How Often Should I Bathe My Dog?

Regularly bathing your dog is important for maintaining hygiene and appearance by removing dirt and debris from their fur. Our vets in White House have created a guide to help you through bathing and determine how often you should bathe your furry friend. 

How Often Should I Bathe & Wash My Dog?

As a dog owner, it is essential to give your pet baths, but over-bathing can result in dryness, skin irritation, and other issues. The frequency of bathing your dog depends on factors like their health condition, coat type, and lifestyle. 

Dogs with longer costs need more frequent baths, approximately once a month, whereas dogs with shorter fur may only need a bath every three months. 

Active dogs who love playing outside will require more frequent baths than dogs who spend most of their time indoors. You should only bathe your dog if they have a bad smell, are covered in mud, or has oily fur, as excessive bathing can be harmful. 

If your dog has allergies or a specific health condition,  your vet may recommend a different bathing schedule. 

It's best to consult your veterinarian to determine your dog's bathing needs. As a general guideline, bathing your dog once every two or three months is a good starting point. 

Why Do I Need to Bathe My Dog?

Even though dogs are usually good at bathing themselves, there are situations where they require some help from their owners, especially if they love swimming in lakes, rolling around in the mud, or even if their fur gets naturally oily. 

There are a handful of reasons why you should bathe your dog regularly, from helping them smell better and reducing their shedding to strengthening the bond you have with your pup. Here is a list of reasons why it's important to give your dog routine baths:

  • It helps them smell better
  • It helps prevent skin conditions
  • It removes dirt and debris from their fur
  • Reduces shedding

Bathing your dog also allows you to keep an eye on your dog's health and examine them for signs of any conditions that may be developing, like swelling, redness, or unusual bumps on their skin, paws, nails, or ears. This even gives you the opportunity to check for external parasites such as ticks, mites, and fleas. Contact your vet to arrange an appointment if you detect any of these external parasites or unusual symptoms.

How To Give Your Dog a Bath

The process of bathing your dog will be easier and less stressful if you know the steps of giving your dog a bath and are prepared to perform the task. Below, we have listed the steps to giving your dog a bath at home.

  1. Pick where you want to bathe your dog (kiddie pool, bathtub, sink, patio, etc). Be sure you bathe them in the same place each time so they know what to expect.
  2. Gather the supplies you need, like a slip-resistant mat (if using a tub), a brush, scrubber, and shampoo that's specially made for dogs. Never use human shampoo or conditioner on your pup, as it can irritate their skin. Your vet can suggest the shampoo that will suit your dog best.
  3. Begin by brushing your dog's fur from head to tail to loosen dirt and remove knots and mats.
  4. Use lukewarm water when washing your dog (never use hot water), and keep the water out of your dog's face.
  5. Talk to your dog in a calm and soothing voice, pet them often, and offer praise and treats when they are behaving. If your dog starts to resist and struggle, wait for them to calm down again before continuing.
  6. Lather and massage the shampoo all over your dog's body. Be sure not to get any in their eyes, ears, or face. You can start at their paws and work your way up to the head to provide fewer opportunities for the shampoo to run into their face.
  7. Rinse your dog from head to tail. Continue rinsing in this pattern until you have gotten all the soap out of your dog's skin because any soap left behind can cause irritation.
  8. Dry your dog well with a warm, clean towel to help your dog air-dry faster.
  9. Let your dog's fur air-dry. Don't use hot blow dryers that are designed for human hair because they can be too hot for your dog's skin. If you'd like, you can use a blow dryer designed for dogs that operate at a lower temperature.
  10. Reward your dog. They have made it through the bathing process; give your dog a treat, lots of praise, and maybe even some playtime!

When Should I Bring My Dog to the Groomers?

If your dog resits every time you try to bathe them, it may be best to seek the help of a professional groomer. They have the necessary training and equipment to safely clean dogs of all breeds, sizes, and temperaments.  

At White House Animal Hospital, our veterinary team offers professional bathing services for dogs and grooming services such as de-shedding treatments, haircuts, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing.

We are happy to help keep your furry friend looking and feeling their best.

For more tips and advice on bathing your dog at home or to schedule a professional grooming session for your pet at White House Animal Hospital, contact our White House vets today.