How Often Should My Dog Have A Bath?

by Wayne Booth, the Dog Training Blogger on May 19, 2011

Now that the weather is getting warmer it always seems that our dogs find more reasons to need a bath.

People often want to know how often their dog should get a bath.  That doesn’t always mean that they want to give their dog a bath, however! It’s not always fun to give your dog a bath, especially if he’s the kind of dog who hates getting in the tub.  In that case, giving your dog a bath can be a terrible experience, for you and for your dog.

But giving your dog a bath can be a good thing.  Dogs don’t really like to be dirty and smelly.  Dogs can’t clean themselves the way cats can.  When a dog gets dirty and nasty, they simply stay that way until they shed, or rub it off on your furniture.  And when they shed things are bad, too, because the hair goes all over your house.

So, what do you do with a dirty, smelly, shedding dog who doesn’t want a bath?  How do you make your dog look and smell nice again?  Actually, there are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about bathing your dog.  For instance:

*Grooming:  Grooming is not the same as bathing.  You should comb or brush your dog’s coat at least once a week. This will help remove mats and it will help cut down on shedding.  You should also brush your dog’s coat before a bath, especially if he has long hair.

*Coat:  You should consider your dog’s coat when deciding how often to bathe your dog.  Bathing your dog too often will remove important natural oils form their coat and make their skin dry and itchy.

Most dogs with double coats or soft undercoats, such as Cocker Spaniels or the Pekingese, should have a bath roughly every four to eight weeks.  Dogs with a silky coat, such as the Yorkshire Terrier or the Lhasa Apso, should have a bath every three to six weeks.

Breeds of dog with a curly coat that doesn’t shed such as the Poodle or the Portuguese Water Dog should have a bath about every six to eight weeks.  Smooth-coated dogs such as the Chihuahua and the Boston Terrier will do well with a bath about every eight weeks or if they are dirty.  Dogs such as these need natural skin oils to protect their skin and they shouldn’t be bathed too often.

Dogs with coarse, wiry coats such as the Schnauzers and the Terrier breeds need baths about every four to six weeks. For dogs that have dandruff, this schedule can be moved up to about every three weeks.

*A Dog’s Personal Habits:  There are always exceptions to these recommendations.  For dogs that like to roll in the mud or play in puddles, the time table between baths may be much shorter. If your dog is removing the natural oils in his skin and coat with mud and dirty water, there is no reason to postpone a bath.

If, on the other hand, your dog is only slightly dirty, you can probably brush the dirt out of his coat every couple of days with a comb or brush.  Dry shampoos may or may not help much and they can still dry your dog’s coat out, which is not good for your dog’s skin.

*Swimming:  If your dog likes to go swimming whenever possible, especially in a chlorinated pool, you should bathe him afterwards with a mild shampoo.  This is also true if he swims in salt water.  Both chlorine and salt water can harm your dog’s coat and your dog may try to lick their coat after swimming which won’t be good for him.

*Allergies:  If you or another family member has allergies, you will probably need to bathe your dog more frequently.  This will help you keep the house free of dog dander and make life easier for the allergy sufferer.

In this case you should use a very mild shampoo for a weekly bath.  This will be less likely to harm your dog’s skin and coat, yet it will still remove dander.

Dogs can collect an amazing amount of dirt on their skin and coat in just one week.  However, dogs really don’t need baths as often as humans do.  Too many baths are not good for them.  It’s best to have your dog on a grooming schedule to keep mats at a minimum and keep nails trimmed, but don’t dry out their skin and coat with too many baths.

If you create a good grooming schedule your dog should stay happy and healthy for years, and you shouldn’t have to deal with too much doggy smell over the course of your lives together.

Until next time…..

About the Author: Wayne Booth is owner of Canine Behavior Specialists in Nashville, TN.  Wayne has been teaching people how to become Professional Dog Trainers since 1990 and he is the Training Director of Canine Behavior Specialists Network, www.K9-University.com

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How Often Should My Dog Have A Bath?
05.23.11 at 12:35 pm

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1 Luis 08.31.12 at 11:06 am

I walk my 9 year old Lhasa Apso every morning for a short distance and wash her paws with regular soap afterwards. She developed hot spots just above the back of her hind legs, close to the paws.

I am applying SENTRY Hot spot treatment twice a day and the spots seem less redish.

What else should I be doing to help my pet?

Your advice will be highly appreciated

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