How often should you bathe your dog?

dog in bubble bath

Most advice you find on the internet recommends washing your dog just several times per year!

Times have changed! Today, dogs enjoy shampoos and conditioners that are on par with the best human shampoos- that don’t have harsh chemicals and that don’t strip the hair of all of its oils.

The arguments against washing your dog too often are generally about stripping the coat of natural oils. The more often you wash something, the more often the sebum (oil) is going to be removed. Think about your own hair. If you don’t wash it, what happens? It gets oily. Is the oil good for your hair? Probably, but we wash our hair everyday anyway so that it’s clean!

 

1. Does your dog live indoors or outdoors, and does your dog sleep in your bed?

If your dog lives in your house with you and more importantly, if he/she sleeps in your bed, then you are probably going to wash your dog regularly–depending on the breed anywhere from once a week to once a month. I know this is radical thinking, but, if your dog sits on your sofa, you probably don’t want him dragging in dirt, poop, insects and other grime onto your sofa. So, the trade off is that your dog’s coat ~might ~ be marginally drier but you will have a fresh smelling dog that you can cuddle without the fear that gross stuff is getting into the sheets.

2. Breed of dog

Harsh-textured coats repel dirt pretty well so they don’t get as dirty as a soft-coated dog.  Breeds with harsh-textured coast include Shelties, Collies and labs and they can be bathed once a month. Dogs without undercoats like Maltese, Yorkies, Afghans and Shitzus should be bathed once a week. If you’re not sure, remember, a clean dog is a happy dog!

3. Is anyone in your household allergic to dogs?

If so, you SHOULD groom & bathe them as often as possible. According to the American Lung Association, doing so will help remove the dander that accumulates on a pet’s fur.

I am allergic to one of my dogs and when I don’t wash her once a week I get wheezy and sneezy.

4. What activities does your dog partake in?

Do you take your dog to the dog park? Does you dog play in the sand or dirt? Does your dog roll in the grass or go swimming or hiking? What about sniffing butts, eating poop or drooling?

Well, if you have a normal dog, she probably partakes in several of the above activities– all of which warrant regular bathing. Again, you have to think of the trade off. Your dog’s coat may be marginally drier HOWEVER, he will be cleaner, smell better, and most important you will be more likely to give a clean dog lots of love.

5. Does your dog suffer from itchy skin?

Unlike humans who absorb most environmental allergens through their noses and mouths, dogs tend to absorb allergens through the skin. Weekly bathing can prevent itchiness, washing allergens away before they get a chance to penetrate the skin.

In conclusion — the answer for MOST dogs is to wash them every 2-4 weeks depending on the above circumstances.

But remember, use a gentle pet shampoo and conditioner and do not use your own shampoo (we’ll discuss why not next week).


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59 Comments


  1. My dog gets bathed every 4 weeks, more often if he gets dirty from the park.

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  2. twice a month for my hairless kids and 6-8 weeks for my furry kids :)

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    1. You only give your hairless kids (human) a bath 2x a month?

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      1. You’ve never heard of hairless dogs?

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  3. Every 3 months or depending on breed.

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  4. I have 3 rough Collies and usually try to bath them every 6-8 weeks.

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  5. I wash my dog once a month, twice if she gets into something.

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  6. I think dogs should be bath once every month.

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  7. Once a month would do it for our lab.

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  8. My little minpin gets a bath once a month. She loves her bath time

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  9. My Mini Aussie is dirty girl. She loves dirt and even better mud. She swims and digs too. She gets a bath once a month, more if necessary.

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    1. My maltese mix gets a bath every two weeks. She gets dry skin! She isn’t crazy about baths either!

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      1. Maybe that is the reason why she itches, bathing a dog that often dries out their skin and will cause more problems down the road.

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  10. I usually bath my dog once a month. He HATES baths and it’s always a struggle.

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  11. I have 2 Chihuahuas & a Maltese. I also work at a grooming shop & they come to work with me every day, & sleep in bed with me, so they get bathed weekly.

