Dog Bath 101: How Often Should I Wash My Dog?

Brown mutt dog in a bathtub with owner rinsing fur

“Bath time!” you call, as your pup sprints away at full-speed. Not all dogs enjoy bath time, and not all humans enjoy giving their dog a bath. After all, the process can get rather wet and messy. As fellow dog owners, we get it, but as tedious as this chore may be, it’s still necessary. So, just how often is often enough for a dog bath? And, is there such thing as giving too many dog baths?

Wash Your Dog Enough, But Not Too Much

Dog needs a bath after playing all day at the beach

A day of sand and sun usually warrants a bath to keep your dog’s skin clean and moisturized.

Dogs groom themselves with their tongues on a regular basis, a process that helps facilitate the growth of hair follicles while supporting skin health. Still, that doesn’t mean your dog is in the clear when it comes to bath time. Bathing can help supplement the self-grooming process when done right. Bathing your dog with the wrong shampoo, or even too frequently, can have negative drawbacks.

Indoor dogs with healthy skin may require only a few baths per year, depending on coat type. On the other hand, dogs with skin allergies or other medical conditions may require more frequent baths. A dog who spends a lot of time outdoors getting down and dirty is going to need more time in the tub than a dog who spends most of their days sleeping on a clean couch.

Signs Your Dog Needs a Bath

  • They smell
  • They’ve gotten muddy or otherwise dirty while playing outside
  • Their skin is noticeably dry or irritated
  • They have come into contact with a known allergen or irritant

Dog Bath Specifics Depend on Breed and Coat Type

Dog breed influences how often to give a bath and even what processes to use. For instance, a dog with a thick shedding coat requires a lot of brushing prior to soaking and moisturizing. They need to be brushed again post-bath, and may also need a dog conditioner.

Ask a groomer or your veterinarian about the best bathing practices for your dog’s specific breed, taking their health, lifestyle, and other conditions into consideration as well.

Can You Bathe Your Dog Too Much?

Yes, it is possible (and rather common) to give too many dog baths! For the most part, dogs don’t need more than one bath a month. Too many baths can cause your dog’s natural coat oils to strip away, leaving their skin irritated and their coat lackluster.

Use the Right Dog Shampoo

French Bulldog in bath tub with bottle of Sensitive Skin shampoo

Dogs with sensitive skin may benefit from a specially formulated shampoo.

The soap or shampoo you use to bathe your dog can make all the difference. Human shampoos should never be used on dogs because humans and dogs have unique pH levels. As a result, using human shampoo on dogs can leave pH levels out of whack, leading to issues like irritation and even skin infections.

Even if a shampoo is made for dogs, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good option for your dog. Always read the ingredients and search for dog shampoos made from all natural ingredients. Avoid shampoos with artificial colors or scents, as these can irritate dogs. If your dog has any skin issues going on, you’ll want a shampoo that will address their sensitive or itchy skin effectively but gently. If you’re concerned about plastic packaging, try a hand-cured shampoo bar!