Most people take a bath every day or every other day. For us two-legged creatures, a single bath a year just doesn’t cut it. But how often do our dogs really need to be washed with shampoo and water?
The answer depends quite a bit on your dog’s breed and personality and how comfortable he is with water and being bathed.
In other words, it’s not a one-size fits all solution. Some dog owners wash their dogs regularly, while others give them a bath only if the dog has rolled in some dirt (or worse!) or smells bad.
Breeds and needs
If you want to wash your dog regularly, once a month is a good rule of thumb. It has previously been the opinion that you should not wash your dog too often, because it removes their fur’s natural layer of fat.
However, some breeds actually benefit from cleaning their coat when it gets too greasy. This may be the case, for example, with basset hounds. Dogs with short fur (e.g., beagles) or with water-repellent fur (golden retrievers) do not need a bath as often. Dogs with thick fur are better off getting brushed to get rid of dirt and excess hair.
Health or beauty?
There can be various reasons for washing your dog more often. As mentioned above, it can simply depend on the breed. But it can also be for health reasons. For example, dogs with allergies benefit from being washed with a good and gentle dog shampoo to get the allergens washed out of their coat. It can also counteract irritated skin and dry fur. Dogs with allergy can be bathed 1-4 times a month as needed.
Some dogs will look neater after a bath, which can also help keep their coat free of knots.
If you are a frequent dog show exhibitor it goes without saying that it may be necessary to bathe your dog regularly, so that the coat is clean and shiny, and your dog looks his best.
How do I bathe my dog?
- Brush her to work out the knots and get rid of dead skin cells and loose fur.
- Use lukewarm water (put down a non-slip mat if washing her on a slippery surface.)
- Praise, praise, praise! :-)
- You can fill a sink or a bath up to your dog’s knees or you can shower your dog.
- Massage gentle (dog) shampoo all over her body - never use regular shampoo.
- If necessary, use a sponge or cloth on her head and avoid shampoo in the eyes (we all know how that stings!). Also avoid water in the ears.
- Rinse thoroughly. All the shampoo needs to get out of the coat so your dog does not itch.
- Dry your dog with towels. If your dog is really fancy, there are actual dog bathrobes.
The most important thing if you want to wash your dog more often, is to make it feel safe. No stress or scolding. Only words of praise and a positive attitude.
You know your dog best, so you will need to find a method that makes the bath bearable if your dog is not super fond of water.