How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

March 31, 2021

Our furry best friends love having pats and cuddles from us, but sometimes the experience can be a rather smelly one.

Bathing should be a regular part of your dog’s care routine, just like feeding, brushing, exercise and playtime. But bath time isn’t quite the same for our little companions as it is for people. These helpful tips will keep your pup smelling fresh while taking care of their health and hygiene needs.

Firstly – how often to bathe

In general, you can wash your dog once every four weeks. If they happen to roll around in mud, or decide to get up close and personal with something particularly stinky, you should bathe them immediately.

When compared to humans, dogs have sensitive skin. If you bathe them too frequently it can irritate and cause skin disorders (such as dermatitis), as well as potentially interfere with flea and worming treatments. A bath once a month can keep them smelling fresh, while ensuring their skin and coat stays healthy.

The only exception to this rule is that some dog breeds may require more frequent bathing, particularly if they have oily coats. If you’re unsure, have a chat to one of our vets and we can give you further guidance.

DIY or professional groomer?

Depending on your dog’s breed, and how much time you have, you might find it easier to bring your pup to a professional groomer for any bathing or trimming needs. If you decide to go with a professional, make sure you look for a reputable and experienced groomer who has looked after similar breeds to your dog.

If you want to give bath time a go at home (or at the local DIY dog wash), make sure you prepare yourself and your dog for a positive experience. This will help your furry loved one associate bath time as a normal part of their routine, and not something to be feared or loathed.

Getting ready for a bath

No matter whether your dog has a short or a long coat, giving your dog a brush before they are washed will help reduce any knots that require detangling. It will also help to remove any loose fur, but brushing should only be done if they aren’t covered in mud or other sticky substances (this would make brushing painful and an unpleasant experience for your dog).

Use the right products

Dog shampoo and conditioner gently cleanses and nourishes your dog’s skin and fur. It’s important to use the right products for your pet, as cleansers designed for humans can be too harsh and toxic for dogs.

Make sure you patch test new types of shampoo and conditioner before using them to bathe your furry companion. Use a little amount of product on a small area of their coat and check for any reactions – such as flaking skin, fur loss, redness and other irritations. If your pup has extra-sensitive skin, allergies, or medical skin conditions, our friendly veterinary team can help you choose the right bath products to keep them healthy and happy.

How to bathe your dog

Make sure your dog is somewhere secure, where they can’t run off and cause any disruptions. You could bathe them in your bathtub, at a DIY wash at your local pet store, in a plastic tub in your backyard, or in your shower – just make sure they have a rubber mat to stand on so they can’t slip and slide around.

Have plenty of treats on hand that they love. As you get them setup in the bathing area, reward them. Keep rewarding them throughout the bath, and over time you’ll be able to use fewer treats. This will help your dog feel safe and happy, and see bath time as something to look forward to.

Next, start soaking their fur with clean water. If it’s a hot day, cool water might feel refreshing and help them feel more comfortable, but we typically recommend luke-warm water for best results. Be careful to avoid their ears and eyes,

Once their fur is thoroughly soaked, start applying and lathering shampoo to their fur. Gently work your way through their coat, making sure to get hard to reach places on their legs, tail and tummy. Rinse off the shampoo, and repeat the process with a conditioner.

Once you’ve rinsed off the conditioner, you can dry your pup with towels or with a hairdryer – but only on cold, as warm settings will burn their skin.

Have questions about cleaning products or how to bathe your dog? Book a consultation at our clinic and we’ll show you everything you need to know about bathing your furry companion.

Got a question?

We’re here to help you with any urgent enquiries or assistance you might need. Need a little extra help, or not sure if you should bring your pet in for a check-up? Give our team a call and we’ll happily answer your questions.