How Often To Wash A Dog – How To Keep a Dog Clean and Smelling Great

Most dogs love water, but when it comes to bath time many of them aren’t so excited. Still, regular bathing plays an important roll in your pup’s health.

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Washing your dog will not only keep him clean and smelling great, but will also give you a chance to inspect his skin. This is a perfect time to check for lumps, bumps, or any skin problems and address them accordingly.

Many owners aren’t sure how often to wash a dog, and in most cases, they overdo it causing a dry and flaky skin. This happens because all the natural oils are stripped and result in a dull looking coat and a dog who needs a special shampoo to repair the damage.

When it comes to how often you should bath your dog, there isn’t a universal answer, and simply put it depends. But, there are some general guidelines that will ensure that your pup is clean and his skin healthy.

How Often To Wash A Dog?

Every dog is unique, and in order to figure out how often to wash your dog, you need to consider several factors.

  • Lifestyle
  • Breed/ type of coat
  • Skin problems or allergies
  • Activity level

Where Is Your Pup Sleeping?

A dog that lives indoors and sleeps in the bed with you doesn’t have the same bathing requirements as a dog who sleeps in a doggy house. How often to bathe a dog is determined by where your pup spends the most of his time.


If your dog loves to lounge on the sofa and your bed and ventures outside only during walks he is bound to bring nasty stuff inside the house. Since you don’t want to encounter poop, dirt, and variety of other delightful things on your pillow your pup will have to be regularly bathed. For house dogs, this includes anything from once a week to once every fortnight. And if your pup has rolled in something extremely smelly during a walk you can bathe him outside this schedule with an appropriate doggy shampoo.


Dogs that live outside and spend most of their time rolling in the dirt doesn’t require frequent baths like dogs that live indoors. In most occasions, these pups are dirty all the time but since that dirt won’t enter your home bathing becomes less of necessity. Eater way your dog will get dirty soon after you bathe him, so you should do so only once a month. Your pup won’t mind being dirty and stinky but if you do, you can wash him more frequently.

What Type Of Coat Your Pup Has?

The dog’s breed and type of coat is another factor that determines how often to wash a dog. Some dogs have dirt repellent coats that can stay clean and odor free for longer periods of time. On the other hand, fluffy and long-haired dogs can get mats and tangles and become dirty in no time.

When it comes to breed these are some of the general guidelines you need to follow in order to maintain a healthy skin and coat:

Breeds with an oily coat

Since the coat of these dogs is already too oily there are no worries about drying their skin with frequent baths. Dogs that have a naturally oily coat like Basset Hounds can be bathed once a week.

Short-haired breeds with a smooth coat

Have low grooming and bathing needs and do just fine with less frequent baths. Beagle, Basenji, Dalmatian and many others are breeds that can be bathed once a month.

Breeds with water repellent coats

Such as Golder Retriever should be bathed less often in order to preserve the natural skin oils. Generally once a month is sufficient for these breeds, however, you can wash your pup more often if he is smelling bad.

Breeds with thick double coats

Require regular brushing in order to distribute skin oils and remove loose hair. Breeds like Samoyed, Akita, and Husky can be bathed once in every three months, and more often during the shedding season.

Breeds with a fluffy and curly coat

As Poodle and Shih Tzu can get dirty really quickly, especially if they have a white coat. If necessary these dogs can be bathed once a week.

Do You Or Your Dog Have Allergies?

Unlike people, dogs are exposed to allergens through their skin. If your pup is suffering from environmental allergies he can benefit from at least once a week bathing. The same goes if you or someone else in the household have allergies, since bathing your dog regularly will remove loose hair, dirt, and dander.

If your dog has a skin problem, he will have to use a medicated dog shampoo until the condition is dealt with. Some skin problems require daily bathing others not, so it is best to talk with your vet in order to come up with a bathing schedule and the right medicated shampoo.

How Active Is Your Pup?

Activity levels also determine how often to wash a dog, since more active pooches are bound to get dirty or stinky in no time. If you have a puppy or young adult there is no doubt that he has a lot of energy that needs to be released.

In most cases, this involves rolling in the mud and dirt and running everywhere. If your pup lives inside and he is very active, you will have to bath him frequently to prevent all that dirt entering your home. The frequency of washing is different for every dog, but if he is stinky and covered in mud you should bath him.

