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How Often Do Dogs Need Baths?

How often should you wash your dog

It’s no secret that every dog can get a little stinky and need a bath from time to time. But how often do dogs need baths? The answer differs depending on your dog.

The frequency of dog washes is multifactorial, but bathing dogs monthly is a good rule of thumb. Different dogs vary in bathing requirements depending on the breed, activity levels, and coat type. Regular bathing keeps your dog smelling fresh and helps to distribute natural oils on the skin. 

Bathing sessions offer an excellent opportunity to inspect your dog for flea bites, bumps, and other abnormalities. Besides the recommended monthly baths, you can use your judgment to decide whether your dog needs a bath. If your canine friend smells, it’s probably time to scrub them down. 

The breed’s coat type

Baths every 4 to 6 weeks can suffice for most medium to long-haired dog types. Long-haired dogs like the collie and Maltese need frequent baths every month because their long hair can trap dirt and debris. However, the standard of measuring intervals between baths doesn’t strictly go by coat length.

No matter the frequency of baths your dog needs, it’s imperative that you use quality shampoo for baths. Our dog shampoo and conditioner soothes dry skin and conditions your pup’s coat leaving it soft and moisturized. The highly effective yet gentle formula enables you to give your pup quality baths.

It’s not as straightforward as the shorter the hair a dog has, the fewer baths they need. Some hairless breeds like the Argentine Pila Dog and the Chinese Crested need weekly baths. These dogs lack the protection a coat provides, necessitating more frequent baths. 

Dogs with oily skin like basset hounds, which some owners state tend to have more of an odor, need regular monthly washes. Dogs with thick double coats that shed like golden retrievers, Siberian huskies, and Labrador retrievers need regular brushing and baths to eliminate shed hair that traps debris. 

Short-haired breeds like the Doberman pinscher and Weimaraner are quite low maintenance but need baths at least every two months. If you’re unsure about your dog’s coat type and grooming requirements, you can ask your vet or groomer during the next visit. 

The dog’s lifestyle

Active dogs that engage in plenty of outdoor activities like swimming and playing in the park get dirty faster. Dogs that love the outdoors can roll in waste, dig holes, and run over muddy puddles. Watching your dog leave muddy paw prints in your house is unbearable, so they’d need more washes. 

Sometimes your outdoor-loving dog stinks because of reasons other than their environment. You can find our article if you want to know why your dog stinks even after a bath, as some are medical reasons. An indoor dog can get away with fewer baths than one that goes outside and plays in the dirt. 

Athletic dogs need frequent baths even if they’re not visibly messy. The baths help to eliminate the offensive odor that could result from the outdoors. How many baths athletic dogs need is more of a personal issue based on your judgment. You can wash your athletic dog when snuggle time becomes uncomfy because of the offensive odor. 

Health conditions

Certain health conditions like skin infections and allergies affect the number of baths your dog should take. Dogs with skin conditions have more sensitive skin with an altered structure that is damage-prone. Most dogs with dermatitis (skin inflammation) require frequent application of a special shampoo prescribed by the vet. 

If your dog suffers from a skin infection, you’ll notice redness, discolored skin patches, or rashes in the problem areas. It’s essential to address skin issues promptly because constant scratching and biting by your dog create lesions that are leeway for secondary yeast and bacterial infections.  

Allergic dogs can suffer the same skin fate as those with bacterial and yeast skin infections. Allergic reactions trigger itchiness and dry skin, which your dog reacts to by scratching vigorously. For pups with environmental allergies, wiping your dog with a damp cloth eliminates allergens from the body surface. 

Your vet or groomer can suggest the right medicated shampoo for your pup with skin issues. Technique matters as much as shampoo, so it’s best to know how to bathe your dog correctly. When you wash your dog, ensure you rinse all the shampoo off and dry them thoroughly. 

Even healthy dogs must have a proper grooming regimen to stay that way. For healthy and allergic dogs alike, brush their teeth and coats at least twice a week and trim their nails every month. Coat maintenance through brushing may be relatively challenging for dogs with skin conditions, so seek veterinary advice in such circumstances. 

Owner’s comfort and convenience

Sometimes, you may need to bathe your dog between the month for your health and comfort. Perhaps your dog’s odor is almost unbearable, and it’s starting to stink up the house. You’ll need to wash your dog more frequently if their smell makes you uncomfortable because you’re the one to live with them. 

It’s important to remember that dogs can’t be completely odor-free, but some breeds stink less than others. Owners claim that breeds like Basenji, bichon frise, Maltese, and Puli, among others, stink at a slower rate than other dog breeds. Baths won’t make your dog smell perfectly fresh, but they improve the situation. 

Some people are allergic to pet dander or to allergens dogs bring back home from the outdoors, like pollen. Washing your dog frequently helps reduce the amount of pet dander your canine pal produces and significantly lowers the risk of allergic reactions. 

Some dogs like the bichon frise, Maltese, and the poodle are hypoallergenic. Such dogs shed very little, making them less likely to trigger allergic reactions than other dogs. It’s important to note that no dog is completely hypoallergenic, so the only way to know for sure is by spending time with the dog.

If you’re allergic to pet dander but own a dog, a dander-removing shampoo is your close friend. Some shampoo manufacturers claim their products remove up to 50% of dander with weekly application. The best way to know the right course of action is to consult a professional for advice. 

The kind of products you use to wash your dog is arguably more important than the number of baths. Harsh products like human shampoos will have far-reaching consequences on your pup’s coat health. Mild dog shampoos with natural ingredients like oatmeal, aloe vera, and herbs maintain good coat health. 

However, just because your dog can get more baths doesn’t mean they have to. Unless there’s a medical reason for the increased baths or your dog has a pungent smell, many baths aren’t necessary. Overbathing your dog with the wrong products strips your dog’s coat of its natural oils, leading to dryness. 

Final Thoughts 

Most dogs do well with monthly baths for optimum coat health. You can stretch the intervals between baths to 2 to 3 months but don’t exceed this time as that would be under bathing your dog. Breed coat type is an essential determinant of the frequency of baths, with long-haired dogs needing more baths. 

Dogs suffering from skin issues require more baths following a vet’s prescription of medicated shampoo. People suffering from allergies may wash their dogs more frequently with a dander-removing shampoo. You risk stripping your dog’s coats of vital natural oils if you over-bathe them with harsh products. 

Why Does My Dog Still Smell After a Bath?

You would expect your pup to smell citrus fresh after a bath. However, sometimes our canine friends have a clingy odor even after grooming. If this is the case, you’re a concerned pet parent who wants to eliminate the fetid doggy smell that persists even after showers. 

It is perfectly natural for your dog to have some smell. An excessive odor that lingers long after a bath indicates something more sinister within your dog. Skin problems, anal gland issues, and ear infections are some reasons your dog still smells after a bath. 


Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.

Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

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