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The Dog-Bathing Dilemma: How Often Should I Bathe my Dog?

how-often-should-I-bathe-my-dogPeople often ask themselves, “How often should I bathe my dog?” Whether you have your dog bathed by a professional groomer or you undertake the task yourself, it is important to bathe your dog on a sensible schedule to avoid causing problems. Usually, this means bathing your dog about once a month or so, but there are a number of factors you’ll need to consider when deciding on the best bathing schedule for your dog.

We’ll discuss some of the things you’ll need to think about when making these decisions, but we’ll start by examining the problems that can occur with improper bathing schedules.

What Happens If You Don’t Bathe your Dog Frequently Enough?

Failing to wash your dog frequently enough will rarely cause serious health problems, as dogs have a number of behaviors and biological adaptations that help them stay clean. They have oils on their skin which help prevent dirt from sticking to their skin and they spend the better part of the day licking themselves clean.

But, because they tend to roll around on the floor (or in gross things they find outside), dogs can get quite stinky over time. And this is the primary downside to washing your pet too infrequently – he or she will smell terrible.

What Happens If You Bathe Your Dog Too Frequently?

While infrequent bathing may only cause problems for your nose, bathing your pooch too frequently can cause skin and coat problems, as it may wash away your dog’s protective skin oils. Using a shampoo or soap designed for dogs will help reduce the chances of this happening, but it is still wise to maintain a reasonable bathing schedule and avoid overdoing things.

Canine Cleanliness Considerations

While a once-a-month bathing schedule is a good starting point, you’ll want to ask yourself a few key questions before settling on the best one for your dog.

  • Does your dog spend all of his time indoors or does he play outside and roll around in the dirt constantly? The more dirt and debris your dog coats himself in, the more frequently you’ll need to bathe him.
  • Does your dog shed heavily? Bathing your dog can help knock much of the shed hair off his body, which can keep it from coating your floors and furniture.
  • What type of coat does your dog have? While some dogs have coats that won’t be harmed by frequent baths, many can develop matting problems or develop skin rashes if bathed too often.
  • Can you bathe your pet indoors? If you can’t or won’t bathe your dog in your bathtub, you’ll likely have to refrain from bathing him during the cold winter months.

Just be sure to think about these considerations when trying to decide on a bathing schedule for your dog and you probably won’t experience any problems. It is also a good idea to discuss the issue with your vet, who may recommend bathing him more or less often than is typical.

bathing dogTell us about your dog-bathing schedule. Do you prefer to wash your little tail-wagger more or less often than the once-per-month guideline? Let us know all about your dog-bathing habits in the comments below.

Caroline Kellam

Caroline Kellam

Caroline Kellam is the co-owner of PAWSitive Strides Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Services and a huge animal lover. She and her husband, Brian, share their home with six (yes, you read it right, six!) rescued dogs and three cockatiels (one of which was found on a neighbor's roof). She would love to have a cat or two as well, but the dogs (and the birds) will simply not stand for it.
Caroline Kellam

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