Most advice you find on the internet recommends washing your dog just several times per year!
Either these people have outdoor dogs or the articles were written a long time ago when the quality of pet shampoo was very poor! Times have changed! Today, dogs enjoy shampoos and conditioners that are on par with the best human shampoos- that don’t have harsh chemicals and that don’t strip the hair of all of its oils.
The arguments against washing your dog too often are generally about stripping the coat of natural oils. The more often you wash something, the more often the sebum (oil) is going to be removed. Think about your own hair. If you don’t wash it, what happens? It gets oily. Is the oil good for your hair? Probably, but we wash our hair everyday anyway so that it’s clean!
There are several factors you should consider when deciding how often to wash your dog which include:
1. Does your dog live indoors or outdoors, and does your dog sleep in your bed?
If your dog lives in your house with you and more importantly, if he/she sleeps in your bed, then you are probably going to wash your dog regularly–depending on the breed anywhere from once a week to once a month. I know this is radical thinking, but, if your dog sits on your sofa, you probably don’t want him dragging in dirt, poop, insects and other grime onto your sofa. So, the trade off is that your dog’s coat ~might ~ be marginally drier but you will have a fresh smelling dog that you can cuddle without the fear that gross stuff is getting into the sheets.
2. Breed of dog
Dogs that have dry skin can be bathed less frequently than dogs with oily skin. Harsh-textured coats repel dirt pretty well so they don’t get as dirty as a soft-coated dog. Dogs like Maltese, Yorkies, Afghans and Shitzus should be bathed once a week. Harsh-coated breeds, like Shelties and Collies, can be bathed once a month. If you’re not sure, remember, a clean dog is a happy dog!
One of my dog’s is a Maltese and I can’t imagine washing her less than once every week. Little white dogs pick up lots of dirt and by weeks end they are looking brown instead of white. Also, I hate to mention it but long-coated dogs get those famous cling on poops stuck to their bottoms.
My other dog, a Westie, who has a thicker coat, doesn’t get so dirty, but, I have to wash her every week due to the next point– allergies.
3. Is anyone in your household allergic to dogs?
If so, you SHOULD groom & bathe them as often as possible. According to the American Lung Association, doing so will help remove the dander that accumulates on a pet’s fur.
I am allergic to one of my dogs and when I don’t wash her once a week I get wheezy and sneezy.
4. What activities does your dog partake in?
Do you take your dog to the dog park? Does you dog play in the sand or dirt? Does your dog roll in the grass or go swimming or hiking? What about sniffing butts, eating poop or drooling?
Well, if you have a normal dog, she probably partakes in several of the above activities– all of which warrant regular bathing. Again, you have to think of the trade off. Your dog’s coat may be marginally drier HOWEVER, he will be cleaner, smell better, and most important you will be more likely to give a clean dog lots of love. Those smelly dogs we tend to keep at arms length.
5. Does your dog suffer from itchy skin?
Unlike humans who absorb most environmental allergens through their noses and mouths, dogs tend to absorb allergens through the skin. Weekly bathing can prevent itchiness , washing allergens away before they get a chance to penetrate the skin.
So at the conclusion of all of this – the answer for MOST dogs is to wash them once every week to once a month, depending on the above circumstances.
But remember, use a gentle pet shampoo and conditioner. Do not use your own shampoo.
Also, if you simply can’t wash your dog for a prolonged period of time you can use a dry shampoo, like Dry Dog Instant Clean - This is a really effective spray on bath replacement that helps to get rid of bad odors. Also, if you feed your dog a non-commercial, all natural and organic diet chances are your canine companion will be less smelly. Our favorite is a dehydrated raw pet food from the Honest Kitchen.