This is a question we are frequently asked by dog parents, and the answer is it will vary from breed to breed. The frequency of dog bathing is also dependent on their lifestyle and habits, as well as the season and climate your dogs or puppies live in.
If your dog loves to spend time outside digging and rolling in the dirt, one would generally want to bathe them about every four to five weeks on average, unless there was a very stinky or dirty event that needed immediate cleansing and odor relief.
If your dog gets smelly in between full shampoo baths, you can always use a spray on product such as a BarkLogic Leave In Coat Conditioning Spray, naturally scented with essential oils which you can spritz onto your pet’s fur, and comb through the coat for a quick, easy, and aroma-therapeutic refresh any time of day.
Puppies and dogs that spend more time indoors will not require as many baths as dogs that are mostly outdoor dogs. Depending on how smelly they get, a bath somewhere between every 8 to 12 weeks can be sufficient.
Double-coated breeds, such as Pomeranians and Labs, are recommended to be bathed every three months, or less, unless they get particularly smelly. Their oily double coats may have a tendency to dry out from too much shampooing, depleting their natural oils and protective properties, and may decrease the built in, natural water resistance their coat has.
What Happens if You Bathe a Dog Too Often?
Just like humans, shampooing your dog or puppy too often has a tendency to dry out the skin and hair, leading to irritation, scratching and in extreme cases possible skin lesions, hot spots, and sores.
With excessive shampooing a dog's hair quickly loses its natural shine and can also become damaged, brittle and broken. If your dog's fur has ever felt rough to the touch, this could well be the reason. As well, their skin can be stripped of its’ natural protective oil barrier, known as the epidermal barrier, which controls natural skin hydration, and protects against environmental hazards such as allergens, irritants, and pollutants.
Another important variable that can lead to dry, itchy, and scaly skin in dogs can be harsh ingredients in the dog grooming product(s) you are using. Many dog and puppy grooming shampoos and conditioners do not rinse away fully and contain sulfates, parabens, and polyethylene glycol. These ingredients can be harsh on both dog and human skin, and can leave behind a residue that builds up over time and irritates the skin. Therefore it is best to use no sulfate, no paraben, and PEG free grooming products that are safe for your dogs or puppies delicate skin.
That is why one of the best ways to keep your dog fresh and looking healthy and clean between baths is to commit to a daily brushing schedule with a natural plant based shampoo. This will help to keep your dogs coat freshly scented, silky, and refreshed, while your pets skin is nourished and protected naturally.
What Happens if You Don't Bathe a Dog Often Enough?
Although it’s not healthy to bathe your dog too frequently, not bathing them enough or at all can also put the health of your pets skin and coat at risk.
If you decline to wash your dog – or don’t wash them enough – all of the dirt, debris and bugs your dog may have picked up on their travels will hang around on their skin and in their fur. Dogs can absorb allergens through their skin.
This can lead to irritation, scratching and eventually - in extreme cases - lesions.
Tips For How to Bathe Your Dog Safely
When you want to bathe your dog or puppy, a little preparation makes it so much easier and enjoyable for both of you. The best results always come with some planning.
- Prepare your chosen bathing area for bath time - Gather all the products you plan to use in advance, including sulfate free dog shampoo, paraben free dog conditioner, and PEG free coat detangling spray, a dog brush, and absorbent bath towels. It is also helpful to keep healthy treats nearby to reward and reinforce good behavior
- Before bathing - De-tangle your dog’s coat with a brush to remove and loosen any knots, tangles, debris, and dirt.
- Remove your dog’s collar and lead – If your dog needs to be restrained, use a muzzle and/or a bathing tether.
- The water should be lukewarm - Make sure the water is not too hot, which will dry your dogs skin. The water should feel like room temperature on the inside of your wrist.
- Use a non-skid mat - place a no slip mat for dogs on the floor of the chosen bathing area so your dog won’t slip or fall.
- Introduce the water slowly – Keep the water power low and spray a small area of their back or shoulder first, allowing them time to get used to the sensation.
- Apply shampoo, massage gently, and use a brush – Avoid getting shampoo in eyes, and use a soft brush in order to brush the shampoo down the body through coat, in the direction of hair growth, to ensure an even and deep clean. Then use the same brush to gently clean the paw pads.
- Rinse coat thoroughly- Start at the head, keeping product out of the eyes, and work your way down the rest of their body. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear and the coat is residue free.
- Apply a coat conditioner for dogs – Help seal in moisture, protect the fur, and keep your dog’s coat shiny and nourished. Always avoid getting the product into your dogs or puppy’s eyes.
- Remove your dog from the tub or sink- Wrap your dog or puppy in an absorbent towel. Blot the coat to remove excess water. Avoid rubbing the coat to dry as this can tangle the fur. Also allow your pet to shake themselves dry naturally.
- Make sure your dog or puppy stays warm until they are completely dry, especially in colder winter temperatures.
- Always choose brands that fully disclose all of their ingredients including what is in the scent or fragrance, to ensure the ingredients are safe, plant based, and phthalate free.
BarkLogic is a Full Line of Sulfate Free, Gentle, Non-Toxic, Grooming & Clean Up Products For Dogs & Is Puppy Safe. Made In The U.S.A. with Plant Based Ingredients & Natural Essential Oils.