How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

Filed in Dog Health on September 12, 2020

How often should you wash your dog

If given the choice, dogs would probably choose to avoid bathing altogether. In fact, I have a whole blog post on overcoming a dog’s fear of bathing.

My dogs basically run from me when they realize it’s bath time.

Unfortunately for dogs, bathing is a necessity at some point.

But how often should you wash your dog? Is there anything you should do before or after? Can you use human shampoo?

This article will answer all of those questions and more, so that you’re perfectly prepared for doggy bath time.

I may earn a commission if you buy through my links and I earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate.

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

welsh corgi pembroke bathingHow often you should wash your dog depends on your dog’s breed and lifestyle.

Typically, long-haired dogs would need more frequent washing than dogs with short coats since shorter coats don’t collect as much dirt or debris.

Some dogs can go for months without baths before they begin to stink. On the other hand, hairless breeds like the Chinese Crested require weekly baths.

Certain breeds have rather oily coats that cause them to have that signature doggy smell, thus requiring weekly to biweekly bathing to keep their owners happy.

It may be helpful to do some research about the breed of dog you have to learn more about its coat and specific grooming needs.

Dogs that frequently engage in outdoor activities need bathing more often for obvious reasons. No one wants their dog tracking mud all over the house, nor do we humans tend to enjoy the smell of whatever dead thing our dogs managed to roll in.

For example, taking your dog for a swim tends to be great fun for both pet and owner, but most lakes don’t smell like sunshine and daisies — far from it.

Bathing Recommendations for Popular Dog Breeds

Although every dog is different, here’s some general bathing recommendations below that I found on other websites for popular breeds:

  1. Labrador Retrievers- when dirty.
  2. German Shepherds-  once per month.
  3. Golden Retrievers- at least every 45 days.
  4. French Bulldogs- every 1-2 months.
  5. Bulldogs- at least every 6 weeks at most.
  6. Poodles- once a month.
  7. Beagles- every 3-4 weeks.
  8. Rottweilers- every 2 months, but less time if more active.
  9. Pointers (German Shorthaired)- every 4-6 weeks.
  10. Pembroke Welsh Corgis- every 4-8 weeks.

Keep in mind, there are a wide variety of recommendations for every breed above, so don’t rely entirely on these.

If you’re still not sure how often you should bathe your dog, a good rule of thumb would be to do so whenever your dog is dirty or stinky.

Can You Bathe Your Dog Too Much?

It’s important to remember that there is such a thing as too much bathing. If you wash your dog too often, you can dry out their skin which can lead to a whole other set of problems.

Dogs with dry skin may suffer from the following according to the AKC:

  • dandruff
  • flaking
  • hair loss
  • increased oiliness
  • inflammation
  • itchiness
  • odor
  • pimples
  • scabs
  • scaling

For your dog’s comfort and to avoid a trip to the vet, it’s best not to overdo it with the baths.

There are many products available, like dry shampoos and deodorizing sprays, that you can use to freshen up your dog between washes.

Grooming Your Dog Before and After a Bath

Bath time shouldn’t just be about soaping and rinsing your dog clean. Instead, you should take the time to groom your dog in general.

Here are some grooming recommendations related to bath time:

Grooming Before Baths

owner brushing dogYour dog’s coat has natural oils that help keep it healthy and free of dirt and debris. By brushing your dog, you can help spread these oils throughout the coat. If your dog does have any dirt in her coat, brushing can help remove it.

In fact, regularly brushing your dog may increase the time he can go without a bath.

We suggest brushing your dog once per week, but some dogs may need it more frequently depending on their coats such as long-haired dogs.

It can also be helpful to brush your dog before a bath. This will get rid of loose hair, meaning it won’t end up in your tub.

However, if your dog’s hair is tangled and matted, you may want to skip this step.

Instead, you’ll want to use conditioner on the coat and gently try to work the mats out. If a dog’s coat hasn’t been well-maintained, their hair is easier to brush after it has been washed and conditioned.

Grooming After Baths

It’s normal for a bath to loosen even more of your dog’s fur. This is great because it means you can more easily get it out with a brush instead of waiting for it to fall all over your house and clothes.