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  12. Our golden retriever Franco gets a bath once a month!

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  13. My girl gets bathed usually once a month, but sometimes have to wash her feet in the wet weather! She is a very “clean” girl overall!

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  14. My Shi-poo LOVES her bath! So much so, she tries to get in the shower with me daily. I bathe her every 2 weeks or so.

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    1. Best dog picture l seen all month. Funny stuff!

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  15. Every 4-8 weeks my American Eskimo gets a bath :)

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  16. About every 2 weeks but more if they roll in worms or another fur sibling pees on another. We do paw soaks every day though.

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  17. Once a week. I have labs and have experience with them having allergies mostly outside ones and my husband is allergic to them and the cat. It helps.

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  18. American Eskimo. My vet said not more often than every 3 weeks or when he rolls in some yucky mess.

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  19. I bathe my girl every two to four weeks depending on where we go and what she does after her bath..BTW, I’m a dog groomer and see some really dirty dogs who could be healthier if they just got bathed more often!

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    1. Your dog is cute, she looks a lot like my mom’s dog, what breed?

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  20. I just love her! She will be 13 on Oct 3rd <3

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  21. I always recommend every 6-8 weeks depending on the dog. I say they can do it sooner though if the dog gets dirty or smells, just use a high quality shampoo to ensure it’s not too harsh on the skin. For puppies, since they tend to get into more things I’ll recommend every month or so.

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    1. Who do you recommend that to?

      Because these people need to be warned. Puppies should NOT be bathed unless absolutely necessary…which most likely will not be at all but don’t do it before they are at least 16 weeks.

      How can you even recommend that to other people? Don’t give out advice when you are not sure it is good advice. Especially when it is in fact harmful advice.

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  22. My bichon gets a bath at home twice a month, and gets groomed once a month.

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  23. Once a week to once a month is what I’ve read here. I have five dogs. Three of them are bathed weekly and two are bathed monthly. Guess I’m doing it right!! :)

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  24. I bath my Boston terrier about every month

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  25. Dogs should be bathed every 2-4 wks depending on breed and activities, mine gets bathed every 2-4 wks depending on what messes she’s gotten into and her activity, if it’s rained and she’s muddy or she’s been to the river then she needs a bath more often and my dog is white so it shows real easily how dirty she is!

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  26. Never. He swims on a weekly basis.

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    1. My Floyd has just turned 12yrs and I have never bathed him. I am truthful when I say he never smells and never he never leaves dirty marks on your hands or my furniture or even his bed xxx

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  27. Cooper, Wheaten terrier mix and Scouty Girl, beagle, get bathed every 4 weeks.

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  28. Buddy our Llewellyn setter needs often baths skin allergies, had scabies when rescued, has mites now, he loves the mud.

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  29. I rarely bath my dogs, just a rinse if they’ve rolled in something or are very muddy. They seem to have self cleaning coats (possibly because I don’t bath them or could just be their genes).

    When I first got my one dog from rescue I put off bathing her straight away despite the pong, because she’d been through a lot. Took her out in the rain for a walk, towelled her dry and the pong was gone!

    Shampooing our hair is bad for us, if you can bear to leave it a month it self cleans and same goes for dogs. Although probably depends on the dog…

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    1. I bath my Tibetan mastiff once a year in the spring after he blows his coat to get rid of the dander.

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  30. We’ve had 2 GSD X and both only got bathed once every 1.5yr……..seriously both never smelled, their fur was/is soft as silk and my non-dog-owner friends compli ment me all the time on the fact that my house does not smell like dog at all. My current GSDX, Duke…..cuddliest boy ever even sleeps with us! I really think the Natural Balance limited ingredient diet kibble, Genestra Super EFA Omega3 oil and weekly brushing and weekly house vacuuming is key. Of course they both swim in a lake at least one camping trip a year.

