As a dog owner washing your dog is either one of two things – an absolute pleasure, or a total nightmare. Dogs either love or hate bath time, but for many, there will be need of one at some point. Of course, it can be difficult to determine how often you should wash your dog, especially when there are so many breeds and coat types out there.
A lot of it depends on the dog, as well as whether or not they are prone to rolling around in the unthinkable.
In this guide, we ask the question of how often you should wash your dog, helping you to make informed and educated choices.
How Often Should You Bathe your Dog?
There is a simple answer to this question, and it’s that dogs technically don’t need to be bathed.
Of course, if they roll in something disgusting, a good wash means that they become more pleasant to be around. However, bathing has no benefits other than removing unpleasantness from their fur.
Some people choose to wash their dogs once a week, and for some breeds, this is ok to do. Dogs like Yorkies, Afghans, and Maltese do not have an undercoat, meaning that weekly washing shouldn’t cause too much damage to their coat, aside from a little dryness over time.
Weekly bathing can also help dogs who suffer from allergies, as it means that you can wash them away before they penetrate the skin.
Many outdoor allergens end up clinging to your dog’s fur, taking time to penetrate the skin. Of course, there are also those that enter through the nose, eyes, and ears, but relieving them of the skin allergens can help to reduce overall irritation.
Breeds like Malamutes, Labradors, Vallhund’s, and Huskies all have undercoats as well as a waterproof layer.
Their coats are good at repelling dirt, which means that you can get away with washing them no more than once a month. Overwashing can cause the removal of their waterproof layer.
Some dogs go their whole lives without being washed, and they have no complaints. A lot of it is down to the owner and what they think is best for your dog.
Remember that weekly washing can cause hair to become dry and coarse, but also keep in mind that your dog needs to be dried thoroughly after a bath to help prevent health conditions later in life.
How Often Should You Wash Your Puppy?
Puppies are a little different to full-grown dogs. One of the most important things to remember as a dog owner is that your puppy’s experiences in the first two weeks of their life with you should all be positive ones.
This is because they are at their most impressionable, and bad experiences can cause them to form a fearful personality as they grow.
Introduce your puppy to the concept of bath time calmly, but also with a lot of praise. Don’t make the water too cold, but also ensure that it is not hot.
A lukewarm temperature is best. It is natural for them to be a little nervous at first, so encourage them gently with praise and treats. Never force them to stay in the bathing area if they become frightened – small steps work best over time.
Much like dogs, it is important to remember that they don’t necessarily need to be bathed. For puppies, in particular, there shouldn’t be a need to wash them other than to introduce them to the concept of bath time once or twice while they are growing up.
Even with introducing them to the washing area, it’s best to only use water and no shampoo so that you don’t cause any damage to their coat, or any reactions with their skin.
Until a puppy is running free in the fields and on walks, they shouldn’t really end up getting so dirty that you need to bathe your dog.
A good brush after a walk should release any trapped dirt and debris effectively, and it also means that they can spend time getting used to the idea of brushing their coats and being groomed on a regular basis. Being washed, especially with shampoo, should only be reserved for rolling in poo and other mess.
When to Call the Professionals
Sometimes, you just need to call out the grooming professionals to take over bathing. After all, washing your dog is so much more than just lathering them in shampoo and then giving it a quick rinse afterwards.
You need to take the coat type into consideration, as well as whether or not they have sensitive skin.
At home, you might not really notice the difference when it comes to dog coats, but a professional groomer can.
They have been trained to carefully assess the situation so that they can use the right product on your dog. If you use the wrong product, you can cause damage to your dog’s coat over time – causing the hair to become coarse instead of soft.
In breeds that have a waterproof topcoat, over-shampooing can cause the natural oils to be removed, leaving them with a damaged waterproof layer.
Of course, sometimes we don’t have the time to spend washing our dogs, and letting a groomer do it can take some weight off your shoulders.
Never Use Human Shampoo
It may not cross your mind that human shampoo is not suitable for use on dogs. Even if you have come home from a walk and your dog smells like a rubbish truck, you cannot use human shampoo if you have run out of the doggy stuff.
What’s the reason for this? It’s all to do with the pH balance of your dog’s skin and ensuring that you don’t alter it. Dog shampoo is designed to keep things balanced, whereas human shampoo will throw things off completely.
This can cause bacteria, viruses, and parasites to thrive on their skin, causing them to become ill.
If we look at the pH scale in general, it ranges from 0-14. Levels of less than 6.4 are considered acid, and levels over 6.4 are considered alkaline.
For humans, the pH range is 5.2 to 6.2, meaning that out shampoo and skin products tend to be on the acidic side. For dogs, the scale is 5.5 to 7.5, which means their products tend to be more alkaline.
Read Here: Best Dog Soap for Baths
Top Dog Shampoos
Here are some of the dog shampoos that we think are absolutely fantastic. Take a look and see if your dog could benefit from any of these great brands.
Animology Fox Poo Shampoo
When our dog rolls in fox poo, hearts sink because it can be so hard to get rid of the smell.
Usually, it means that they have to be washed ketchup or tomato juice, but Animology has changed all of that with this revolutionary shampoo.
It is easy to rinse and has a balanced pH for your pet’s comfort. It is suitable for all types of coat as well, which is great when you are struggling to find a shampoo.
Puppies and dogs alike can benefit from this inexpensive and genius product.
Groom Professional Baby Fresh Shampoo
After washing your dog, there is little more refreshing than the scent of baby powder.
Clean and fresh, you know your dog has been scrubbed well when it comes out smelling like that. This shampoo contains aloe Vera, nourishing the coat and skin for a healthy glow.
It leaves your dog feeling soft and plush, and is also suitable for all breeds, as well as pooches of all ages.
With natural deep cleaners that break down dirt and remove debris from the coat, your dog will be sparkling after a wash with this affordable shampoo.
Pet Head Dirty Talk
From the creators of Bed Head shampoo (for humans), this orange scented shampoo will leave your dog with a wonderfully fresh citrus odour once they have been thoroughly scrubbed.
It’s perfect for pooches that love nothing more than rolling in smelly mess – from deer urine to poo, you’re covered with a bottle of this.
This shampoo is pH balanced, and also contains no chemicals, which means your dog won’t find themselves with sore and irritated skin.
Plus, if your dog licks it, they won’t come to any harm. The odour is completely healthy and neutralised by the baking soda in the ingredients, and the price per bottle is an absolute bargain.
Hopefully, this guide has given you some insight with regards to how often you should wash your dog.
It’s important to remember that dogs don’t necessarily need to be bathed, especially if they don’t smell, and that puppies often don’t need regular baths.
Before you wash your dog and use shampoo, make sure that you are using methods and products that are suitable both for their breed and their coat.
What did you think of our dog washing guide? Is there any advice that you would have added? We love hearing from you, so feel free to leave a message in the comments below.
For over a decade, Adrienne has been a freelance content writer and blogger who’s passion lies in anything related to dogs. Growing up, dogs were a very important part of family life in the Hardwick household. Now, Adrienne is the proud parent to two Swedish Vallhunds called Moose and Pumpkin.