How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?


Lyle Says:

You get home from time outside with the dog and realize your four-legged friend has brought more than excitement back with them — dirt and stench from the great outdoors. Before your pup can snuggle on the couch with the family, it’s bath time. But how often should our fur babies be bathed? 

The answer, like everything in pet parenthood, is not so simple. The right bathing routine for your dog depends on multiple factors such as breed, coat type, and lifestyle. 

A shorter coat does not necessarily mean frequent bathing, and vice versa. Lead Groomer and Manager Andy at Dog’s Day Out says, “Most dogs should be bathed every three to four weeks. Dogs with double coats, like Shepherds, can often go longer.  Most long coat breeds, like the Shih Tzu, require more coat care and maintenance between baths. Ideally they should be brushed out two to three times per week.”

One of the biggest factors in determining the right bathing routine for your pup is lifestyle. A dog’s activity level, as well as environmental conditions, will affect how often a bath is needed. Dogs who spend a lot of time outside will need more baths than a pup who spends most of their time indoors. And when summer is upon us, remember to always bathe your pup after lake swimming, regardless of the last time they’ve had a bath. Lake water can harbor very dangerous bacteria that can cling to skin and fur.

A great first step in determining the right bathing routine is talking to your professional groomer or veterinarian. They will be able to guide you to the right bathing and grooming frequency for your dog’s hair and skin type, as well as recommend any specialty bathing products, to address your pup’s specific health concerns.

Groomer Andy says specialty products can be a great way to combat shedding and dandruff, as well as treat other skin issues like mild infections and dryness. “At Dog’s Day Out we provide a variety of specialty shampoos free of charge. If your veterinarian prescribes a shampoo, feel free to bring it in with your dog—and always make sure to follow the directions.” 

“As a rule of thumb, avoid over-bathing your dog. Over-bathing can strip a dog’s skin of healthy oils and cause dry skin”, adds Andy.

Regular brushing between baths is beneficial to all coat types and helps remove excess fur and dandruff that accumulates, as well as matting. Regular brushing can also help mitigate human allergies caused by fur and dandruff. If you’re a pet parent who suffers from allergies or other health conditions and needs to bathe your dog more frequently to help eliminate allergens in the home, don’t worry. Your pup will likely abide by your schedule AND benefit from you staying healthy!

Dogs should never be bathed with mats in their hair. It will only cause the mats to tighten, leading to your dog experiencing discomfort and possible skin issues. If your dog needs mats removed, we offer this service at Dog’s Day Out.  

Bathing, whether it’s done by you or a professional, provides a great opportunity to give your dog a good look over, to check for growths, ticks or any coat/skin changes. Any irregularities that are caught early helps your pup’s health and minimizes potentially expensive veterinary bills. 

Regardless of your pup’s bathing schedule or needs, Dog’s Day Out offers both full-service and self-service bathing for dogs of any age, size, and breed. No appointment is required for self-service—so you can bring in your dirty dog straight from the park! We’re confident you and your pup will love our state-of-the-art salon and dog-loving team. Bonus: No home splashes, messes or cleanup!

The advice provided is based on many years of experience as dog parents and operators of one of the largest and longest established dog daycare and boarding facilities in the Twin Cities. Always consult your veterinarian. When not sharing advice, our dog bloggers — Frannie, Lyle, and Helen — share a space with their people, Downtown Dogs owner Ralph Bernstein and his wife, Abbe.