How often should you bath your dog?

Bathing your dog imageNot everything is straight forward when it comes to dog ownership. One of the common questions that arises from new dog owners is regarding bathing their pets. How much is too much, or not enough?

How frequently should your dog be cleaned?
In order to maintain their basic hygiene and grooming standards, dogs do need to be bathed from time to time.

Not only does it keep them smelling fresh and looking clean, but it can also help to keep on top of any fungal and bacterial problems that could arise from infrequent bathing habits.

There are several factors that determine how frequently you should clean your own particular dog. For instance, if your dog has long hair then it might be more likely to pick up dirt and debris than a short haired dog. If it spends a lot of time outdoors and likes to dig holes than it might also need bathing more frequently. Equally, your dog might have health problems such as skin allergies which might also play into how frequently you need to bathe it.

As a rule of thumb though, it is usually recommended that you bathe your dog at least once every three months and at the most every other week. You should try not to over-bath your dog as it may inhibit the natural oils they produce, and cause irritation to their skin, but if your dog is particularly dirty or smelly then just use your judgement as to whether it needs to be cleaned again. You should also try and inspect your dogs coat every few days to lookout for any changes like missing patches of hair, cuts or ticks and this will give you a good idea of the urgency for a bath.

How to bathe your dog
If this is your first time bathing your dog then there are a few things to remember. First of all, make sure that you have everything you need laid out by the bath within easy reach. Let the water run on your hand to make sure it’s not too hot or cold. Next, splash and pour water over your dog until they are wet all over and begin massaging through their fur. Now, begin to lather your dog in shampoo (dog specific brands only) and work all the suds through their fur making sure not to get any in their eyes or mouth. Now rinse them down until all the residue from the shampoo has gone. Allow your dog to shake off excess water and then rub them down and begin drying them with a towel. Don’t forget to keep the bathroom door firmly shut until they are dry!

For more tips on dog care, training, behaviour therapy and more please visit our articles page which is full of free advice.

About the author

Dr Shahad Mohammed
Veterinary Physiotherapist
National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists