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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
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How Often Should you Wash your Dog?

For most pet parents, bath time can be a challenge, time-consuming, and messy. Bathing is important to keep your dog clean and to also keep their coat and skin healthy. However, bathing too much can also cause skin and coat problems. When it comes to the frequency of bathing dogs, there's not just one right answer. A general rule of thumb, though, is to bathe a dog with normal skin about once a month with dog-specific shampoo. That doesn't apply to all dogs though. Bathing frequency depends on a variety of factors, such as breed and coat, lifestyle, and health issues.

Coat style

For the most part, dogs with shorter hair don't need baths as often since not much can get caught in their fur, and if anything is caught in their fur, it's easy to wipe off. Dogs with medium to long hair need baths more frequently (about 4-6 weeks).

Hairless breeds, like the Chinese Crested Dog, actually need to be bathed about once a week to once every two weeks. Double-coated breeds, like the Golden Retriever, shouldn't be bathed as often because the soap will strip too much of the natural oils from the skin, and cause it to dry out. Shampoos specifically made to help shedding prevent the stripping of too many natural oils from the skin. Brushing the coat frequently also helps spread the natural oils and removes any tangles.

Lifestyle

Dogs with active lifestyles, like daily trips to the dog park, playing in the ocean frequently will need more baths. For short-haired breeds, sometimes a quick wipe down with a wet cloth might suffice, unless they enjoy daily mud baths. On the other hand, dogs who spend most of their time indoors, aside from potty breaks and daily walks, won’t need as many baths because they're less likely to get dirty.

Bathing frequency also depends on how long you can tolerate any odors emanating from your dog. If you can smell your dog from across the room, or if they're not huggable, maybe it's time for a bath.

Health

Skin problems and allergies might require different frequencies in bathing in order to manage the medical condition your dog might suffer from. If baths are a part of a treatment plan, follow your veterinarian's directions for frequency of baths for your dog. Unfortunately, some dogs are more prone to skin problems and shouldn't be bathed too frequently to avoid hot spots, dry skin, dandruff, and more.

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