For new dog owners, there are a lot of questions to be answered. And at East Valley Animal Hospital, grooming is among the most common subjects we get asked about. Along with regular brushing and haircuts (depending on the breed), you’ll want to bathe your dog to keep his coat clean, healthy and smelling fresh. But not all dogs are alike when it comes to bath time. In order to determine the answer to the question “how often should you wash your dog?”, there are a few considerations:
Washing your dog isn’t just about his hygiene. Many pet parents bathe their dogs regularly because of the smell. But over-bathing could cause issues with your dog’s coat. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, there are some general guidelines for washing different coat types.
Hairless: Just because your dog has little to no hair doesn’t mean you can skip the grooming process! In fact, breeds like the Chinese crested or the Mexican hairless (Xoloitzcuintli) need to be bathed more than other dogs. These breeds may require a bath once a week with a gentle shampoo along with a regular skincare regimen.
Thick Double Coat (long or short hair): Dogs with more hair require more bathing right? To some degree, yes. Grooming dogs with an undercoat such as Bernese mountain dogs, German shepherds, labrador retrievers, and even the tiny Pomeranian will certainly be more work. But over-bathing could strip the natural oils their coats produce which lubricate the skin. These dogs can use a bath once a month with a shampoo that contains conditioning agents specifically designed for thick, full coats.
Medium Coat: A medium or moderate coat may mean that your dog has a bit of an undercoat, or it may not. A bath every four to six weeks for poodles, spaniels and other medium coat dogs should be plenty.
Thin Coat: Vizslas, Boston terriers and chihuahuas are good examples of dogs with short hair and thin coats. You may even be able to see the skin through the hair, it’s so thin. Dogs with a light coat can be bathed every four weeks with a gentle conditioning shampoo if they are smelly, but generally do not need to be bathed as much as thick or medium haired dogs.
It would make sense that dogs who play outside in the mud or enjoy swimming would need groomed and washed more frequently. Dogs with short hair may only need a rub down with a wet cloth when they get dirty, whereas dogs with long hair may require a deeper cleaning. Dogs that spend the majority of their time in the house won’t need to be bathed as often.
If your dog has skin allergies, your vet may recommend frequent baths to remove irritants as part of the treatment. On the other hand, some skin conditions may require less bathing. Ultimately, you should consult your vet when choosing how often to wash your dog if he is suffering from health conditions.
Vet in Gilbert
So how often should you wash your dog? A good rule of thumb is to bathe your dog when they are no longer huggable; no more, no less. Because the condition of your dog’s coat says a lot about his health, proper grooming is essential. And since each breed and hair type requires unique grooming tools and shampoos, East Valley Animal Hospital in Gilbert is here to answer any questions you may have. Just give us a call: 480-568-2462.