When your dog has just rolled in something stinky, there’s no question he needs a bath. But what about dogs that don’t ever get particularly dirty—how often do they need a bath? And how do you know if you’re bathing them too much or not enough?
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer since every situation is different. Your dog’s bath schedule will depend on a number of factors, including their:
That said, your dog should get a bath at least once every 3 months. Active, dirty dogs should be bathed as needed, but full shampoo baths should be given no more than once a week. Too frequent bathing depletes the skin’s natural oils, causing irritation and dryness. In situations when your pup doesn’t need a full bath but is still a little dirty, you can spot clean with grooming wipes or a wet washcloth. For muddy paws, just plop your pup in the tub and rinse off the dirty areas. When bathing as part of a medical treatment plan, your vet will provide advice on how often to bathe and what kind of shampoo to use.
Part of being a responsible dog owner includes regularly inspecting your dog’s body to be aware of any changes or health concerns. Because their fur flattens down when wet, bath time is a great opportunity to look for lumps, scratches, parasites or changes in your dog’s coat or skin health. Baths are also an extra excuse to give your dog a nice massage and bond with him.
It all boils down to using your best judgment to give your dog baths as needed. If more than three months has passed and your dog isn’t smelly or uncomfortable, it’s totally fine to delay the bath. If your dog doesn’t need a bath very frequently, be sure to regularly examine his body for abnormalities.
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