How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

Published by
min read

Find food that fits your pet’s needs

Find a dog food that fits your pet’s needs

Find a cat food that fits your pet’s needs

Knowing how often to wash your dog can be tricky. With so many different types of dogs, lifestyles and health needs, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Keep reading for guidelines to help determine when, if ever, you need to bathe or wash your dog.

How often should I wash my dog? Things to consider

Generally speaking, a healthy dog with a short to medium-length coat and no skin problems doesn't need to be bathed very often, if at all. In most cases, dog baths are more for the benefit of their pet parents than for the dogs themselves. We all know some of our canine companions have a love of rolling in woodland delights! 

In some cases, though, your dog might need baths on a more regular basis. Examples of this would be:

  • Dogs that love mud! Some dogs are dainty princes and princesses that can hardly bear to step foot outside if it’s raining. Others, however, seem to be drawn to mud, puddles and ditches like a magnet! For these dogs, sometimes just being hosed off in the garden is enough. Other times, especially if they’ve found a particularly smelly ditch, or something really sticky to roll in, a shampoo might be in order.

  • Skin disorders such as seborrhoea (greasy skin). Sadly, some dogs are plagued by various skin conditions. Some of these respond really well to medicated shampoos, much the same as humans might use, say, an anti-dandruff shampoo. Your vet will tell you how often these need to be used and for how long.


  • Fungal and yeast infections. As above, medicated shampoos are sometimes needed for these conditions.

  • Parasites. It’s not as common these days with the advent of spot-ons, but sometimes anti-parasitic topical washes are a great fix for those irritating little hangers-on. Only ever use these under veterinary supervision and never on a species other than indicated on the bottle.

How often is too often?

If you don’t know if your dog needs a bath or not, then it’s pretty safe to assume they don’t! Excessive bathing can actually harm your pet. Bathing your dog too often will strip their natural oils, which they need for a healthy coat and skin.

If you're ever unsure whether you should bathe your dog, ask your veterinarian. By taking your dog's breed, health and lifestyle into account, they should be able to provide personalised guidelines to help you keep your dog clean and healthy.


Contributor Bio

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger, and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she usually writes under the supervision of a lapful of fur babies.


Reviewed by Dr. Hein Meyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl-ECVIM-CA and Dr. Emma Milne BVSc FRCVS