If you’ve ever taken your dog to the park more than once in the same week, chances are, you’ve found yourself asking yourself this more often than once. Pet hygiene is still something that needs consideration after all. You wouldn’t let a human do that, so how much different can a dog be? How often should you wash your dog and it still be good for them?
The answer isn’t actually as straightforward as we’d like. To get to the bottom of it, it helps to take a step back and look at your dog as an individual. Every dog is different, and that matters here as well.
The first thing we need to consider is your dog’s fur in particular. This is where all of the dirt is likely going to be, so it makes sense that this is one of the biggest problem areas. We’ll split in two to keep things easy.
The first way that we’re going to do this is with long-haired dogs. Long hair is just more hair to get dirty and matted, put as simply as possible. The more there is, the more room there is for a build-up.
Short hair, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. Like our own, short hair is much easier to manage with ease and needs much less upkeep. There’s less of it to get dirty, and as a result, generally speaking, you can wash your dog less often. There are always exceptions, but this is a relatively sound rule.
Another huge factor in answering how often should you wash your dog comes from the life that your dog leads. Things like activity level, favourite places, routine… it all takes its toll on your dog and their coats.
To put this one into context as we did above, it’s generally best to think about what your dog is going to be doing on a daily or even monthly basis. Do they like long walks across fields or a few spins around the block? Do they enjoy rolling around the garden or sitting on the sofa?
Just about every different part of your dog’s day really does make a huge difference to how often they need washing. Try and plan their routine to fit in with your bathing schedule where you can. Sometimes, you just can’t help what they choose to get up to, and that’s fine too.
So, how often should you wash your dog?
Let’s get back to the question before we take this any further. How often should you wash your dog? The answer, as well as these things, can be whatever works for both of you. General guidelines would be:
Minimum every few months
If you let your dog go any more than 3-4 months without a bath, chances are, they are going to be a little bit on the smelly side. It’s up to you at the end of the day, but for the sake of their hygiene, this is probably a good benchmark to use as the minimum. Four to five baths a year shouldn’t bother your dog after all.
Maximum every few weeks
If you like to be more thorough with your cleaning, there’s an answer for that too. For the sake of their health and wellbeing in the long term, too much washing is bad news. That’s why you need to put a limit on things. More than once a month is pushing it, so really try and refrain from doing it any more than once every two or three weeks at an absolute maximum. Regularly at least (there are always odd occasions where it can’t be avoided).
One last big thing that needs to be taken into consideration about all of this comes from your dog themselves. As we said, all dogs are unique and this is vital to remember at all times. After all, your dog has feelings too.
If your dog doesn’t like a bath, maybe don’t try and make them too frequent. Find a middle ground between your needs and theirs to make sure you are both getting a good deal. You shouldn’t upset your dog for the sake of an extra week without a good wash. The same goes for if your dog hates baths. You can’t avoid them forever, even if it means your dog isn’t your biggest fan for the rest of the day.
One final, final, thing that is also absolutely paramount throughout this whole topic is their health again, but this time from the medical stance. Dogs, just like us, can be susceptible to a huge range of skin conditions. Just like us, they are naturally dependent on their natural oils produced from their skin to maintain their coat.
Too much washing along with what you should feed your dog are some of the easiest possible ways to set all of this off-balance. It is not good news for your furry friend, and it really can have a toll on their lives.
It can cause itching, flaking, smelling, and just about everything else in between too. The worst part is, a lot of the time, it can be avoided, treated or reduced all just by doing a little bit of research like this.
Take the time to find out what your dog is and isn’t susceptible to by speaking to a trained vet for the most information. It’s such a small task to make sure your dog is going to be as healthy as they possibly can be.