It’s obviously time to bathe our canine furkids when they smell a bit funky or roll in something unpleasant. But how often should we be washing them on a regular basis?
The importance of regular bathing
Regular bathing doesn’t just help remove your dog’s funk. It’s good for the health of his skin and coat. “Bathing helps to remove allergens like pollen from your dog’s skin,” notes Vanessa Davis, dog grooming instructor and owner of Dirty Dogs Spa in Wake Forest, NC. “It also gives you an opportunity to observe your dog for parasites and developing skin issues.” Catching skin issues early can lead to better treatment outcomes and better overall health.
The long and short of hair length
Longer hair is more prone to matting, tangling, and trapping dirt and allergens, so it typically needs more frequent and thorough grooming. Short hair needs less bathing, and can even be spot-cleaned after a run or an hour at the dog park. In general, Vanessa recommends bathing longer-haired dogs every four to six weeks, and shorter-haired dogs every six to twelve weeks.
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Scheduling by skin type
Dry skin repels dirt, while oily skin can trap it. Vanessa notes that dogs with oily skin, like basset hounds and Labradors, may benefit from weekly or every-other-week bathing to keep their skin and fur from becoming dirty and greasy.
Dogs with skin issues such as allergies, dermatitis, or hot spots, may benefit from more frequent bathing. They may also need therapeutic or medicinal shampoos to control itching and irritation or help them heal.
Caring for the undercoat
It’s recommended to bathe double-coated dogs like huskies, chow-chows, and German shepherds less often than other long-haired dogs, as a more limited bathing schedule can help protect the natural process of seasonal coat changes in these breeds.
Bathing on the go
Bathing and grooming your pooch just before you travel will keep him fresh for the journey, and will minimize shedding and mess in your car and in the hotel room. Pet wipes and DIY dog washes can help keep your pet clean if he gets into a messy situation while traveling.
Dogs who are more active may benefit from more frequent bathing. Pups who prefer digging, swimming, exploring, and rolling around in the grass may need baths more often than those who prefer leisurely walks through the neighborhood.
In the end, bathing your dog every four or six-weeks with adjustments based on their hair type, skin needs, and activity levels will ensure your pooch is fresh and clean pooch, and help promote his overall comfort and wellness.
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