You’ll want to wait until the coat is dry, however, as it’s much easier to brush.

Brushing a wet coat can also be uncomfortable for your dog, as brushes are more likely to stick in the fur and tug at the skin.

If brushing both before and after a bath seems like too much, then we would suggest brushing after the bath.

If your dog has floppy ears rather than pricked ears, you may want to take extra care of them after a bath.

This is especially important if your dog is prone to ear infections.

You can clean their ears with a solution (follow the instructions on the product) or you can use a cotton ball to gently remove any water in the ears.

Infection can happen when moisture is trapped inside the ears, which is why it’s important to take care of them.

Where Is The Best Place to Wash a Dog At Home?

If your dog is too big to fit in the kitchen sink, bath time can be tough. Let’s compare the best places to bathe your dog at home, so you can find the right option for you.

In the bathtub

Dog getting washed in bathtubIf you get a handheld sprayer, it’s easy to wash your dog in the tub. You can also control the temperature of the water to make sure it’s comfortable (hint: you should be using warm but not hot water).

The downside to washing in the tub is that it usually requires a lot of kneeling and bending, so it can be quite uncomfortable. If your dog is a shedder, you may find the drain clogged if you don’t take any precautions.

In a stationary tub

If you have a stationary tub in your house, this can be a great option for washing your dog. Stationary tubs are raised off the ground, which means you won’t need to bend over to suds up your pup. You can also buy sprayers that connect to the sink nozzle if the tub doesn’t already have one. These are often used by vets to bathe dogs in their office.

Just as with the bathtub, you’ll want to protect the drain from getting clogged with fur. While stationary tubs are great for washing small to medium-sized dogs that can be lifted in, larger dogs probably won’t fit.

In the yard

The great thing about washing your dog outdoors is that it means absolutely no mess to clean up. You won’t have to worry about your drains getting clogged with dog hair, either. Even better, your dog will have firm footing outdoors as opposed to the slippery floor of the sink or bathtub.

Washing the dog in the yard isn’t for everyone. Some dogs may keep moving away from you, even if they’re tied up. You can’t control the temperature of the water you’re using, and you’ll need a nozzle with pressure control to keep the experience gentle. You also run the risk of your dog rolling in dirt the moment the bath is over.

Alternative: At a Pet Store

Many pet stores have dog wash stations available for a fee. These stations provide all the tools you need to wash your dog, and most of them are raised so you won’t have to bend.

This option may not be right for dogs that are easily distracted, however. All of the sights, sounds, and smells of a busy pet store may make it impossible for your dog to stand still. Even if there are restraints available, it can be tough to bathe an uncooperative dog.

What Shampoo Should I Use?

dog washed with shampooYou may be wondering if you can use your own shampoo on your dog. While doing so once in a blue moon isn’t going to hurt her, you should have dog-specific shampoos on hand. This is because human skin and dog skin have different pH levels. Thus, our shampoo could cause skin irritation for our dogs.

The following dog shampoo brands are crowd favorites:

Burt’s Bees

  • Uses all-natural ingredients
  • Offers shampoos and conditioners for a number of purposes such as sensitive skin and coat brightening
  • Has products such as sprays and wipes for use in between baths

I ♥ Pet Head

  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Offers shampoos for a number of purposes such as sensitive skin and dandruff
  • Has products for use in between baths


  • Products are allergy-friendly and long-lasting
  • Offers shampoos for a number of purposes such as sensitive skin and odor control
  • Sells deodorizing products for use in between baths

*Note: We suggest you look for Wahl at your local Target store as the prices on Amazon may be higher.

Conclusion On How Often You Should Wash Your Dog

As discussed, the number of times to wash your dog varies on your dog’s breed and their activities.

Generally speaking, longer-haired dogs require more frequent washing compared to shorter-haired dogs.

Breeds with more oily coats or who engage in outdoor activities may need more frequent baths.

There are also specific breeds like the Chinese Crested who normally require weekly baths.

What type of dog do you have and how often do you wash them?

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