Have you ever wondered how many times you are supposed to shower a dog? Some people give their pups a bath once or twice a year, while others are asking “how many times a week should I shower my dog?”
To help you create the perfect bathing schedule once and for all, we’ve come up with seven questions you can answer to determine how often you should wash your dog. These are questions about the dog’s lifestyle, coat, and medical situation. While every pup is unique, the traits they have in common can help you figure out the best bath schedule for them. (Scroll down to start the quiz)
Take Our Quiz To Find Out How Often You Should Wash Your Dog
There’s a popular belief that washing your dog too often is bad for their coat because it’ll dry it out. However, when determining how often to bathe your dog there really are more important considerations than dry skin, like, does your dog sleep in your bed or sit on your couch? If so, you probably don’t want poo residue and other yucky things dragged in.
1. Where Does Your Dog Spend Time During the Day?
An outside dog by their very nature, is going to be a dirtier dog than than a couch dog. Dogs love to run, dig and roll around in the dirt. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, you’ll need to bathe them more often than a dog who likes to stay in the house.
So, how often should you bathe indoor dogs? The frequency of these baths varies a lot depending on your dog’s breed makeup and activity level, but generally speaking, you only need to bathe an inside dog between 1-2 times per month. An outside dog needs baths more frequently if you want to bring them in the house!
Give yourself the following points
✔️ 1 pt Inside dog
✔️ 2 pts Combo inside / outside
✔️ 3 pts Outside dog
2. Where Does Your Dog Sleep?
If your dog sleeps in your bed with you, you should be bathing her at least weekly or every other week. This depends on how fast it takes your dog to start smelling less than fresh.
If your dog sleeps in her own bed, then you don’t have to worry about her bringing dirt and other gross things onto the sheets, and this doesn’t have to be a factor in how frequently you decide to give her a bath! But don’t forget, you still have to bathe her occasionally– and you need to wash her bed, too! Some beds can go into the washing machine as-is. Others have a cover you need to remove. Either way, keeping your dog’s bed clean can help keep your pup smelling good for longer.
✔️ 1 pt Sleeps on their own bed & doesn’t go on couches
✔️ 2 pts Sleeps on own bed & does go on couches
✔️ 5 pts Sleeps in your bed
3. What Breed Is Your Dog?
This one is a two part question.
Part A is based on the type of coat or hair your dog has.
Your dog’s breed will determine a lot about whether or not you have to bathe them frequently. This comes down to a few factors, primarily coat type, skin type, and skin wrinkles.
Rough Textured Coat
A dog with a rough-textured coat like collies, some terriers, and Shelties can usually be bathed about once a month. This is because the long, rough guard hairs in their coat work to repel dirt. The same is true for dogs with oily fur, like labradors. This is also known as a double coat.
Soft Coated Dogs & No Undercoats
But dogs without an undercoat, like Yorkies, Shih Tzus, and Lhasa Apsos tend to collect oil and debris in their coats. Soft-coated dogs like poodles and doodles also have soft coats that dirt tends to cling to. These dogs need a bath every week to every two weeks.
Hairless dogs actually need bathing quite frequently. They don’t have the skin protection that fur provides, and they should be bathed weekly. Also, dogs with oily skin like cocker spaniels and basset hounds benefit from weekly or biweekly baths.
Finally, wrinkly dogs like bulldogs, pugs, and shar peis need frequent bathing. This doesn’t have to be a full bath, but they usually can’t groom their skin folds and need assistance to prevent fungal infections. This includes the folds on their face and around their tail. You can also get special shampoo for these breeds to help keep them clean longer.
✔️ 1 pt Rough coated or oily
✔️ 3 pts Soft coated or no undercoat
✔️ 4 pts Hairless or wrinkly
Part B is based on how tall your dog is.
If your dog is low to the ground then they’ll get dirtier because they’re well, closer to the ground, where all the gunk is. A maltese or pomeranian are perfect examples because they have lots of hair and they’re low to the ground, so they are literally sweeping the floor as they go by. Another example is a Basset Hound. They’re actually quite big, but because they are low to the ground they’ll get dirtier than a taller dog.
✔️ 1 pt Tall Dog
✔️ 3 pts Short Dog
4. Do You Have Allergies?
Sometimes a dog’s bath isn’t just to make your dog more comfortable– it can make you or anyone else in your family with a dog allergy more comfortable, too! If you’re allergic to your dog, you’re most likely allergic to their dander or their saliva. Saliva is slobber, and dander is tiny flecks of skin shed by dogs and all other animals with fur or feathers. (Yes, that means us too!) When a dog sheds, dander is released into the air as the individual hairs drop from their coat. Dried saliva can also flake off from your dog’s fur and become airborne, so even if you’re not allergic to the dander, these proteins can be a problem, too.
