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How often should I wash my dog?

Posted in Shampoo, dog on Jun 02, 2008

Most advice you find on the internet recommends washing your dog just several times per year!

Either these people have outdoor dogs or the articles were written a long time ago when the quality of pet shampoo was very poor! Times have changed! Today, dogs enjoy shampoos and conditioners that are on par with the best human shampoos- that don’t have harsh chemicals and that don’t strip the hair of all of its oils.

The arguments against washing your dog too often are generally about stripping the coat of natural oils. The more often you wash something, the more often the sebum (oil) is going to be removed. Think about your own hair. If you don’t wash it, what happens? It gets oily. Is the oil good for your hair? Probably, but we wash our hair everyday anyway so that it’s clean!

There are several factors you should consider when deciding how often to wash your dog which include:

1. Does your dog live indoors or outdoors, and does your dog sleep in your bed?

If your dog lives in your house with you and more importantly, if he/she sleeps in your bed, then you are probably going to wash your dog regularly–depending on the breed anywhere from once a week to once a month. I know this is radical thinking, but, if your dog sits on your sofa, you probably don’t want him dragging in dirt, poop, insects and other grime onto your sofa. So, the trade off is that your dog’s coat ~might ~ be marginally drier but you will have a fresh smelling dog that you can cuddle without the fear that gross stuff is getting into the sheets.

2. Breed of dog

Dogs that have dry skin can be bathed less frequently than dogs with oily skin. Harsh-textured coats repel dirt pretty well so they don’t get as dirty as a soft-coated dog. Dogs like Maltese, Yorkies, Afghans and Shitzus should be bathed once a week. Harsh-coated breeds, like Shelties and Collies, can be bathed once a month. If you’re not sure, remember, a clean dog is a happy dog!

One of my dog’s is a Maltese and I can’t imagine washing her less than once every week. Little white dogs pick up lots of dirt and by weeks end they are looking brown instead of white. Also, I hate to mention it but long-coated dogs get those famous cling on poops stuck to their bottoms.

My other dog, a Westie, who has a thicker coat, doesn’t get so dirty, but, I have to wash her every week due to the next point– allergies.

3. Is anyone in your household allergic to dogs?

If so, you SHOULD groom & bathe them as often as possible. According to the American Lung Association, doing so will help remove the dander that accumulates on a pet’s fur.

I am allergic to one of my dogs and when I don’t wash her once a week I get wheezy and sneezy.

4. What activities does your dog partake in?

Do you take your dog to the dog park? Does you dog play in the sand or dirt? Does your dog roll in the grass or go swimming or hiking? What about sniffing butts, eating poop or drooling?

Well, if you have a normal dog, she probably partakes in several of the above activities– all of which warrant regular bathing. Again, you have to think of the trade off. Your dog’s coat may be marginally drier HOWEVER, he will be cleaner, smell better, and most important you will be more likely to give a clean dog lots of love. Those smelly dogs we tend to keep at arms length.

5. Does your dog suffer from itchy skin?

Unlike humans who absorb most environmental allergens through their noses and mouths, dogs tend to absorb allergens through the skin. Weekly bathing can prevent itchiness , washing allergens away before they get a chance to penetrate the skin.

So at the conclusion of all of this – the answer for MOST dogs is to wash them once every week to once a month, depending on the above circumstances.

But remember, use a gentle pet shampoo and conditioner. Do not use your own shampoo. Click here for an article of why you should not use your own shampoo on your dog.

Also, if you simply can’t wash your dog for a prolonged period of time you can use a dry shampoo, like Dry Dog Instant Clean - This is a really effective spray on bath replacement that helps to get rid of bad odors. Also, if you feed your dog a non-commercial, all natural and organic diet chances are your canine companion will be less smelly. Our favorite is a dehydrated raw pet food from the Honest Kitchen.

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13 Responses to “ How often should I wash my dog? ”

  1. # 1 komodo dragon (3 comments.) Says:

    this is an all too important question. Many bathe their dogs too much, this is a big problem. Breed is also something some may not look at, i have a Golden, so he cannot be washed too often :(

  2. # 2 komodo dragon | Hottags Says:

    […] Comment on How often should I wash my dog? by komodo dragonthis is an all too important question. Many bathe their dogs too much, this is a big problem. Breed is also something some may not look at, i have a Golden, so he cannot be washed too often.Comments for Ruff Ideas by Happytails - http://happytailsspa-blog.com […]

  3. # 3 LaDeDog! (2 comments.) Says:

    I bathe my dog once a week - she is a runner (non-stop) & with all the sand from the beach, she needs it!

  4. # 4 adam Says:

    i love my dog

  5. # 5 stephanie Says:

    I have a maltise & cocker spaniel and I wash my dogs once every two weeks. They sleep in my bed so they tend to start smelling after the two week mark hits

  6. # 6 Getting Rid of Bad Dog Smells | Ruff Ideas by Happytails Says:

    […] If you didn’t take a bath for 3 months you might be smelly too! There are lots of opinions on how often you should bathe your dog but if you’re like me, I sleep with my dog, so I prefer to wash my dogs weekly. Many people […]

  7. # 7 schippuh Says:

    i have a shitzu and i wash him every other day. his coat is dry but clean enough to get into my bed.

  8. # 8 Do I Really Need To Use Conditioner on My Dog? | Ruff Ideas by Happytails Says:

    […] Wash Frequency If you wash your dog often (more than 1x per month) you should definitely condition you dog to close that hair shaft so the coat retains moisture. To read more about how often to wash your dog, click here […]

  9. # 9 Save Money & Groom Your Own Dog! | Ruff Ideas by Happytails Says:

    […] There’s no one best way to bathe your dog. Some people like to take their dogs into the shower with them. Other people put their dog in the bathtub. If you have a small dog you may prefer to use the kitchen sink although I have found that I end up as wet us the dog! Do make sure you use warm water — test the water on yourself before using it on your dog. And, make sure that you rinse the lather thoroughly from your dog. Soap residue can be a skin irritant and cause your dog to itch and to scratch at his skin. It can even result in hot spots that make his skin break out. If you’re not sure how often you should wash your dog read this article. […]

  10. # 10 Vickie Says:

    I have an adventurous choc lab who is an indoor/outdoor dog. I wash her every 1 to 2 weeks with an earth friendly oatmeal dog shampoo. She prefers the shower to the tub. Remember to wash their bedding and plush toys every time they get a bath!!

  11. # 11 Dealing with with a smelly dirty dog? | Ruff Ideas by Happytails Says:

    […] people like to give their dog a bath at least once a month (to learn how often to wash your dog click here .) That’s fine for most dogs and most breeds. It’s often enough to keep a dog clean and yet […]

  12. # 12 Jennifer (1 comments.) Says:

    Thanks for the help! I’ve been trying to figure this one out for a while, but this article has cleared up everything for me. Again, thank you.

  13. # 13 vanessa (1 comments.) Says:

    i have a puddle dog it wieghs about 7 pounds i dont know how often i should wash her she sleeps on my bed but on my bed i have her little bed and she sleeps on it oh and i also want to know how often should i feed and how much i shoukd feed her???????????????????????????????????????????????????

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