How often should I wash my dog?

Giving a bath to your dog

Just like us, dogs need to be washed. But not just in any way. In order to take care of your dog’s health and hygiene in the best way possible, it’s important to have some knowledge about how to clean them. To learn more about washing your dog, you can read this article.

Washing your dog too often can damage the surface of their epidermis. That’s where a layer of sebum is located. This layer serves as a protective barrier for the skin. It is important to know the ideal frequency for bathing your dog to guarantee their well-being and hygiene.

Washing your dog
A puppy taking a bath.

Knowing when to wash your dog

Dog hygiene does not follow the same rules as human hygiene. Even though a dog may look dirty, it does not always mean that they are.

Determining whether or not your dog is dirty

Naturally, if your furry friend comes home from a walk covered in mud, it’s obvious that your dog is dirty. But does that mean that your dog needs a bath? This question is a bit harder to answer.

Some breeds have fur that is self-cleaning. For example, Samoyeds, Shiba Inus, and Pyrenean Sheepdogs have this type of fur.

People think that when a dog starts to stink, it is dirty. A dog’s stench has nothing to do with their cleanliness. Body odor is normal. With that being said, their odor should stay discrete. If your dog is really stinky, check to see if your dog has rolled around in some poop or other smelly thing. If this is not the case, a very strong odor can be caused by a health issue: seborrhea, otitis, or a hormonal disorder.

It’s easier to see dirt on dogs with lighter fur. White dog do not stay immaculately white all the time. But this does not mean that they are dirty.

Observe your dog’s fur

Before giving your dog a bath, check to see if your dog’s body odor is stronger than usual. Also, if the coat is dull, has lost its shine, has a very greasy feel, your furry friend probably needs to be washed.

When is bathing necessary?

In some cases, it is necessary to wash your dog. If your dog has the excellent idea to roll around in manure or other dirty things, it’s best to give your dog a bath.

After hanging out in sea water, it is also necessary to give your dog a bath. Salt water can damage your dog’s skin. It’s best to rinse your dog to eliminate any salt water residue. If you dog plays in sea water every day (or ever several times per day), do not use shampoo for every bath. However, it is possible to use a very gentle shampoo.

When should I wash my dog?

Now that you know that a dog does not have to be washed as often as a human, let’s see when it’s really necessary to give your dog a bath.

General rules

To protect your dog’s skin, it is recommended to avoid washing your dog too often.

Dogs with short hair can take a bath every 8 to 12 weeks. Dogs with long hair can be washed every 4 to 6 weeks. The same goes for dogs with white fur or fluffy coats.

However, there is no fixed rule regarding how often you should wash your dog. It depends on your dog and their lifestyle. If your dog is lives in the city, where there is not a lot of mud, they will get dirty less. Brushing your dog is enough to remove dust. It’s also enough to give your dog a bath only about once or twice a year.

If you live in the countryside or you often go for walks out in the nature, your will surey need to wash your dog more often.

In any case, there is one important thing to keep in mind: avoid washing your dog too often.

Why shouldn’t I wash my dog often?

As you have seen, you should not wash your dog too often. But why?

Dogs have a layer of sebum on their skin and its role is primordial. It creates a film between the skin and the external irritants that can hurt our dog’s skin. Washing a dog too often can reduce the thickness of this protective layer. The skin will be drier and cause your dog to have itchy skin. By getting rid of this protection, you risk making your dog’s skin fragile. Without a defensive barrier, your dog will also be more prone to illnesses.

How do I protect the layer of sebum on my dog’s skin?

When you wash your dog, you are removing a layer of sebum on the outer layer of their skin. However, this layer of sebum does regenerate naturally. As long as you leave a reasonable amount of time between each bath, your dog’s skin should be able to regenerate the sebum. It takes about 3 weeks for this layer of sebum is completely reformed.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the skin of a dog that has just been washed is defenseless. Make sure to wait a few hours before letting your dog go outside. This will allow your dog’s skin to be less fragile when it comes to external irritants.

In addition, dry your dog well by rubbing your dog’s fur with a towel. Sebum will regenerate faster on dry skin.

Washing your dog in the bathtub
A dog being washed in the bathtub.

Do not wash your dog with just any product

Determining how often you should wash your dog depends on the products you use. If you only use water to get rid things such as mud or dirt on your dog, you can wash them more often.

However, if you use shampoo, keep in mind that using it too often can “damage” the layer of sebum on your dog’s skin. This is especially the case if the shampoo is not well-adapted to your dog’s skin.

If you are having a hard times deciding which shampoo to use, prioritize products with natural ingredients. You can also talk to your veterinarian about it. They will be able to give you advice about which shampoo is best adapted to your dog’s skin.

If you would rather use a homemade shampoo, you can follow this recipe. All you need to do is mix honey, water, liquid black soap (Marseille soap is a great substitute), apple cider vinegar, and rosemary hydrosol. The product is very gentle, washes your dog well, and smells lovely.

Particular cases

If you dog has a skin condition or allergy, it is important to ask your veterinarian when you can wash your dog. Certain conditions, like seborrhea , will require you to wash your dog multiple times per week with a special shampoo.

If your dog is ill, it’s better to wait until they are feeling better before giving them a bath.

Dogs who participate in dog show should not be washed too often. It’s understandable that for contests, it’s important to have beautiful fur, but it’s important to not wash your dog too often. When you dog have to wash your dog, use ultra-gentle shampoos and avoid competing too often.

You might also have to wash your dog more often when the weather is hot. This is especially so if your pooch has a thick layer of fur. This allows their epidermis breathe better and thus helps your dog’s fur ventilate better.

To summarize

If your dog is really dirty, they should be washed. It’s a fact. But make sure not to wash your dog too often.

Washing your dog every two to three months is generally enough. This allows their epidermis to keep its protective coat longer.