We can tell when our dogs are in desperate need of a bath. We're usually tipped off by our noses, as it's pretty obvious when our dogs need a bath since he or she smells bad. Or maybe you just got back from a muddy hike or a swim in the ocean. But we don't always know how frequently we need to bathe our dogs. So, how often can you bathe a dog? And how often should you bathe a dog? The answer to that question depends on a few factors:
What Type Of Fur Do They Have?
It's not always the case but, in general, shorter fur means less frequent baths while longer fur means more frequent baths. Some dogs with short fur, like Beagles, only require baths every few months and more frequent baths can actually make their coats dry or itchy. On the other hand, long coats generally require more regular baths because longer fur typically catches more dirt and dander. In addition, dogs with thick coats and those that shed seasonally require less bathing because doing so too often can cause dry skin and disrupt the natural process of fur growing and shedding. Dogs in this category include Labrador and Golden Retrievers, among others.
Pro Tip: One way to reduce the number of baths your long-furred dog needs is with regular brushing and grooming sessions. For example, Siberian Huskies have long double-coats but with regular brushing, can go around six weeks between baths.
How Active Are They?
This is probably not surprising, but dogs that are more active tend to need baths more frequently. Your dog will need to be bathed more regularly if he or she is likes to roll in the mud, go swimming or get dirty on walks and hikes. This also applies to the seasons, as we're more active in warmer months and less active during the colder ones. Dogs typically don't need as many baths during winter as they do during spring or summer.
Pro Tip: Regardless of breed, coat type or activity level, it's recommended that you bathe your dog no more than once a week (with exceptions for those days you end up outside and dirty).
Tips for Bath Time
- Brush your dog before the bath to remove any excess fur or tangles.
- Keep the water temperature slightly warm but not hot (and never use very hot water - if it's too hot for you, it's too hot for your pup).
- If your pup is unsure of the bath, give them some treats to begin associating the experience with positive things.
- Use dog shampoo, not human shampoo (and if your dog has special needs - like dry skin, dandruff or oily fur - opt for a shampoo that addresses it).
- Don't shy away from giving your dog some treats throughout the bath as well, to reinforce the positive association.
- Try to time baths with warmer days so your dog isn't cold after. On colder days, make sure to dry off your pup as much and as quickly as possible.
- Use a large towel to try your dog off and for long-haired dogs, use a hair dryer if they're comfortable with it (at temperatures that are not too hot).
- Reward your pup with treats after to continue reinforcing bath time as a positive experience.