How Often to Bathe Your Dogs?

by Manya Vaish

The cleaner you keep your dogs, the healthier they remain! Bathing your dog’s isn’t just helpful in maintaining their hygiene, it also gives you a chance to check for unusual scratches, fleas, bumps, or other abnormalities they might be facing. However, how frequently you need to bathe them differs on various factors including- their breed, lifestyle, length of coat, and more.

There is no exact science that can be applied to the bathing of every single dog. If you have a healthy dog with a short and smooth coat and no skin problems you won’t be required to bathe them often. Even so, it’s best for both you and your pooch to bathe them once a month. Bathing them more than once a week can lead to the risk of stripping natural oil from their fur (making it unhealthy).

Your dog's bathing frequency depends on the number of times they go out. These are the factors which affect the frequency of bathing your dogs-

  1. If your dogs spend most of their time indoors or outdoors.
  2. Their coat/skin type.
  3. If they have sensitive skin, allergies, or other health conditions.
  4. Based on their lifestyle.
Bathing Dogs Infographics
  • Staying Indoors/Outdoors 

  • If your dog spends most of their time indoors, you need not bathe them often as dog’s who sit home are less prone to catching any bad odor or dirt. So, bathing them once a week is the best suggestion. However, if your dog spends more time playing outdoors they might need a bath every two weeks. The reason is - dogs who go out often catch more dirt in their fur and might smell bad after a few days. So, to get rid of any such smell and dirt, they need to be washed more frequently. 

  • Coat/Skin Type

  • The type of coat your dogs have is extremely important in determining how often they require a bath. Long and curly-haired dogs generally need to bathe and groom regularly (at least once every four to six weeks) with proper brushing. While short-haired breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, etc. do not require bathing often as long as they are healthy and are not facing any skin problems.

    Factors that affect bathing dogs

    Photo by Abbie Love on Unsplash

    But what if you have a breed that has no hair?

    Well, hairless breeds like Chinese crested dogs, who do not have a coat and thus lack skin protection, need to be bathed weekly. Similarly, dogs who tend to have oily skin, like Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels, also need a frequent bath to prevent oil buildup on their skin.

    Thick or double coat breeds should not be bathed regularly as over-bathing could strip too much oil from their skin. Give them less bath and extra brushing to get rid of loose, dead hair, and help distribute the natural oil to keep their fur healthy.

  • Sensitive Skin, Allergies, or Other Health Conditions

  • While the frequency of bathing may be different for each dog, the golden rule is- to bathe them every four weeks!

    If your dog suffers from any health conditions, skin allergies, or other problems, your vet might suggest you use a medicated shampoo. And the bathing frequency can also vary. Dogs with itchy skin may also find comfort in regular baths. Also, if your dogs have environmental allergies like grass, soil, etc., bathing should be done more often to remove any kind of allergens from their skin and fur. However, this might not be the case always.

    If your dog suffers from any skin allergies or health problems, it is always better to consult your vet. Some dogs have skin problems that make them prone to requiring a bath less frequently. So, always speak with your vet to establish a proper bathing schedule that will work best for your dog’s body.

  • Their Lifestyle

  • Your dog’s lifestyle is an important factor to determine how frequently they should be groomed and bathed. Dogs who stay indoors rather than rolling out in the mud are cleaner than the ones hunting in muddy waters, digging holes, and playing in the parks.

    If you have a working and hyper dog, you need to give them a wash more often. However, if you have a cuddle bug who stays at home and goes out rarely, you need not give them a frequent bath. As dogs who go out have more chances of carrying in fleas, parasites, or other problems. 

    Why Do You Need to Bathe Your Dogs?

    Bathing your dogs is an essential part of ongoing grooming and good hygiene. Of course, bathing helps to eliminate unwanted smells, dirt, and germs your dog collects through happy walks and romps through the environment. However, it also gives you a chance to give your pooch a rudimentary check-over and keep them free of parasites, worms, lumps, or fleas.

    The benefits of bathing your dogs can include- cleaning their skin and coat to remove loose hair, scale, and debris and thus improve the fur quality and hair coat shine. Also, this is the best way to get rid of any dirt or bad odor your pooch might have accumulated. For dogs having specific skin issues, bathing may be a part of their medical treatment as recommended by the vet.

    How to Bathe Your Dogs?

    Bathing your dogs isn’t as easy as bathing yourself. Your dogs would run away, jump, and make it tough for you to handle them. So, it is necessary to be aware of the proper steps before doing so.

    Decide where to bathe your dogs

    Where to wash your dogs varies depending on individual circumstances-

  • Outdoors

  • If you have a medium to large-sized dog, you can prefer bathing them outdoors (in your backyard on the ground). This way, you won’t need to lift them up. Also, if your dog jumps out of the tub too much, bathing them outdoors is the right choice.

  • Bathtub/dog tub

  • If you have a small dog breed or your dog doesn’t create a fuss while bathing, you can bathe them indoors in a bathing tub/dog tub. You can also apply non-slip mats around the tub and bath area to avoid slipping and injuries.

    Bathing dogs at home

    Photo by benjamin lehman on Unsplash 

    Choose the correct shampoo

    Use a shampoo specifically formulated for dogs. As the pH balance of human skin is different and shampoos made for you can dry out their coat and skin. So, avoid using any other shampoo than dog shampoo as they may get irritations. Dish soaps should also be avoided unless advised by your vets for specific reasons such as - grease or oil-based toxins or sap.

    If your dog has healthy skin and coat, choose a mild and gentle hypoallergenic shampoo. However, if your dog is facing any skin conditions, it is better to take advice from your vet.

    You can also apply a mild and gentle hypoallergenic rinse-out conditioner to prevent dryness after shampooing. You can test a small amount of products to be used to make sure your dogs don’t face any irritations - else talk to your vet and switch the products.

    Dog Bathing Steps

    Bathing your dogs at home isn’t a tough task if you follow the right steps-

    • Brush them before the bath to remove excess fur that would otherwise prevent the shampoo from penetrating all the way down to their skin.
    • Apply the shampoo and use your fingers to make it work through your pup’s fur.
    • Rinse thoroughly until the water runs clean of dirt and shampoo bubbles. (Always use lukewarm water)
    • Dry them well after wash to get rid of all the moisture.
    • Brush the after bath to remove any extra dead fur and detangle their coat.

    At last, give them a treat for good work and cooperation!

    When to See A Groomer?

    If wrestling your dog to the bathtub and giving them a proper bath seems tough, then do what many pet parents opt for - take them to a groomer. 

    Besides bathing your dogs, groomers will also clip their nails, express anal glands, trim near the eyes, blow-dry, and brush their teeth if requested. So, if bathing your fur buddy at home is not your cup of tea, always book an appointment with a groomer and get your dogs a good “spaw day”. 

    Simple steps for bathing your dogs at home

    Image by angel1238812 from Pixabay 

    Visiting a groomer is also recommended if your dog’s coat is heavily matted or if they need a medicated shampoo soak, have fleas, or are too difficult to bath at home. This will save both your time and effort!


    Dogs don’t really need to be bathed regularly and that’s a good thing as most of them hate bathing. Follow the simple steps and try bathing them at home. If it becomes fussy and your dog doesn’t cooperate, take them to a groomer. However, if your dogs show patience, always reward them with a treat so that they are ready to take a bath again without being annoying.

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