On the other hand, older dogs and ones that aren’t so playful and active will not require frequent baths. However, some seniors can be pretty active and have a spirit of a puppy so the odor and overall cleanliness will determine when to bath your dog.

Is There Any Way To Keep A Dog Clean Longer?

By regularly brushing your dog you can prolong the time between baths. Brushing will clean and keep your pup smelling nice, thus minimize the need for frequent bathing.

In order to keep your dog clean for longer periods of time, you need to brush him every day. To get the most of this grooming routine it is best to use a brush that is appropriate for your dog’s coat type.

The right brush will remove mud, dirt, loose hairs, dead skin, furthermore, it will distribute natural skin oils and make the coat glossy and soft. For long-haired, curly and fluffy dogs, regular brushing will keep the coat mats and tangle free and prevent the accumulation of dirt in them.

One more way to keep your dog clean for longer periods of time is to use special dog grooming wipes or a dry shampoo. There is a variety of different wipes and dry shampoos, but all of them are made to remove bad odor and dirt from the coat.

They are also perfect for small touch ups, like when your pup has muddy paws or a manageable amount of dirt and you don’t have time for a whole body wash. This is also a great solution if you have a very adventurous dog that is on the verge of developing dry skin from constant washing.

Where To Wash A Dog?

Depending on your pup’s size and acceptance of bathing routine there are several options when it comes to the actual bathing. In this case, owners of smaller dogs have more luck since their pooches can fit in a sink.

For safe and successful at home bathing consider following locations:

Sink or a laundry tub

Can work as a bathing place for puppies, small, and toy breeds. You will have just enough space to place your dog and have all the necessities within the hands reach. Moreover, chances that your pup is going to escape are significantly lower.


Is the most convenient bathing place for most owners and it can fit dog’s of all sizes if they are willing to get in it. On the other hand, if you have a large dog that is afraid of washing it can be hard picking him up and placing him in the tub.In order to avoid injuries don’t forget to place a non-slip mat or a towel inside the tub. Dogs like standing on a solid ground, and there is no need making the bathing experience more terrifying for your pup if he accidentally slips.


You can use a garden hose or fill buckets with lukewarm water and give your dog a bath in a garden or a backyard. Furthermore, you can use a tub, if you think that will be more comfortable for your pup.When bathing your dog outside you need to consider the weather conditions, and postpone bathing if the day is cloudy or windy. Moreover, if you use a garden hose, check the temperature of water to avoid giving your dog a cold.

What Type Of Product To Use?

Dogs have different pH levels than people and it isn’t recommended to use human shampoos on them. You should only use your shampoo on your pooch in a case of emergency when he is smelling really bad and you are out of his regular shampoo.

When it comes to dog shampoos there is a variety of different products to address the individual needs. We recommend that you use a natural mild shampoo that is able to remove all the dirt and odor but at the same time hydrate and nourish the skin.

In a case when you need to bath your dog once a weekly this type of shampoos won’t be too harsh on the skin and strip all the natural oils. For long-haired and curly dogs use a shampoo that conditions or buy a separate product that will make brushing easier.

There are also products designed to kill and repel fleas and ticks, and you should follow the instructions on the label. These will also remove dirt and odor, but you should use them only if your dog is infested since most of them contain chemicals.

If you aren’t sure what kind of shampoo to use it is best to talk with your vet. This is especially important if your dog has a sensitive skin since your vet will be best acquainted with his medical history.

When To Seek Professional Help?

If you have a large, overly active, or a dog who becomes terrified once you mention bathing you might consider alternatives. There is a lot of professional groomers that bathe dogs for a living and will have no problem bathing yours.

And if you aren’t certain that you will be able to handle your pup and safely bath him, don’t even try it. Some groomers aren’t so expensive and it is better to spend some money than injuring your pup while bathing him.


There isn’t a simple answer when it comes to how often to wash a dog. Simply put, it depends on the amount of time your dog needs to get dirty.

Some dogs love rolling in the dirt, some have a naturally strong odor, others can stay clean and smelling fresh for months. The best sign that your dog needs bathing is if you can smell him, or he is just too dirty to lay in bed with you.

Regular bathing will keep your dog clean and smelling great, and will also be a great opportunity to deepen your bond. Make sure that you use an appropriate dog shampoo that will remove all the dirt and grime and make spending time with your pup more enjoyable.

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