by Will Hatoum December 12, 2019

No matter how good a friend is, nobody wants to spend time with someone who is smelly or dirty. The same is true for “man’s best friend”— your dog. That’s why bathing your dog is so important.

The question isn’t so much about whether or not to bathe your furry friend — clearly you should as shampooing your dog keeps him happy, healthy and a better companion. A better question is how often you should bathe your dog! We all know how much work washing that set of pouncing paws and wet wagging tail can be — and how too much bathing can cause dry skin and other problems.

So, how often should you give your dog a bath?

How often to shampoo the pooch

As a general rule, you should bathe your pup once every four weeks. This removes any accumulation of dirt on their fur and underlying skin. Washing your dog also helps to keep at bay any skin conditions related to the buildup of filth and the resulting clogged pores, dryness, itchiness and oily skin.

But while a suds session every four weeks or month is the simple answer, it may not be the best solution for you particular Baxter. It’s a good baseline from which to start.

5 questions before setting your dog’s bathing schedule

To determine the best bathing schedule for your dog, answer the following five questions and then add or subtract from that 4-week baseline accordingly.

How long is your dog’s hair?

The longer the hair of your dog, the more susceptible he is to collecting grime and grossness. And conversely, the shorter the hair, the less grudge he will carry. Consider too how long-haired dogs may sweat more than their short-haired cousins, lending to more accumulation of dirt. In summary, short-haired dogs may need less washing and long-haired dogs, more.

Where is your dog most active?

Is your pooch primarily an indoor or an outdoor dog? If Toto’s an indoor dog, she is likely not as active as an outdoor dog and will probably not encounter as much dirt. As such, Toto may not require as frequent bathing as, say, Snoopy, who spends lots of time outdoors rolling in the dirt, chasing squirrels and digging his next escape route under your fence.

What season is it?

Tagging on to the question above about where your dog spends his time, the season is just as important in determining how often to wash your dog. Naturally, if Bear spends more time outdoors in the summer than winter, you may want to give him baths more frequently in the summer and less in the winter. Also, if Bear is a shedding dog, you had better bathe him more in the springtime or soon you and everything you own will be wearing the sweater he sheds that time of year.

Is your dog naturally oily?

Some breeds are oilier than others. The oilier canine varieties may require more frequent bathing, especially if your particular hound spends lots of time outside rolling in the dirt and who-knows-what. While oil and water don’t mix, oil and dirt certainly do. So if Marmaduke is oily and loves playing in the great outdoors, you can count on your pooch needing a good shampooing more frequently, especially if he likes to snooze on your favorite couch.

If you don’t know if your dog is naturally oily, talk to your vet, but Basset hounds, Chesapeake Bay retrievers, Labrador retrievers and Newfoundlands are among the oilier species and may require more tub time.

Now if your dog was not oily but suddenly became a stinky, hairy oil slick seemingly overnight, or if you have a dog whose breed is not known for being oily but now is a slimy beast, your foul friend might have a health situation — maybe an allergy or skin condition. In this case, you probably should consult your veterinarian — and give that dog a bath.

Does your dog suffer allergies or skin problems?

Just like how humans have allergies and skin conditions, so do dogs. Dandruff, dermatitis, canine seborrhea and so on. With these types of skin conditions, it’s important to clean your dog often, but with a shampoo that won’t rob their skin and coat of its natural moisture, such as our Soothe-N-Itch Dog Shampoo, as otherwise you might create a bigger problem.

While as humans we tend to react to food and environmental allergies in a myriad of ways — sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, hives and so one — dogs with allergies tend to show more allergic reactions through their skin. These reactions may be exhibited by hives and itchy skin. Bella’s skin reaction could be from something she may have encountered while exploring the outdoors, something she ate or maybe something that came in contact with her skin. It could even be the particular pet shampoo you are using. Perhaps your pup has sensitive skin and is reacting to your shampoo. In any case, you might try bathing him with something like Soothe-N-Itch Dog Shampoo for pets with sensitive skin.

Just remember, it’s not recommended to wash dogs more than once every two weeks. This prevents any negative effects such as excessive dryness on their coats, oiliness and so on. That said, if the dog is scratching itself excessively or starting to smell, you can bathe your dog more often to eliminate the irritations from their skin. Try not do this though for more than 2-3 weeks continiously. You can return to your dog’s regular washing schedule afterwards.

When in doubt, trust your nose and use your judgment. If your dog starts to stink, it's probably time to give him a bath. 

Simply put, when it comes to setting a bathing schedule for your dog, you need to know your dog, know his habitat, his habits and his health – and you should bathe your pup accordingly.

Bath time: Your dog’s appointment with Dr. Suds

And while we are on the topic of health and knowing your dog, the very act of bathing your dog, while a hassle and a hot wet mess, quite literally, is a great way to keep you aware of your dog. As you scrub your mutt, check the skin and fur for clingy creatures like ticks and fleas. Take note of any abnormalities in texture, shape or quality. That way, you can stay on top of your canine’s health and perhaps prevent any minor problems from developing into bigger ones. 

Your dog is your best friend, so it’s important to keep Fido frisky, fluffy and fresh, because that’s what friends do for their panting pals.  


Hopefully, this gives you an idea of how often you should bathe your furry friend. Like we said, you should shampoo your dog “ruff-ly” every four weeks, but adjust that schedule to meet your specific situation.  


Related articles:

Which Vitamins Are Best for Skin and Coat?

Take the guesswork out of bathing you cat!

When is the best time to give my pet their vitamins?


About Paws-A-Bunch

Being pet lovers ourselves, we strongly believe that every pet deserves to live a long, healthy, and fulfilling life, and strive to help with all your pet needs, one challenge after another!

For that, quality is at the forefront of our minds, and our number one concern. That's why we only use 100% natural ingredients to make products that improve your dog's life. We only make products that our own pets love and use, and do rigorous testing to make sure our products have the highest quality!

Will Hatoum
Will Hatoum


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