Dr. Joyce Ashamalla
Dr. Joyce Ashamalla is the managing partner at Hinsdale Animal Hospital with Kremer Veterinary Service, as well as a partner at CARE Animal Emergency Hospital. She received her BS in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois- Champaign Urbana, where she also completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2007. She is AO certified, USDA-APHIS accredited, and is a member of the CVMA, ISVMA, AVMA.
You and your beloved dog are sitting on the couch together as you happily rub her head and belly. Out of nowhere, it hits you. Your furry companion has become a little stinky, and you realize it’s been a while since her last bath. There is often confusion about how often to bathe a dog and it seems there are plenty of opinions on the matter.
The good news is that there isn’t a definitive right or wrong answer on how often to bathe your dog. In this post we will discover that bathing a dog is actually based on many factors. But with a little research and common sense, you will be able to find the right bathing schedule for your special pooch.
What Factors Go Into A Dog’s Bathing Schedule?
Dogs come in many different sizes, breeds, ages and conditions. Here are some of the factors to consider when thinking about bathing a dog:
• Breed – Your dog’s breed will have a big influence on how much you need to bathe them. Dogs have many different types of coats. Some dogs have coats that are long, short, wiry, or curly. Depending on the type of coat that your dog has, it may require more bathing or in some cases less. In addition, some breeds can develop skin conditions from being given a bath more often than needed – due to a loss of needed oil in the skin.
• Lifestyle - Does your dog stay in the clean house all day, or does she love to go into the yard and play in the dirt? If she falls into the latter category, obviously more frequent bathing will be in order. If your dog is white and has a thing for mud puddles, then she will be spending more time in the bathtub.
• Dog Skin Conditions – Dog skin conditions are an important factor in deciding how often to bathe a dog. If your pooch is suffering from any skin conditions, this could affect how many times you should bathe them, as some skin issues may require more bathing, others less. Your vet can advise on how often to bathe your dog, and which type of medicated shampoo to use.
Is Dog Grooming Just As Important As Bathing?
The answer is yes! Regular dog grooming should be a normal part of your pet’s life. So even if your dog hates the bathtub it’s important to work on making them more comfortable when it’s time to get clean. Dogs with short coats should be brushed on a regular basis, but this is especially true for dogs with long or very thick coats. Regular brushing can help prevent these kinds of coats from getting matted, which can be a real problem if allowed to get out of control. There are even special brushes/tools available (like the Furminator) to help minimize shedding. Brushing your dog outside on a nice day is a great way to keep the house cleaner, too. Your local groomer can give you tips on the best types of brushes for your dog, depending on his or her coat.
Ok, So What Do I Do?
If you are still confused about how often to bathe or groom your dog, don’t worry you are not alone. There are many factors that go into the right answer about bathing a dog. As a general rule, professionals say that most dogs can be bathed about every 6 weeks, but not more than once per month. Your vet can give you specific guidance on the best bathing and dog grooming schedule for your dog based on her breed, lifestyle, health and other factors. Some dogs can be bathed or groomed at home, where as others will need to go to the vet or professional groomer for these services.
What if My Dog Hates Bath Time?
There’s a couple strategies owners can try if their dog hates bath time. First and foremost it’s important to start giving baths at a young age in order to get your puppy accustomed to bathing. If that’s not possible and your dog is older, start small and let her get comfortable with the sound of running water and just getting her paws wet. Bring a positive attitude to the situation, and praise her for bravely facing the tub (you can even give her some treats!). Going for a long walk first can also help, as your dog will have less pent-up energy to put up a fight.
All loving dog owners want to keep their pooches as happy and healthy as possible. In order to be sure that you are giving your dog exactly what she needs, work with your vet concerning bathing a dog. It’s a win-win for the whole family!