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).