Dogs smell, and that is just natural. You cannot expect your dog to smell like perfume, that is just not normal. A lot of owners think they can wash their dog on a weekly basis, and their dog will smell better.
Well, wrong. If you want the answer to the question how often should you wash your dog, the answer is complex.
After all, not all dogs are the same. And then there is the other side of the story. Some people do not wash their dog often, and they want to know if they are doing the right thing. After all, baths can get messy, time-consuming, and frankly, challenging.
So, with that in mind, how often should you wash your dog? The answer is, it depends on many factors.
Why every dog is different?
First and foremost, not all dogs have the same coat and fur. And let’s think about this for a moment. Dogs groom themselves on a regular basis. You’ve probably seen your dog licking himself. They do this to facilitate growth of hair follicles and support their skin health.
Not only are dogs different in terms of coat, but they are also different in terms of health. Healthy dogs who spend the time inside, to not need to be washed often. Healthy dogs that spend more time outside, require more frequent baths.
And some dogs are just more sensitive, they have sensitive skin and hair, and washing can increase their risk of fungal infection.
Factors You Should Consider
As mentioned, there are many factors that determine whether you should wash your dog once per month, once every two months, two times per year, once per year, every week, or so on.
The main factors that can influence this decision are health, breed, coat, activity level, and where are these activities taking place.
- Hair length, usually dogs with longer hair require more regular bathing, as they can absorb a lot of dirt into their coat. Short-haired dogs can simply shake off the dirt
- Coat type, or whether your dog has curly or straight her. Fun fact: coatless breeds and hairless breeds like the Chinese Crested, for example, have quite care sensitive coat, and they require weekly baths. The more hair a dog has, the more work it is involved, and the frequency is higher
- Activity level, or how often your dog plays outside, and where does he play. Do you take him to dirty places? Or is he just playing in the grass? Does your dog play in the water? Or does he dig holes?
- Allergies and skin conditions are two factors you have to address in consultation with your veterinarian. As mentioned previously, some health conditions can affect your frequency of washing
How to know if your dog needs a bath?
The simplest way to determine whether you should wash your dog or not is to smell him. Simply put, when your dog comes into the room, and you can smell him, the fact of the matter is that your dog needs a bath.
And if your dog is covered in mud or dirt, a thorough brushing can do the trick. You do not need to bath him to wash away the dirt. But if the brushing is not enough, follow it up with a bath.
With that in mind, some veterinarians recommend bathing your dog once per month, while others prefer two times per year.
Truth be told, it is all individual. At the minimum, however, it is advised that you wash your dog once every three months. If you use a gentle shampoo, you can bathe your dog once every other week.
Why you should not wash your dog every week? Simply put, your dog has natural oils produced by the skin. These oils promote hair growth, and frequent bathing can cause dryness, irritation, and strip the skin of the natural oils.
Your Guide How to Bathe Your Dog
No matter how often you wash your dog, we want to give you a guide for how to do it properly. Where to start, and how to finish, without leaving a mess behind.
- Start by buying shampoo and supplies, like a towel for drying your dog. Make sure to get hypoallergenic and natural shampoos that will reduce the risk of skin irritation and dryness
- Prepare your dog by brushing him. Give your dog a thorough brushing to get rid of tangles, excess hair, and some dirt
- Find a spot where you want to bathe your dog. If you have a yard, we recommend doing it outdoor. If not, put him in the bathtub
- Start by washing him just with water. Once your dog is wet, you can apply shampoo. But before you lather, gather all the things you need for later on, like clean towel and treats, of course
- Set the water to lukewarm to slightly warm, and never use hot water
- Lightly later your dog’s coat in a circular motion. Pay special attention to the paws and other places that are prone to dirt. Start with the feet, and work your way to the face. Wash the face last, as your dog will usually shake when you wash their face, and that might make it messier
- Rinse your dog thoroughly, starting from the head, and working your way down until the steam is clear
- Cover your dog in a towel that absorbs water. The better your towel is at absorbing water, the less time you will have to blow dry your dog. Never use your regular blow dryer for dogs. If you intend to dry your dog with a blow dryer, get the best blow dryer for dogs
- Last, but not least, ensure the experience is calming, relaxing, and happy for your dog. Finish off with a treat to reward good behavior, and encourage your dog to enjoy bath time
Should You Call a Professional?
Bathing dogs is not as simple as it seems on first glance. Some dogs are calm, while others are a mess in the bathroom. Not to mention, if you have a 100lbs dog, it can be challenging to put him in the bathtub. Imagine putting a Great Dane in the tub. That does not sound simple, right?
For small dog breeds, owners usually decide to bath them at home. Unless, of course, if you have a tricky breed, like Maltese or Bichon Frise, which require special grooming treatment. And if you have a large dog breed, and you cannot handle all of the hassle, just call a professional.
At the end of the day, calling a professional will save you a lot of time and energy. Imagine bathing a large dog breed, and then cleaning after him? Or just drying him?
It might be better to invest some money in paying a professional, than spending your entire day and feeling exhausted. But just remember, even with professionals, you have to take the factors for how often should you wash your dog into consideration.
There is no shame in calling an expert if you do not have time, space, or energy.