The Wanderer.

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

August 14, 2019

Caring for a dog is very similar to caring for a child. You need to make sure they have enough food, water, and love; a place to sleep; and of course, you need to keep them healthy and clean. That means periodically giving your dog a bath. But how often does your canine companion need to be washed? That depends on a number of different factors.

When to Wash Your Dog

The first thing to consider is where your dog spends most of their time. If they're strictly an indoor pup, then they likely won't get as dirty. Of course, if something is spilled on them, they should be washed right away, but other than that, most indoor dogs can do with being washed every three months.

If they spend some of their time outdoors, playing in the dirt, then they'll need to be bathed more frequently: possibly as often as every other week. If your dog lives exclusively outdoors, however, then they can actually be washed less frequently - every two months.

You could conceivably bathe them even less often than that, but washing is a good opportunity to get up close and personal with your furry friend, which allows you to spot any lumps, infections, or other potential health issues.

The other major factor is how long the dog's hair is. The longer their hair, the more dirt can become trapped in it, and the more frequently they'll have to be bathed.

As a general rule, wash your dog at least every three months. However, don't do it more than once every two weeks. Your dog's fur contains oils that keep their coat healthy. Washing too often removes those oils, resulting in dry, itchy skin and fur.

You could conceivably bathe them even less often than that, but washing is a good opportunity to get up close and personal with your furry friend, which allows you to spot any lumps, infections, or other potential health issues.

How to Wash Your Dog

We've covered how often to wash your dog, but the question still remains of how to do it safely and efficiently. How do you hold them still while you lather them up, and keep them from running away before you can rinse them off? Here are a few tips:

  • Before you wash them, brush their hair out to remove tangles and any burs or other foreign objects, as well as any fur that they're shedding.
  • Keep all your washing supplies together, within arm's reach. Easier access means less struggle.
  • Find a particular spot to bathe your dog and stick to it, to give them a sense of consistency. If keeping the dog in one place proves difficult,try putting a bit of peanut butter on the wall to keep them busy.
  • An indoor dog can be bathed in the shower, with a handheld sprayer. Smaller dogs can even be washed in the sink.
  • For outdoor dogs, a hose or portable sprinkler should work, or a small wading pool.
  • Don't wash outdoor dogs on the grass or the dirt. They'll end up dirty again before they're even clean.
  • Use lukewarm water. Too hot can burn their skin, while too cold might not be healthy either.
  • If your dog gets anxious about bathtime, use toys and positive attention, to make the experience more enjoyable. Reward them afterwards with treats.

Remember that every dog is different. Talk to your vet about how often your dog should be washed, and work on creating a bathing routine that works for both them and you. Finding the right way to keep your dog clean will help them stay healthier and happier for many years to come.