Dogs get smelly. They roll on the ground, run happily through mud, and splash in puddles. This often leads dog owners to wonder how often they can bathe their dogs.
Can I bathe my dog twice a week? The short answer is yes. You can bathe your dog as often as necessary. Once per week is a more common bathing schedule for dogs, but you can bathe your dog twice a week if you prefer. In fact, bathing your dog can be an enjoyable experience for both of you.
While we as humans often shower daily, this isn’t reasonable for your dog. We do it to maintain hygiene and avoid smelling nasty to others. Your dog, however, has no such concern. Like some people need to shower or bathe more often because of oily skin or acne, dogs have individual needs that can determine how often they require bathing or whether frequent bathing is advised.
Factors that affect how often you should bath your dog
The majority of dogs will benefit from weekly or twice weekly bathing. This should keep your dog reasonably clean and its coat soft and shiny. There are, however, some factors that can affect how often your dog needs bathing.
The amount of oil in their fur and skin
Oily skin is considered a medical condition that is sometimes treated with medicated baths. Certain shampoos target excess oil production. In order to work effectively, these medications need to be in contact with your dog’s skin frequently, so you need to bathe him often. On the other hand, if your dog has dry, flaky skin, you may need to bathe him less often.
Topical products and medications
If you use topical flea medications, it’s recommended that you don’t use shampoo too often as it can reduce the effectiveness of the medication. Some of these medications are dependent on the oils in your dog’s skin to work, so if you insist on using shampoo every bath, look for one that is labeled “non-stripping.” Oral flea medications aren’t impacted by bathing, so if you find your dog needing a bath every few days, you might choose an oral parasite control product.
Your dog’s training and tolerance level
Dogs aren’t born loving baths; they have to be taught. Just like anything else, some dogs love water, and some dogs don’t. Be patient when teaching your dog to accept a bath, and if he’s afraid, don’t force it. Providing some treats in the bathtub can help it feel like a positive experience for your dog.
Can my dog be negatively affected by bathing twice a week?
If you are bathing your dog twice a week, watch for some signs that it’s affecting your dog’s skin oils or his skin’s pH levels in a negative way. These include:
- Dry, scaly, itchy, or dandruff-covered skin
- Excessive scratching
- Your dog’s coat becoming dull-looking or brittle
If your dog’s skin gets irritated from too many baths, they often start scratching a lot. A dog’s nails can cause tiny scratches on their skin, which can subsequently become infected.
What are the positive effects of bathing your dog twice a week?
If your dog has an allergic skin condition or produces excessive oils, they can definitely benefit from frequent bathing. Bathing your dog regularly can provide a bonding experience for you and your dog. If your dog associates having a bath as a positive experience, he will look forward to it as an opportunity to receive love and attention.
Bath time is also an excellent time for you to conduct a thorough inspection of your dog’s coat and skin. Clean fur and skin are essential for your dog’s overall health, and his skin is much for visible when he’s wet. You’ll want to search for changes in their coat and skin, differences in texture, lumps and bumps, missing fur chunks, and the presence of any parasites.
Things to keep in mind when deciding how often to bathe your dog
- If your dog comes in from his day’s activities and you can smell him, he needs a bath. If he comes in covered in dry mud and dirt, he also needs a bath. It’s a good idea to brush out the large chunks of mud and dirt first (ideally outside) and then put him in the water.
- The breed of your dog matters. Some non-shedding breeds will require regular grooming by a professional. Double-coated dogs need extra care when conditioning and combing out their coat.
- Size matters too. If you have a small dog, it’s easy enough to put them in the bathtub regularly. However, if you have a Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, or another large breed dog, finding a bathing method you can do outside might be more efficient. Dogs do great with outdoor tubs and hoses as long as they are trained accordingly. If you do decide to use a garden hose, make sure the water temperature isn’t too cold!
What’s the most extended amount of time my dog should go between baths?
At a minimum, you should bathe your dog at least once every three months. When in doubt, use your judgment about whether your dog needs a bath based on how soiled his coat is and how bad it smells.
Do baths make dogs feel better?
It’s common for dogs to have post-bath hyperactivity, also known as the “zoomies.” The reasons behind this range from relief to happiness, to a desire to alter their new smell. Whatever the cause, know that your dog’s hyperactive nature after a bath is a scientifically documented occurrence.
What are some ways to clean my dog’s coat between baths?
Some options for freshening your dog’s smell between baths include:
- Applying a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water
- Spritzing your dog’s coat with lemon water
- Coconut oil
- Dry shampoo (make sure it’s safe for dogs)
- Baking soda
- Pet-friendly cleaning wipes. Make sure they are specially formulated to be safe for your pet.
Family Dog Expert Author
Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.