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How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?

When it comes to the dilemma of how often dogs should be bathed, the world seems to be split in two. On one hand, there are dog owners who will bathe their dogs only when absolutely necessary such as after spending the day rolling in cow pies or following an unpleasant encounter with Pepe le Pew. On the other hand, there are dog owners who feel that their dogs must always boast a pristine coat and smell fresh as roses, so off to the groomer they go. How often should dogs be bathed though? The answer tends to vary based on various factors.

Know Your Dog Breed’s Needs

Dogs have different grooming requirements and these often vary from one breed to another. For instance, dogs breeds that have coats with hair that constantly grows require regular visits to the grooming salon for a routine shampoo and cut; whereas, non-shedding breeds with a healthy coat can be generally bathed about every six to eight weeks, suggests veterinarian Cheryl Yuill. On the other hand, dogs with heavy undercoats do best bathed during peak shedding season, which generally happens in the spring or fall.

Consider Your Dog’s Medical Conditions

Some dogs have medical conditions and benefit from frequent bathing. For instance, dogs suffering from environmental allergies such as to grasses, pollens and mold, benefit from bathing after spending time outside. It’s important to remember that dogs tend to absorb allergens through the skin, explains veterinarian Shawn Messonnier. He suggests to bathe dogs every other day or 2 to 3 times per week during peak allergy season. Then, once the itching seems under control, the dog can be bathed as needed. Dogs with certain skin conditions may also benefit from more frequent bathing. These dogs may require prescription medicated shampoos under the instructions of a vet.

Check Your Dog’s Lifestyle

The frequency with which you bathe your dog will also depend on your dog’s lifestyle and daily habits. If your dog spends most of his time outdoors in the yard and at night sleeps in the dog house when weather permits, you’ll likely not wash him as often as you would if your dog slept on the couch or on the bed with you. While bathing your dog every week or two will make your dog shed less and smell better so you can enjoy him around the home more, it’s important to do so using the right shampoo, points out veterinarian Dr. Patty Khuly.

Use the Right Shampoo

While bathing your dog after rolling in the mud is a no-brainer, the most important question to ask is will the benefits of bathing on a frequent basis outweigh the risks? The biggest risk associated with frequent bathing is stripping a dog’s coat from its natural oils which can cause skin irritations in the long run, but this is mostly seen when using harsh shampoos. If you use a mild, hypoallergenic shampoo that’s formulated for veterinary use, it’s safe to bathe your dog once a week, explains veterinary dermatologist, Dr. Terese DeManuelle.

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