How Often Should You Wash Your Dog / Puppy – 2022 Bathe Guide

One of the most common questions asked by dog owners is how often should you wash your dog? Does your pet need baths at all? So we thought we would have a look at why you should bathe your pup and the reasons why they might need a good scrub more often.

You may have a dog with a high maintenance coat, one that sheds more hair than normal, or a pet that spends a lot of time outdoors and is constantly grubby. These may need bathing every other week.

In this article, we will cover;

  • Things to consider when deciding how often your pet needs a wash
  • Tips to make bathing your dog stress-free
  • What shampoo to use
  • How to dry Fido after a bath

We all love our pets but living with a dirty, smelly dog isn’t fun. Bathing your four-legged isn’t just good for their personal hygiene. It’s essential for their health; dogs can be prone to many skin problems and regularly washing with an anti-fungal dog shampoo can help prevent infections.

Read on to find out how often you should bathe a dog.

How Often Should you Bathe Dogs- Things to Consider


Your dog’s lifestyle – as well as your own – will dictate what ‘regular baths’ actually means in practice.

If you and your dog are very active and adventurous, you may have to increase their bathing frequency. 

For example, if you commonly take your dog swimming in the sea, they will frequently be covered in salt. Although swimming is very good for dogs, and swimming in the ocean can be very beneficial for sensitive skin, that amount of salt will need to be washed off your dog after every swim to ensure that it does not cause skin irritation. 

The same goes for swimming in lakes and rivers, as these are filled with all kinds of algae and bacteria that could harm your dog. 

Be sure to clean all of the hard to reach places, as it is often there that irritation can start! 


The most important thing to consider when determining how frequently you should bathe your dog is their health. 

You should think about their age, for example. Are you in a warm enough home, and do you have access to warm enough water for your dog to have a desirable temperature? If they are senior dogs, using cold water or not drying them well will increase their chances of becoming sick or feeling arthritis far worse. 

Are they agile? You need to ensure that they can easily make it into and out of the bath, or whether you are strong enough, or have someone else, to help you lift them safely. 

Do they have a particular skin condition? If they are being treated for a specific condition, then it may be ill-advised to wash them. You should always check with your vet before bathing them if they do have an infection. See here for the best remedy for dogs with dry skin.

Your Dog’s Coat

Your dog’s coat will tell you a lot about their health. It will also help you to better determine how frequently you should bathe your dog! 

If they have a thin, brittle coat, then it could be that they are over bathing. You should therefore wait for a little longer before cleaning them again and maybe use a gentle shampoo. 

A thin, brittle coat could also be a sign of a skin condition or underlying irritation. If that is the case for your pup, then they will need a specific treatment from your veterinarian. You must always consult them before bathing them again, as it could be that your dog is allergic to something in the shampoo! 

However, different coats such as double coats or even long-haired dogs need bathing more frequently. 

In fact, they need a very specific and intense grooming regimen to prevent oil buildup, knots, built-up fur (especially during shedding season), regular brushing, and sometimes, they may need to be professionally bathed. 

Hairless Breeds

All dogs have very sensitive skin. In fact, it is far more sensitive than human skin and therefore needs specific treatment. 

As you know, some hairless dog breeds need a very specific bathing schedule to ensure their health and safety. 

Whereas short-haired dog breeds usually require less bathing than long-coated breeds, the opposite is true for hairless dogs. 

As there is no layer between their skin and the outside world, they are more likely to have scratches, health conditions, etc. 

Therefore, many of them require more frequent baths. In fact, you may find yourself having to bathe your hairless pup around once a week! 

If you are wondering how best to keep your dog clean and treat the dog’s skin conditions specific to your pup, always consult a vet first.

The Owner’s Comfort

Living with a dog is an absolute delight. However, some new dog owners are astonished at the various smells that come with owning a dog! They too get dirty, sweat, get sick, develop long-term health problems, etc. All of these can significantly influence their odour – which is no picnic for them – and can be a nightmare for people to live with!

If your dog is starting to smell, then you should absolutely bathe them for your comfort as much as theirs. The best pet parents amongst us love our dogs to bits no matter what – warts and all, and even all the smells that come with them. However, there is always a line that regular bathing can help your pup from avoiding crossing.

You need to consider your own health when bathing most dogs, too. If your dog hates baths and is a little too boisterous during bath time, then do not endanger yourself. Instead, consult a professional about them doing it for you or get tips on doing it better. 

10 Tips for Bathing Your Dog at Home -All Dog Owners should Know

If you are bathing your dog at home, then you will need to bear a few things in mind. The best plan of action is to get them in a bathtub – though in warmer weather; you can also hose them down in the garden or on the patio. For the purpose of this guide, we’re heading to the bathroom. 

  1. Consider their coat. Do they need a special shampoo or conditioner? If they have long hair, will you need to untangle them beforehand? Always brush first to remove loose hair, dirt and debris.
  2. Gently encourage or even coax them into the bath! It’s always great to try and encourage your pet with something they love – such as a toy or a treat.
  3. Check the temperature of the water. Dogs are very sensitive to low and high temperatures, so always ensure you have it running at a lukewarm level, and it’s safe to check this by hand.
  4. Make sure you have the right shampoo ready to go, and always follow the instructions. You may need to water it down or dilute it for the best results. Alternatively, you may even need to wash twice to make sure that your pooch is completely clean.
  5. Don’t be afraid to carefully wash even the most intricate parts of your dog—all the nooks and crannies, paw pads, etc.
  6. However, you are going to need to be very careful around a pet’s eyes and ears. The best dog-formulated shampoo and conditioner will be sensitive to their eyes and face. However, it’s an excellent idea to clean their ears separately if they have known problems. Some dogs suffer more with their ears than others, such as spaniel breeds.
  7. In these cases, it’s worth making sure you consult your vet. They will be able to advise you on how to best clean their ears of anything nasty – it’s a good idea to avoid getting an excess of water in their ears in any case; otherwise, they may develop infections.
  8. You may choose to condition your dog after shampooing, a great idea if you want to make sure they have a super healthy looking coat. Again, always make sure to check the bottle or packaging and follow the instructions.
  9. Always rinse down well and carefully. Even if the shampoo and conditioner you use are completely dog-friendly, it’s still not going to taste very nice if your pup licks itself and you’ve not got the suds off!
  10. Carefully drying your dog is a must. It’s tempting just to let them shake it all clear – but gently padding down with a towel and/or using a hairdryer developed for dogs will ensure they are completely comfortable. What’s more, there’s nothing worse than the smell of a wet dog coat!

