a white dog being rinsed in the bathtub

How Often Should You Really Bathe Your Dog?

So many of us welcome a new dog into our lives and are left with tons of questions about their care. Just like people, dogs don’t come with an instruction manual so we are left to figure it out. One of the most popular questions that I receive is “How often should I bathe my dog?”. There are many factors that influence the answer to this question but I can say confidently that most dogs will do well being bathed every three weeks.

Take into account these 3 important factors

Muddy golden retriever

Lifestyle- What does your dog do most of the day? Are they running around in woods, fields, and streams or are they sitting pretty in a high rise most of the time? How dirty they get plays an important role in determining your bathing routine. If your dog comes home covered in dirt and gross scents then you will probably end up having to bathe them more often than every 3 weeks. If your pup stays fairly clean and doesn’t smell then stick to the 3-week schedule. I’m a big fan of the bathing machine that we use here at K9K Fanatics. If you have a dog who is prone to getting messy and needs to be bathed frequently or if you have multiple dogs and you need to cut down on the amount of time that it takes, as well as the physical burden of bathing them then it’s definitely going to rock your world.

Coat Type – As I always say, different coats require different care. I really can’t stress that enough when it comes to grooming. This article at The Spruce Pets has a great breakdown of the different kinds of coats that dogs have.

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Dogs with wiry coats don’t need to be groomed as often. Their coats naturally repel water. Other dogs like those with little to no hair often end up having the most maintenance. And then all of those pups who are part poodle will need to be washed and conditioned every few weeks to prevent matting. If you have a golden retriever or another breed with a double coat, keep in mind that you might have to up their bathing schedule during periods of frequent shedding. Baths remove all that loose hair that you would otherwise find covering every inch of your couch and floors. 

clean dog laying in bed with stuffed animal

Sensitivities  – If your dog has especially sensitive skin or a particular skin condition then you will want to follow the advice of their vet when it comes to the frequency of bathing. Lots of dogs have skin way more sensitive than our own and/or allergies so it’s best to pay close attention to the products you are using on your dog, as well as how often you are bathing them. Shampoos made for dogs or shampoos designed for human babies are great options. Be sure to include a conditioner in the bathing process. It protects the skin and hair after shampoo removes the natural barrier. 

What if I’m bathing my dog too frequently?

That’s ok. When you know better you do better, so try to space it out moving forward. I found myself in this situation with my first dog. I thought I was so on top of his care and took tons of pride in bathing him at least once a week. He was constantly itchy. I ended up taking him to the vet where they gave me some suggestions including, loosening up his bathing schedule. Well, it worked! His skin evened out and I noticed he spent way less time scratching and licking himself. I became a groomer a few years later and witnessed similar issues from many of the pups I was grooming. Now I typically stick to the 3 week guideline and advise my clients to do the same.

grey dog being rinsed

You need to be careful not to remove all of their natural oils by bathing them too much. You don’t want to dry out their skin and make them unnecessarily itchy. Be sure to use a conditioner. It helps prevent dry skin and hair. One of the best things about dogs is that they aren’t people! Their skin can’t handle multiple baths each week. Keep that in mind and it will help give you clarity on how often to bathe them. Their skin can’t handle multiple baths each week.

A Few More Tips

It’s ok if your dog Spot smells like a dog! Our pups do have their own particular smell and that’s how it should be! They aren’t meant to smell like people. In fact, I caution against using products with a strong scent. After all, dogs have an amazing sense of smell and we want to be cognizant of that. We don’t enjoy smelling super strong perfume for prolonged periods and neither do your pups. So a little bit of a scent goes a long way when it comes to our beloved pets. 

As with all the steps in the grooming process, do your best to keep things as low stress as possible. The beauty of grooming your dogs at home is the ability to keep your dog relaxed and comfortable. They feel safest when they are with you! You will ultimately cherish these memories with your dog and your pup will enjoy the massage that he receives during bathtime.

Bathing your dog is such a great way to keep an eye on your dog’s physical appearance. The more time you spend physically touching your dog the better. It keeps both of you relaxed and it allows you to notice any new issues that might arise. It’s such a great way to fill that communication gap that can happen between us and our beloved dogs. 

Clean man and dog wearing sunglasses and robes

Three is the magic number when it comes to bathing. Use 3 weeks as a starting point for a bath routine and use the 3 factors above to make adjustments based upon the needs of your dog and you, afterall you know your dog better than anyone! 

The hands down best time to brush your dog is when they have a clean coat. After you’re done bathing grab your handy slicker brush and my Free Brush Like a Pro Infographic and get started.

Click the link and download the Free Brush Like a Pro Infographic. 

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