Yesterday we posted a picture of Hudson in the bath tub and talked about how important it is to make sure medicated shampoos stay on long enough to have a chance to work. Someone asked a very good question – ” How often should one bathe their dog?”
We thought others might have the same question so we are reposting our response here:
The simple answer is ‘as needed’. The hard part of this however is there is a wide variation in how often your dog may ‘need’ a bath.
Itchy, smelly dogs with skin problems such as yeast infections, bacterial infections, hormone imbalances, allergies and even some types of parasites may need bathing as frequently as 1-2X/week using medicated shampoos – but this should only be done only as directed by a veterinarian. Bathing a dog with normal skin too frequently can strip their natural oils and create imbalances in the skin making them prone to some of the problems listed above.
Some dogs are blessed with good skin, a hair coat that naturally sheds dirt and will rarely is ever ‘need’ a bath. However, if you are noticing a mildly unpleasant ‘doggie’ odour and your fingers feel greasy or dirty after petting him, it may be time for a bath. Use a gentle pet shampoo (human shampoos are too harsh) that promotes moisturising and is either only mildly scented, or better yet unscented. You will want to make sure you are able to rinse out the shampoo +/- conditioner fully.
Many non-shedding breeds require regular trips to the grooming salon so they end up being bathed every 4-6wks or so.
Many dogs love to get dirty so if your pooch needs a bath after an adventure, it is fine to go ahead and give them one. However, if this is happening too often, for example more frequently than once a week, you may want to ‘just hose off’ the dirt instead between full baths.
If your dog is itchy (more than occasional, casual scratching), flakey, feels greasy to touch, smells bad or their skin is irritated, they should see their veterinarian.
Finally, the right diet for your pet +/- Essential Fatty Acid supplements can make a huge difference in your pet’s skin and coat and thus how often they should be bathed!