How Often Can You Bathe a Dog?

Knowing how often to bathe your dog can be tough, especially if you’re a novice owner. If your dog is like most canines, it won’t stay clean for long and will need a bath sooner rather than later.

So, how often is it safe to bathe a dog? The answer to this question depends on many factors. Generally speaking, a healthy dog can be bathed once every one to three months depending on its coat length and activity level. Avoid overbathing your dog as frequent baths can dry up your dog’s coat and skin and cause irritation.

Regular bathing is an important aspect of your dog’s grooming routine! Keep on reading to learn how often to wash your dog, what shampoo to use, and how to make bathing time easier. 

Factors to Consider When Bathing Your Dog

How often your dog needs a bath depends on several factors, such as their breed, lifestyle, coat type, and preexisting health conditions. 

While the frequency of bathing may be different for each dog, most pooches do fine when washed once a month or once every three months at least. 

Besides making your dog clean, regular baths give you a chance to examine your pooch for any suspicious lumps, bumps, and skin problems that could be a sign of a more serious health issue.

Here are several factors to consider when figuring out how often to bathe a dog:

Health Condition

Dogs that suffer from allergies or other skin conditions can benefit from regular bathing with medicated dog shampoos. In this case, the ideal bathing schedule will depend on the severity of the dog’s health condition and the instructions provided by your veterinarian.

Dogs with dry and itchy skin can also benefit from regular baths with an oatmeal-based dog shampoo. 

Similarly, dogs that don’t respond well to topical or oral flea and tick medicine might need weekly baths to prevent flea and tick infestations. 

Talk with your vet and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure your dog is getting the necessary protection against these nasty pests. 

Coat Type

Your dog’s coat type is an important factor to consider when it comes to deciding how often it needs baths. 

Long-haired and curly-coated breeds like Poodles, generally have to be bathed and groomed more often than short-haired breeds. In most cases, these dogs need to be bathed every four to six weeks, with regular brushing in between to prevent mats and tangles from forming.

However, things aren’t as simple as the shorter the dog’s hair the less bathing it needs. Despite common beliefs, hairless dog breeds like the Chinese Crested dog and Xoloitzcuintli are high-maintenance breeds that require weekly baths (source). 

Certain dog breeds like the Labrador Retriever, Chow Chow, and Siberian Husky naturally have thick double coats that offer insulation over the colder months. These breeds shouldn’t be bathed too often as overbathing will strip their skin of natural oils and make it dry and flaky. 

At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have oily coated breeds like the Basset Hound and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. These dogs tend to develop that pungent doggy odor faster than other breeds and can benefit greatly from regular baths that will remove the excess oil from their coat. 

As you can see, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how often you should bathe a dog. When in doubt, talk with your vet, as they will be able to tell you what is the best bathing schedule for your dog based on their coat type and medical history. 

Lifestyle

A highly energetic dog that likes to spend the majority of its time outside rolling in the grass and mud will have to be bathed more often than a couch potato dog. 

Leading an active lifestyle might be easier with short-haired breeds considering they are much easier to maintain in between baths. In most cases, a rubdown with a damp cloth is all that is needed to remove the dirt and mud that your short-haired dog picked up during the romp in the park. 

Working and hunting dogs that spend the better parts of their days herding cattle or retrieving game will always need more baths than dogs that spend more time indoors, regardless of the breed. 

What You Need When Bathing Your Dog?

What You Need When Bathing Your Dog

While most dogs aren’t afraid of water, only a few are actually willing to stay calm during a bath. If you don’t want to chase a wet dog all over your home, you’ll need to have all the necessary supplies within your reach. 

Here are the essential dog bathing supplies:

Shampoo

Like with any other dog product, there is no such thing as the best dog shampoo that will work for every dog. In most cases, mild and natural dog shampoos are your best bet for healthy and normal dogs. 

Having said that, these shampoos may be too mild if your dog’s skin is on the oilier side, so you may need to look for a stronger shampoo (source). The same is true if your dog is covered in dirt and grime. 

Towels

Towels are another basic dog bathing supply that will come in handy to prevent your dog from shaking excess water all over you and your home. Covering your dog in a towel will help it retain heat after a bath and you can always opt to towel dry your pooch if blow-drying is not an option. 

Brush

While it may seem like a waste of time, brushing your dog before a bath can make the whole bathing experience a lot more enjoyable for your dog. Use the best brush for your dog’s coat type to remove tangles, loose hair, mud, and dirt. 

Treats

Having tasty treats close by can make the entire bathing process much more enjoyable for you and your pup. Use treats to reward your pooch for being such a good boy or girl during the bathing and to show them there’s nothing to worry or be afraid of. 

Steps on How to Bathe a Dog

Regardless of your dog’s breed and coat type, you’ll probably need to wash them sooner rather than later. The following steps will show you exactly how to wash a dog at home:

  • Brush: As mentioned previously, you’ll need to brush your dog before bathing. Brushing will remove excess hair and dirt from the coat. It will also remove knots and tangles that can hold on to water and irritate the skin. 
  • Use lukewarm water: A dog’s skin is quite sensitive to heat, so you can’t use the same temperature of water you would use for yourself. Bathe your pooch only with lukewarm water to avoid burning or damaging their skin.
  • Use dog shampoo: Choose a safe and natural dog shampoo based on your dog’s coat type. Massage the shampoo into your dog’s coat to create a rich lather. Focus on the areas that are the dirtiest and avoid your dog’s eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Rinse: Make sure to rinse out all shampoo from your dog’s coat. Continue rinsing your dog until there are no suds and the water is completely clean. Any leftover shampoo will irritate your dog’s skin and make it scratchy, so rinse thoroughly. 
  • Towel or air dry: Once the bathing is over, use a towel to remove excess water from your dog’s coat and prevent it from shaking water on you. Cover your pooch in a towel to keep them warm and let them air dry in a comfortable place. If your dog isn’t afraid of a blow dryer, you can use the lowest setting to dry their coat.
  • Give treats: Use a lot of praise and treats to keep your dog relaxed during bath time. Don’t forget to reward your dog after the bath to end the whole experience on a positive note. 

Can I Bathe My Dog Every 3 Days?

Most healthy dogs only need to be bathed monthly. Certain breeds, like the Puli, can be bathed less frequently. However, it’s not recommended to bathe a dog less frequently than once every three months.

With that being said, you shouldn’t bathe a healthy dog every three days unless advised otherwise by your vet. Overbathing can dry and irritate your dog’s skin making it itchy and flaky.

Can I Bathe My Dog 3 Times a Week?

You shouldn’t bathe your dog three times a week unless they are suffering from a skin problem that requires frequent bathing using a medicated dog shampoo. 

As mentioned previously, over-washing your dog’s coat can make its skin dry and flaky and cause irritation that will make your dog itchy.  

Conclusion

With so many different breeds, types of coats, and lifestyles, it’s no wonder that many dog owners wonder how often to bathe their dogs. Truth be told, there isn’t an exact answer to this question!

Most healthy dogs can be bathed from once a month to once every three months at least. Unless there is a medical reason for frequent baths, you really shouldn’t wash your dog more often than that.

Related Articles: