At Dog Sense in Lancaster, we field a lot of questions from customers regarding dog cleaning. One of the most common ones is “How often should I bathe my dog?” For a long time, it was widely believed that frequent baths could harm a dog’s skin and fur. However, opinions have changed with the emergence of numerous dog-friendly soaps and shampoos. Today, the best answer regarding “to bathe or not to bathe” depends on a few factors, your dog’s health, activities, and living environment, all of which we’ll cover here.
While fur type does not impact the frequency of baths, caring for and cleaning the various types of coat a dog may have is important and may impact how you clean such dogs. For example, smooth coats breeds, such as Doberman Pinschers and Dalmatians, tend to have coats that repel dirt easily. A simple rub down with a cloth and a bit of coat spray or coat wipes can have them looking and smelling fresh.
Poodle mixes, Portuguese Water Dogs, Yorkshire Terriers and others with curly or silky hair need daily or every-other-day brushing to prevent their hair from tangling or matting. However, like most breeds these dogs only need be bathed about once a month. The regular brushing will help keep their coats clean.
As for double-coated and thick-coated breeds – golden retrievers, collies, and the like – these dogs need weekly brushing to alleviate matting within their thick undercoats, but generally only need baths every 6-8 weeks.
Hairless breeds, such as Chinese Cresteds and Xoloitzquintli, often are bathed weekly to help keep their skin healthy. Some breeds, such as bulldogs need frequent washing of the folds of their skin but may not need complete baths.
These estimates don’t account for special medicated baths your dog might require for health issues. The frequency of these baths can be confirmed by the professionals at Dog Sense, or your veterinarian
Dogs who live with people who suffer from allergies, may need more frequent baths. Athletic dogs, and those who participate in sports such as dock diving, hunting, and lure coursing may need more frequent baths. Dogs who spend much of their time in the backyard or hiking will also need more frequent baths.
The size of your dog has no bearing on how frequently you should draw a bath for it. Fur type and fur length are far more important. The only difference between bathing a large dog and a small dog is the need to have the right-sized bathtub or basin available, along with some extra towels if your dog is on the big side.
Are Weekly Baths Bad for Dogs?
If you like your pooch to be consistently clean, then weekly baths could be beneficial from both a hygiene and grooming standpoint. Dogs can develop dry skin, and overactive oil glands if bathed too often. If you choose to give your dog weekly baths, then we recommend using a premium shampoo and conditioner that’s appropriate for your dog’s coat type.
If you’re uncertain how often you should bathe your dog, talk to the canine experts at Dog Sense. Along with helping you create a bathing routine, we can discuss alternatives to bathing – for example, employing sprays or engaging in frequent brushing.