How Often Should You Wash Your Dog

Women doting on her shih tzu when bathing him

How often you need to wash your dog varies based on the unique requirements of each dog. Generally, bathing your dog should only happen when it’s absolutely needed. This might be when your dog starts to smell bad or when they’ve accumulated a lot of mud or dirt on their coat.

Washing your pet, when required, is an integral part of pet care. The benefits of washing your dog include keeping your pet’s coat and skin in a healthy condition and improving their coat’s appearance.

But here’s the thing: some people don’t bathe their dogs as often as needed. This article will discuss the things to consider when deciding how often to bathe a dog and share some important tips, especially for first-time dog owners.

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

Dog owners often wonder, “How often should I bathe my dog?” or “How often should you bathe a puppy?” Generally, the best way to determine when to bathe your dog is to smell them. Is their smell not so good? If so, it’s time to bath him.

Whether you choose to have your dog washed by a professional dog groomer or do the job yourself, it’s extremely important to bathe your furry friend on a reasonable schedule to prevent issues like dandruff and irritation.

Generally, this implies bathing a dog around once per month, but there are several things you need to consider when determining the right bathing schedule for your pet companion. Here are several factors that determine how often you should bathe your dog.

Based On Dog Fur

The type of coat your dog has will determine how often you need to clean and care for them. Long-haired dogs may need more frequent baths than short-haired dog breeds. Moreover, some thick-coated dogs, like the Siberian Husky and the Golden Retriever, can lose natural oils from their skin if washed too frequently.

Many short-coated breeds of dogs with smooth coats, like the French bulldog, Beagle, and others, will require baths less frequently. A short-coated breed like the Basenji is known to clean themselves just like cats and rarely needs to be bathed. Dogs with a water-repellent coat, like Great Pyrenees and Labrador Retrievers, need to be bathed less frequently to help preserve essential oils in their skin.

Breeds with thick, double coats, like Malamutes and Samoyeds, require fewer baths and more frequent brushing to help get rid of any loose hair. Poodles should be bathed at least once every 3 weeks. Contact your veterinarian to get a better understanding of your pup’s coat and how often you should start washing it.

Based On the Activity Level

Your dog’s regular activities will have a direct impact on their overall grooming needs. An outdoor dog that loves playing in the dirt and muddy puddles will end up requiring more frequent baths than a pup that likes staying on the couch.

Based On Dog’s Skin Allergies and Conditions

How often you bathe a dog will also depend on their skin condition. A dog’s fur is effective at accumulating grime and potential allergens, which can lead to allergy attacks. Proper washing can also help remove ticks, fleas, and other parasites.

If you or your dog have allergies, washing your pets regularly will greatly reduce allergens in their coat. If your pet has a skin disease or other health condition, it is extremely important to contact your vet before bathing your dog.

Depending on the skin issues, your pooch might be better off without bathing or might need more frequent washing. For dogs with certain skin conditions, bathing can end up drying out the pet’s hair coat and must be avoided. The thing is, pups with allergies usually have a problem with their skin barrier, which causes the drying of the skin and adds to their suffering.

Make sure to avoid any products meant for human use since human skin is different from a dog’s. A professional vet can help you choose the right products to use when washing your dog.

Wet black pup looking at owner

Tips on How to Bathe a Dog

Here are a few helpful tips on how to make bath time a more enjoyable experience for both you and your canine companion:

Start Early

One of the best ways to make dog bathing easy is to start washing them when they are still puppies. Canines learn good or bad behaviors through repetition.

Once you make it a routine to bathe your pooch from a young age, you can teach them that bathing is an ordinary and pleasurable part of their life. Although you should never over-bathe your dog, you should not skip baths, or else they will forget this routine and the expected dog behavior.

Protect Their Ears

A dog’s ears are extremely sensitive. It’s important to prevent water and shampoo from reaching their inner ear, as this could cause discomfort. To make the washing process as comfortable as possible, place cotton balls at the ear canal’s entrance. Avoid pushing them in, as that could cause more pain than the water and shampoo you want to block.

Choose the Right Shampoo

Using a shampoo that causes dryness or makes them scratch is a sure way to make dog baths an unpleasant experience for your pooch. Ideally, you should use mild shampoos that clean and get rid of unpleasant smells without removing essential oils. Your vet can help you choose the right shampoo for your puppy or adult dog.

Clean From the Neck Down

In addition to preventing water from entering your dog’s ears, you want to keep their nose, eyes, and mouth safe. Therefore, try washing dogs from the shoulders down. You can do this by using a cup, bucket or sprayer to wet your furry friend. You can also find quality sprayers meant for washing a dog. Use a wet washcloth to clean your pup’s face and don’t forget to clean their teeth and nails.

Dry Thoroughly

Make sure to dry your pup completely, especially if he has a double coat. Leaving their coat wet can create an ideal environment for fungal infections to occur. So, run your fingers around your dog’s body after washing them to discover any parts that need more attention. Moreover, talk to your vet for advice if Fido shows any signs and symptoms of stress, anxiety or anything unusual after a bath.

Make It Pleasurable!

Does your dog hate baths? The solution is to make it fun. Bathing presents a good opportunity to strengthen the bond between pet owners and their dogs. Take small steps when introducing your puppy to water before proceeding to a full bath. As a responsible pet parent, you need to be kind and patient with Fido. Also, your dog needs to be rewarded with dog treats and praise.

Drying brown dog

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you don’t bathe your dog?

If you don’t bathe your dog, the natural oils secreted by your pup’s coat might accumulate, causing that foul odor that all pet parents are familiar with. Moreover, some senior dogs may experience problems grooming themselves. Periodic bathing will help promote good dog health and improve the quality of their lives.

Do dogs feel better after a bath?

After a bath, dogs tend to go crazy, but that might not be because they enjoy it. If your dog moves around the house rubbing his body against anything and everything, it could be because of relief or they are trying to get rid of the shampoo applied.

How long can a dog go without a bath?

While dogs with short hair can go without a bath for more than three months, long-haired dogs need to be bathed more frequently. Your pup will be happier when they are clean and smelling fresh. Washing your pooch doesn’t have to be a hassle; it can be enjoyable when it’s done with love, tenderness, and patience.

Is it bad to never bathe your dog?

Yes, it is bad to never bathe your dog. It’s recommended to bathe your best friend at least once every three months. If they start producing foul odors, it’s time to bathe them. However, you should avoid bathing dogs too much, as this can strip the dog’s coat of its natural oils and cause tangles and dandruff.

What can I use to wash my dog?

You can use specialized dog soap or shampoo to clean your dog. Dog shampoos are formulated to meet the needs of a canine’s sensitive skin and come in a wide variety of styles and scents. You should be able to choose a shampoo that is designed for your dog’s size, coat, and any health issues.

There are many products available, and ingredients will vary from product to product, so reading reviews is important. If have any questions, speak to your vet.


How often to bathe a dog will vary depending on your pup’s hair type, exercise level, and skin health. Most dogs can benefit from being washed at least once every 3 months. Elderly pets and those with certain skin issues can benefit from more regular bathing with the right amount of dog shampoo.

You should avoid washing your canine friend more than once every 2 weeks unless it’s recommended by a vet. If do-it-yourself dog baths are not your cup of tea, professional dog grooming can help keep your best friend looking and smelling clean and fresh! Happy washing!

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