Fortunately, one of the easiest ways to keep your dog’s dander low is to give him a bath. This helps free loose hairs and dander, which is trapped by the water and goes harmlessly down the drain. If someone in the family has allergies, bathing 1 or 2 times per week can help the situation.
✔️ 1 pt Noone has allergies
✔️ 5 pts Someone in household has allergies
5. Does Your Dog Have Allergies?
Just like us, dogs can have allergies, too! Humans tend to absorb most allergens as we breathe through our noses and mouths. Dogs, on the other hand, absorb most of their allergens through their skin. If you see your dog constantly scratching or biting at their skin, and you don’t see any hot spots or injuries, your dog may have allergies.
Bathing is one of the best ways to help a dog with itchy skin. It physically removes the allergens before they can sink in. You can get medicated shampoo from your veterinarian’s office, or you can help your dog with a home remedy– an oatmeal bath! If you use cool water and keep the amount of shampoo you use appropriate, you can bathe an itchy dog once or twice weekly. Your veterinarian will help you figure out how frequently your dog needs a bath. Dogs with allergies can be washed up to 3x per week.
✔️ 1 pt Dog does not have allergies or itchy skin
✔️ 3 pts Dog has allergies or itchy skin
Pro Tip: Brushing your dog regularly can help minimize itchy skin.
6. What Is Your Dog’s Activity Level?
Is your dog more of an athlete or a couch potato? Would she rather catch a frisbee or catch some Zs on the sofa? The more active your dog is, the more likely they are to get dirty and need a bath sooner rather than later. And while dogs don’t sweat like people do, they still do have some sweat glands on their paws. These sweat glands work just like human sweat glands to help cool your dog off during periods of heat or physical activity– so your dog might get a little extra stinky if she’s active a lot.
✔️ 1 pt My dog’s a couch potato
✔️ 2 pts My dog gets moderate exercise
✔️ 3 pts My dog’s an athlete
Related Content: Sammie’s First Bath! 8 Week Chihuahua Rescue Puppy
7. Does Your Dog Have Any Health Conditions?
Sometimes, itchy skin on a dog isn’t due to allergies but is due to an infection. If that’s happening with your dog, you will probably need to bathe him twice a week with medicated shampoo until the infection clears up. Medicated shampoo is almost always the best option for treating a dog’s skin infection. Bathing can also help diagnose and treat fleas and ticks!
✔️ 1 pt My dog doesn’t have any infections or other health conditions
✔️ 3 pts My dog does have infections or other health conditions
So, how often should you wash your dog?
How many points did you get?
✅ 8-11 points – every 3-4 months
✅ 12-16 points – 1x month
✅ 17-21 points – twice a month
✅ 22 – 26 points- 1x – 3x per week
Ultimately, how often you should wash your dog depends on… you and your dog and your tolerance for a dirty dog (even if you can’t see the dirt). Use a high quality shampoo and conditioner so you can preserve the natural oils in your dog’s coat.
How Often Should You Wash Your Dog? The FAQs
If you’ve got more specific questions about bathing your dog, or want to know how frequently some top breeds should be washed, keep reading!
If your dog is getting particularly dirty during the summer, it’s okay to bathe a few days in a row, but it’s not a good idea to use shampoo every single day of the summer. Instead, it’s better to let your dog be a little dirty in between washes, and stick to once a week for outdoor and working dogs, and once a month for indoor dogs and pets.
If you want to bathe your dog during the summer to cool down, a better idea is to give them a small kid-sized pool to splash in filled with non-chlorinated water.
Yes! It doesn’t matter when you bathe your dog, just so long as you have everything you need to do it safely and effectively.
Puppies are prone to accidents, and can get pretty messy in their first few months of life. Most people bring their puppies to the groomer or give them a bath every six weeks or so, but you can do more frequent wash-ups in between if your puppy is getting into sticky situations.
Labs have short, smooth fur, and don’t retain a lot of dirt in their coat. We recommend baths every 1-3 months for healthy Labs, depending on their activity level.
Pitbulls have very short, silky fur, and hold very little dirt in their coat. We recommend baths every 1-3 months for healthy Pitbulls, depending on their activity level.
Bernedoodles need to be professionally groomed, not just bathed at home, and should be brought to a groomer at least once every 6-8 weeks. Daily brushing is also recommended.
Goldendoodles need to be professionally groomed, not just bathed at home, and should be brought to a groomer at least once every 6-8 weeks. Daily brushing is also recommended.
Border Collies have long, thick fur that can retain a lot of dirt and debris, and should be bathed once every 1-2 months. Daily brushing is also recommended.
Dachshunds have very short and silky fur that does not hold dirt or grime. We recommend baths every 1-3 months for healthy Dachshunds, depending on their activity level.
French Bulldogs have very short and silky fur that does not hold dirt or grime. We recommend baths every 1-3 months for healthy Frenchies, depending on their activity level.
Check out Willie, a Blind Golden Retriever Getting His First Bath