How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?

How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?

Posted by Volhard Dog Nutrition on Mar 31st 2023

Christine and her dog, Lucy, just returned from their weekly hiking trip. The few hours spent in the great wilderness, listening to the birds chirping and breathing in the fresh mountain air, was just what she needed after a busy workweek. Everything was running smoothly until someone couldn't say no to jumping into a stinky puddle of mud. Quite a treat for Lucy, but not for Christine's nostrils. That's right — it's time for someone to take a bath!

Pet parents often have a hard time gauging when to bathe their dogs. We're so used to showering almost daily that we believe the same applies to our canine friends. However, that's not the case. Bathing your dog too often will do more harm than good, particularly to their skin. That is why most experts recommend a thorough bath once every three months. Bathing frequency differs from dog to dog, based on their coat type, activity levels, and the presence of skin conditions.

Some dog parents delay bath time as much as possible because their dogs dislike water. If your dog dashes away at the sight of bathtubs, today's article will teach you how to transform bath time into a fun experience!

Bathing Frequency Rests Upon Various Factors

The following three factors come into play when planning a bathing schedule for a dog: coat type, activity levels, and the presence of skin conditions.

Coat Type

First, let's look at your dog's hairline. Right off the bat, we're tempted to reach a straightforward conclusion: the thicker the coat, the more bathing required. And there's some merit to this belief since long hair traps more dirt and debris. However, things are not so simple. For example, hairless breeds (such as Chinese Crested Dogs and Xoloitzcuintlis) and dogs with oily skin require more extensive care than some long-haired breeds. Likewise, the Puli breed, although long-haired, is less demanding than a Maltese or a Collie. The same goes for other thick or double-coated breeds, like Huskies, Labs, and Golden Retrievers, who would benefit from more frequent baths.

Activity Level

Next, consider your dog's activity level — the more lively and energetic they are, the more you'll need to bathe them. A furball of energy will more likely dig holes or swim at the doggy park, as opposed to a couch potato slouching on your lap. With more time spent outdoors comes more frequent bathing.

Allergies and Skin Conditions

Your dog's bath frequency can also be influenced by allergies and skin conditions. Dogs who deal with such issues often require more frequent baths with oatmeal or medicated shampoo to relieve the discomfort.

Be Sure to Bathe Your Dog Regularly

Considering all of these factors, we recommend giving your dog a bath at least once every three months. If you think that's not often enough, you can wash your dog as frequently as every other week with gentle dog shampoo or even just give them a thorough rinse. Let your nose be the judge of how often to bathe your dog. A musky, unpleasant odor coming from your furry friend means it's time to draw your dog a bath.

Can You Wash Your Dog With Human Shampoo?

Human shampoo and your dog's skin do not go well together. That's because human and canine skin differs in pH (i.e., the skin's acidity) and because human shampoos contain numerous chemicals that dogs don't need on their bodies. Instead, look for chemical and paraben-free shampoo options, such as 4-Legger, which get the job done without causing skin problems.

How to Properly Bathe Your Dog

Bathing your dog is all about approaching the experience with the right mindset. Instead of considering it an unpleasant necessity (not all dog parents are patient enough to bathe an anxious dog), turn every bath time into a fun, pleasant experience. This is quality time you get to spend with your furry friend! And as long as you approach it with patience and a positive mindset, both you and your dog will have a blast!

What to Have on Hand Before You Bathe a Dog

You're going to have your hands full once your dog is wet, so it's best to have everything on hand. You don't want to leave your dog alone in the bathtub, especially if they can't get out of the tub — the anxiety caused by your absence might lead to an accident! So have a clean towel, a cup for rinsing (if necessary), and some reward treats ready in advance.

Keep an Eye on the Water Temperature

As with our babies, you need to check the water temperature, so you don't accidentally burn your dog's skin. Dip your wrist or elbow in the water to appropriately gauge the temperature. You may like bathing in hot water, but that's not necessarily the case for your dog, so be sure to start them off with lukewarm water.

Tips to Make You and Your Dog's Life Easier

  1. Put a rubber, non-stick bath mat on the bottom of the tub (Bathtubs can be slippery, making it hard for your dog to stand up and be still without hurting themselves.)
  2. Distract your dog with yummy treats (Lickimats are a fantastic way to distract your dog during baths. Stick the Lickimat to the side of the tub and put peanut butter on it. This tasty treat will keep your dog distracted enough for you to bathe them.)
  3. Put cotton balls into your dog's ears (Cotton balls block out water very gently, helping dogs who are predisposed to ear infections.)
  4. Follow a clear pattern when it's time to rinse (Start from the feet and work your way up to the head. This approach will keep the soap from dripping into your dog's eyes and cuts down on shaking.)
  5. Find ways to relieve your dog's bath anxiety (CBD treats and natural oils will help soothe your dog's anxiety and turn bath time into a relaxing experience.)

Don't Forget About Brushing Your Dog!

Many dog owners frequently overlook brushing their dog's coat. However, ridding the coat of tangles and excess hair will only make bath time a more pleasant experience. Furthermore, it calms your dog down and moves the lymphatic fluid through their body. This way, you're preparing loose hairs and dead skin cells to be washed away! Regular brushing will also help keep your dog's coat free from parasites, spread out natural skin oils across the hair follicles, and prevent the coat from becoming matted.

Turn Regular Bathing Into a Fun, Pleasant Experience!

Regular baths are a core part of a healthy dog's routine — there's no way around them. Unfortunately, not all dogs cherish bath time, and for those who don't, bathing seems to be an unending ordeal! However, with enough patience and dedication, dogs will learn to see bath time as quality time with their parents and something to actually look forward to! For more advice on dog nutrition, health, and training, make sure that you contact us and check out our blog!

Volhard Dog Nutrition and its expert nutritionists are now offering online consultations to help more dog parents discover why, what, and how to feed their dogs the healthiest of foods! Speaking to a Volhard nutritionist will help you understand the inseparable relationship between healthy food, a healthy body, and a healthy mind. If you're interested in contacting one of our Volhard nutritionists, don't hesitate to access our consultation page!

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