How Often Does My Dog Need To Be Washed?

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The straight forward answer is every 4-6 weeks for long haired breeds and every 8-12 weeks for short haired breeds. Why? Well, that’s the average time it takes for your dog to get dirty to the point they probably require a wash.
However, every dog is different.

“You shouldn’t wash your dog more than once a month as it strips the natural oils from their coats. This can ruin the quality of their hair and cause skin conditions and itching.”

-Old School Thinking

This is FALSE.
Dog shampoo used to be quite harsh, and there are still some out there that I would advise against using too frequently, but, if you have a really good shampoo, the more natural it is the safer it is, then you should have no problem at all washing your dog daily or once a week if you really wanted to. In this article, I explain what to look for in a dog shampoo, but, you can also ask your trusted groomer.

Feel free to share the love.

Do I NEED to wash my dog?
I believe you do. I personally wash my dog (Short Haired Dachshund) rarely, but I do still wash him.
Just like humans, dogs have skin that sheds frequently. They pick up all kinds of things from outside and even just from themselves and their own bodily functions.
Dust, bugs, food, saliva, pollen, sticks, grass, poop/pee etc. All of this could be sitting on your dog’s skin and in its coat.
I can always tell when it’s just about time to wash my dog. Dirt and skin cells are left on my hand after a play and a pat. Sometimes, he itches a little more than usual. And, I brush him weekly to every second week with a conditioning spray. You’ll be amazed at how much dirt & skin cells are removed by brushing. Next time you brush your dog, have a look at the brush. Oh and, clean it too!
If I never washed him, all of that debris would be sitting on his skin.

To anyone with a short haired dog who never gets washed, you probably think I’m being overdramatic. For me, having a pet isn’t about getting away with as little care as possible because “they’ll be fine”. It’s providing as much care as I can. I’m sure your dog is perfectly happy and fine with not being washed. But think about how much more comfortable they may be after a nice massage, be that in the tub or with a brush. How much more healthy their skin would be without a layer of dead skin cells on top.
So, no, you don’t have to, I’m sure they’ll be fine. But a bath will only improve them.

My Dog goes for a swim at the beach for his bath.
If your dog is comfortable with this then who am I to tell you otherwise!… Ok, I’ll tell you. 😛
The ocean is full of salt & minerals which is often reported as being great for skin conditions in people & animals, but, it can also be very drying.
I always recommend at least a rinse in fresh water and then a brush. I’d also be applying a conditioning spray or coat oil to add in any moisture that may have been lost in the ocean.

If you don’t have any conditioning spray/coat oil, a rinse in fresh water should be enough. Once they’re dry you’ll be able to run your hands through their coat and feel if it’s dry and brittle. Sometimes it’s not until a few days later so keep an eye on them and if they do seem dry and itchy. It might be worth trying a spray/oil next time.

I think you’ll find, your dog is quite itchy after a swim at the beach and for those people who like the beach, no matter how careful you are, you always get sand stuck somewhere! A freshwater rinse is also good for removing any sand that could be hanging out on your dog.

Think about your dog’s body type.
My Dachshund has short legs, obviously :D, and quite a large chest. His legs are very close to his chest meaning I have to ensure his armpits are dried thoroughly whenever he gets wet to avoid causing an infection or making him itchy and uncomfortable. Whether I’ve chosen the ocean as his bath or my laundry sink, as a responsible pet owner and an animal lover, It’s my job to ensure he is healthy and happy. Sometimes, that means drying his armpits!

What DOES cause skin conditions?
I’m so glad you asked! There are lots of things that can cause skin conditions but here are the most common causes – some of which you probably never would have thought of.

  • Mites &/or Fleas
  • Excessive use of the heater or aircon leading to very dry air
  • Or just if you live in a very dry area
  • Poor, Inadequate Diet
  • Medical Condition
  • Poor Quality Shampoo
  • Food or Environmental Allergies

So the next time someone says, “Oh, you’re washing your dog again! You’re going to ruin their coat and give them skin issues.” you can let them know that you’re doing your absolute best for your dog! 🙂

Some great shampoos are:
Pet Way – Made of natural ingredients & used by many groomers.
Essential Dog – 100% Natural with certified organic ingredients and no synthetic fragrances.
Cider & Basil – Made of natural ingredients & uses essential oils for its effective properties.
*I have no affiliation with any of these brands, however, I do stock Essential Dog in salon.

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