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  31. Does swimming in lakes &ponds count? often murky, mucky water. Otherwise almost never, and people always comment that my dog doesn’t smell like so many do. This article may apply to soft coated dogs like poodles who’s fur soaks up stuff like a sponge, but definitely not to my shepherd.
    Feed them at least a partially proper diet- That means meat for dogs, give them important supplements like purified fish or wild caught salmon oil and vitamin e, and their fur will take care of itself. I do brush my dog regularly so his shedding is minimized. I find that mud just naturally falls off his fur, as long as the mud isn’t right outside the house it has generally fallen off his fur before he goes inside and he tracks very little in. And he sleeps with me, and he uses the couch.
    Who writes these articles? someone who owns a pet shampoo business? otherwise, why mislead people like this?

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  32. My goodness, the responses really shock me with people bathing their pets so frequently. This is a new trend to over do stuff like this, it’s only done for your ego, not the dog’s benefit. Dogs are dogs, not babies, not fur kids, not princesses… Being a dog is an awesome thing, don’t try to scrub the dogness out of your dog. Appreciate them for who they are. Put some of that grooming effort into fun training games, everyone will be better off for it.

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  33. I have a chow/pit mix, and he gets bathed once a week. My poor darling has extremely itchy/dry skin and begins flaking in certain hot spots within a few days of bathing. I use a very specific medicated wash for dogs with allergies and dry skin, then follow up with an aloe conditioner. He has one of the healthiest coats my vet has seen, minus the few spots that bother him.

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    1. Why would you bathe your dog every week when he is suffering from dry skin after bathing and you know that?

      Have you ever tried not bathing your dog for a prolonged period of time? The prime cause for itchy and dry skin I would suspect is regular bathing especially when using more than just clean water.

      I don’t want to sound too preachy or accuse you specifically but I am still a bit in shock reading this blog and several others. Reading through the comments makes me feel like all these dry skin dogs and their allergies started out as normal healthy dogs until their owners gave them allergies and dry skin by “caring” too much.

      Vets always tell pet owners how nice their darling’s coat looks, don’t think anything by it.
      Most of them are snake oil salesman and will tell you whatever you want to hear so you come back.

      Probably the same guy who sells you the shampoo and conditioner….

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  34. I love all the comments that almost refer to baths as abuse. When I got my doodle at 6 months old he had very itchy skin, and patches that were especially dry. I have allergies so I have to bathe him more often than once/week, usually 2/week during pollen seasons, and after every trip to the dog park. His skin is not dry, his fur is the most luscious softest fleece of any dog I’ve ever met and shiny. His skin is no longer dry and itchy since about a week after I got him. I use dawn dish soap on his body and johnson’s baby wash around his face. My groomer comments when I bring him for his cuts that he is so soft and nice and never has any mats. If you make sure you rinse very well you will always have a clean happy dog. :) and i know you guys say you can’t smell your dogs, but your houses must stink to someone not used to a dog smell, and to let them on your furniture with no bathing in weeks or months ?!? that’s disgusting…

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    1. I bathe my Shihtze sometimes 2-3 times a week and rinse his feet dailey. He sleeps in my bed and I can’t have a dirty pooch in my bed and he is white. I try not to let his coat get dingy.

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    2. Did you notice how your hairmaker or barber is always complimenting you on your hair and beard too?

      This is just what beauty people do. I am glad your dog is healthy now. Just like people, every animal is an individual and requires individual treatment, has specific intolerances and preferences. But unlike people they can’t properly communicate their intolerances and we decide for them.

      I just can’t believe so many dogs are profiting from getting weekly or monthly baths, there must be some with serious underlying skin diseases or allergies but most dogs are normal and healthy and the dry skin and allergies are actually a result of the treatment they get from their owners. Sorry but that is my experience as a dog owner myself and knowing the whole spectrum of good and bad (far, far more numerous) pet owners over the decades.

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  35. I have a little 12 year old white dog..stays in the house he gets his bath at least twice a week.. No dirty dog in my house!!!

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