If you think your dog is constantly a bit smelly then check this list of the best smelling dog shampoos, trust me they’ll help with nasty odours.

What are the Best Shampoos and Conditioners for Dogs?

Medicated Shampoo for Fleas

Fleas can cause severe discomfort and skin conditions for all kinds of dogs. However, depending on where you live, where you take your dog, if they live with other animals, etc., fleas can become quite a severe problem. Therefore, using medicated flea shampoo can help with their skin and make things more comfortable.

Shampoos for Itchy skin

Some dogs have itchy skin due to fleas, skin conditions, allergies, etc. If you are going to bathe them (which could help calm the skin), you would also do well to use anti-itch dog shampoo. A good quality shampoo will help them to feel more comfortable, and of course, smell better! 

Puppy Shampoos

A dog’s skin is very sensitive, and even more so for a puppy. Much like us humans only use baby shampoo on our little ones, it is best for pet parents to use puppy shampoo on their baby dogs to ensure that they have a healthy coat and healthy skin. 

Whitening Shampoo

If your dog has lighter, white fur, you may want to invest in a whitening shampoo. Over time, their fur can easily become tainted with external factors like dirt, grime, etc. A good dog whitening shampoo will help to restore your dog’s coat to its original glory.

Fox Poo Shampoo

Fox Poo shampoo is an award-winning product that works wonders at getting poo out and other terrible odours off of your dog’s fur. If you frequently walk your dog in the countryside, your dog needs something tough and gentle for frequent bathing.

Detangling Shampoo

Detangling shampoos are especially beneficial for long-haired or double-coated pets. They will make brushing far easier and help with any knots and built-up fur that could be clogging up your dog’s coat. 

Drying Your Dog After a Bath – Step by Step Guide

The first thing that you should do after showering your dog is, of course, dry them. Leaving them wet will increase their chances of getting cold, getting sick, or making them uncomfortable if they have a pre-existing health problem like arthritis. 

This guide will walk you through the best way to dry a dog after bath time.

It seems easy just to let dogs shake dry after bathing them. However, the towel dry method is a great way to make sure your pet is completely dry all over.

You should start by dabbing them dry with a soft towel. Always pat, or use a gentle circular motion! Rubbing the towel up and down their bodies will damage their coat. It could also cause severe pain and discomfort to dogs with skin conditions. 

After you have dabbed off the excess water, you should then use a dog blow dryer to finish drying them. 

Always use a dog blow dryer, as human ones run at a temperature that is far too hot for a dog’s sensitive skin.


Does bathing my dog remove their natural oils?

Take a look at the choice of great canine shampoo for a wide range of options. Washing your pet should not remove too much of their natural oils. However, frequent bathing, or rather, too frequent, will damage their skin, even if you use the right shampoo.

My dog hates bath time – what can I do?

Many dogs dislike baths – you’re not alone! In order to make bath time easier on your dog, you need to use positive reinforcement. You can use a treat like peanut butter, a dog chew, or their favourite toy. Either way, use it to make bathtime more fun and rewarding for them. 

How often should you wash Labrador Retrievers?

Depending on what you do with your dog on walks, activity-wise, and where you live, a Labrador Retriever should have regular baths up to every six weeks. However, you may wish to bathe dogs of this fur type more frequently, every other week or so, if they get tangled up or covered in mess! A lab is very likely to go bounding about – a dog’s breed can sometimes dictate washing schedules!

Final Thoughts

A clean dog is a healthy dog – and while they might thank you for it, pet parents will instantly tell that their dog is happier after scrubbing up.

Bathing your dog is an essential part of taking good care of them. You need to ensure that they are clean and flea-free, with strong, healthy coats – and are overall comfortable! However, the frequency at which you must bathe them obviously depends on their breed, coat type, health status, etc. It can take some time to get it right and definitely deserves adequate research, but it is overall worth it for your dog’s health and happiness!

Regular bathing will make things easier on both you and your dog – keeping a pet clean means reducing bad smells and removing nuisance matting, for example.

If you’re unsure how to bathe your pets or wash your dog effectively with a selection of dog shampoo, always ask your vet what your dog needs. Different pet breeds require particular attention – and in some cases, that means more frequent baths or being careful with health conditions. Of course, you should always take care of your dog’s eyes with water and shampoo!

Before you go ahead and turn regular bathing into more frequent bathing, ask your vet about what’s right for your pet – more baths, to start brushing sooner, or to give their coat a little more care, etc. Research is key to their happiness!

Donna Hepburn

Published author, content writer and qualified dog behaviourist I have owned dogs all my life from Boxers, Rottweilers and Akitas, to Staffies and currently a very demanding Frenchie who is harder work than all the others put together.

I had a collar making business for over 10 years and am involved with several doggy charities. I currently live in the northeast and when I am not writing about dogs I enjoy, travelling, cooking and reading.

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