Stinky! Stinky! Does your dog smell? If so, it’s time to bathe your dog! You might wonder how often should you wash your dog, and the answer is a bit complicated. There are a variety of factors that come into play when deciding the right amount of times to wash your dog per month.
Typically, most dogs should be bathed at least once per month. However, activity level, breed, and skin conditions can determine the frequency. Breeds such as the Labradoodles, Basset Hound, and Newfoundland have oily coats that tend to stink if they aren’t bathed regularly.
Generally, indoor dogs that rarely see the outdoors can go longer without bathing compared to those that love their daily walks and visits to the dog park. Also, if you have a pup that likes to roll around in the mud every chance they get, they will need frequent bathing.
There are a variety of reasons to bathe your dog but the most important is to keep your dog’s coat and skin clean as well as prevent the spread of bacteria throughout your house.
The following information will explain why you need to bathe your dog and it will help you determine how many times a month is appropriate for your dog.
How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?
Why You Need to Bathe Your Dog
Pet parents who are exhausted from chasing their dog around to get their dog to take a bath often wonder if bathing them is really necessary. While most dogs will be happy being dirty and scruffy, it’s important to bathe your dog to maintain healthy skin, remove bacteria and prevent infections from forming.
Dogs that live in the wild bathe in the rain to cool them down, wash the debris, dirt, and bacteria away as well as nurture their skin. They also bathe themselves by swimming in pools and splashing around in lakes, ponds, and other freshwater sources. While all this bathing is a natural process, they actually require more care they can’t get without having a human owner.
For example, dogs need their ears cleaned, teeth brushed, coat scrubbed with shampoo and conditioner plus much more. However wild dogs seem capable of getting by with just natural water sources but unfortunately, their life span is not as long as domestic dogs due to skin infections getting out of control and other issues related to poor bathing habits.
Another important reason you need to wash your dog is to prevent the spread of bacteria throughout your home. It often comes to the surprise of many dog owners when they are told their dog’s paws are filthy and filled with invisible bacteria that get spread throughout the house.
For example, remember the last time you took your dog for a walk and think about how many dirty areas your dog stepped in before arriving home. Chances are they stepped in the dirt, puddles, feces, urine, and other filthy areas.
Now, think about what your dog did when they entered your home after the walk. Did they jump on the couch to cozy up in their favorite spot? Did they go play with the kids in their room?
Did your dog jump on your bed and scratch the covers to find that perfect sweet spot to cuddle up and take a nap? If so, your dog spread bacteria they picked up from their walk and put it all over your house including your furniture.
This means when you and your family sit on the sofa, sleep in the bed and touch any other surface your dog touched, you are coming into contact with germs and bacteria which can lead to skin infections and illness.
Bathing your dog and keeping their paws clean after walks is essential to maintaining a healthy happy dog and a bacteria-free home.
When to Bathe Your Dog
Your dog needs oil to maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat. Over bathing your dog can strip it of moisture and lead to dry flaky skin that feels uncomfortable and itchy. Bathing your dog once per month is a general recommendation. However, it’s up to you as a pet parent to determine additional times that suit your dog’s needs.
The following are times you should consider bathing your dog:
- Flea and tick season
- Your dog rolled around in the mud
- After a hike in the woods
- When your dog steps in feces and urine
- Any time your dog has a sticky substance stuck to its coat
- You have an outdoor dog that gets dirty easily
What Products to Use
Consider your dog’s current skin condition when choosing a bathing product for your dog. Does your dog have well-balanced skin? Dry itchy skin? Or irritated skin with redness?
You can easily observe the condition of your dog’s skin by gently running your hand in the opposite direction their coat grows. Doing this in slow motion will reveal their skin and allow you to look for red spots, irritation, flakes, and dryness.
The following products are popular choices:
- Shampoo and conditioner that contains natural and organic ingredients
- Colloidal oatmeal shampoo
- Tearless shampoo and conditioner
- Veterinary formula clinical care shampoo and conditioner
- Honey and lavender-scented shampoo and conditioner
- Hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner
- Deodorizing spray
- Anti-itch formula shampoo and conditioner
- pH balanced shampoo and conditioner
- Paraben-free options
- Oat flour and honey formulas
- Stain removing shampoo and conditioner
- Allergy relief shampoo and conditioner
- Aloe Vera and botanical extract formula shampoo and conditioner
- Antibacterial and Antifungal formulas
- Sensitive skin shampoo
- Medicated shampoo and conditioner
- Anti-flea and tick shampoo and conditioner
- Dandruff shampoo and conditioner
How to Bathe Your Dog
Bathing your dog is a bonding experience with your pet and it is best done in a calm environment such as a bathroom, kitchen sink, or outdoor areas such as a patio or yard. Put some classical music on and make sure your dog won’t be startled by noises or other family members coming into the bathing area.
Follow the steps below to ensure your dog has a clean coat and skin:
- Brush your dog’s coat using a slicker or bristle brush or comb
- Remove tangles, knots, and mats before the bath begins
- Use lukewarm water on your dog’s coat
- Use the pet shampoo of your choice to scrub and bathe your dog’s coat
- Rinse well with lukewarm water
- Towel dry
- Blow-dry but make sure you are away from any water sources to prevent electrocution
- Allow your dog to air dry
- Reward your dog for behaving well during their bath with a tasty treat
Some helpful tips during the bathing process include:
- Speaking to your dog in a soft voice while explaining the bathing process
- Singing softly to your dog to keep them calm
- Add plastic or rubber floating toys when bathing your dog in a bathtub as a pleasant distraction
- Put classical music on to soothe your dog’s nerves
- Start bathing your dog from a young age so they become familiar with the process
- Allow your dog to air dry on a screened-in patio for optimal ventilation (during the summer months only)
Bathing your dog with the right products that are ideal for their sensitive skin is the first step in making the bathing experience beneficial for your pet. Dog shampoo and conditioner will soothe the skin, prevent dryness, create a shiny coat, remove dirt and make your dog smell great!
Every dog lives its own lifestyle and needs to be bathed to maintain healthy skin and a clean coat. Creating a calming environment for bath time and adding a few toys to make it fun will help your dog enjoy the experience and prevent them from putting up a fight when bath time arrives.
Keep in mind your dog might need a few extra bath time sessions when they are outdoors and get dirty. It’s ok for the amount of time your dog is bathed per month changes and fluctuates because it’s determined by daily life habits. For example, your dog might need to be bathed more often during the summer months compared to the winter months.
Your goal as a pet parent is to find the perfect balance between a clean coat and healthy skin while at the same time preventing the over washing!