioner. I suggest a mild one, like Davis Oatmeal that Jimmy and I use.
  • Make sure that water is lukewarm. Dogs are more sensitive to hot water, so always check it first and keep it cooler that you would do it for your bath.
  • Don’t leave any shampoo in their coat. If you don’t rinse it thoroughly, your pal may experience some itching afterward.
  • Air-dry its coat. Unless it is too cold in the room or outside, it’s best to let your dog air-dry or use a specialized blow-dryer for dogs.

Wind-Up - Towel TIme

Woof, it's not that bad!

Now you know how often you should wash your dog. 

Not only that - you’re informed on how to make it less despised by your doggo (and, consequently, easier for you to get them in the tub).  

Follow the table I’ve provided on different breeds and consult other factors.

Unless there is a diagnosis from your vet, never wash your dog more than once a week!

Loved the article? 

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Spread the word - help other owners learn about it too!

If by any chance you have some questions or would love to add something to this guide, please leave a comment! 

Michael Tarran

About Me

I'm a devoted pet parent to two lovely creatures – Charlie the Cat and Jimmy the Dog – a full-time assistant pet store manager, and an animal shelter volunteer. I've gathered knowledge about pets for almost a decade, and it all started in a small store called Jack's Pets.

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