There is no simple right or wrong answer to this question as it depends on many different factors including the breed of dog and their lifestyle.  A dog that mostly stays inside will likely need to be bathed less often than a dog that romps around outside in mud puddles.  Owners have different preferences as well – some simply like a cleaner dog than others.  The one thing that you don’t need to worry about is bathing a dog too often.  It’s a common misconception that frequent bathing will dry out their skin.  This used to be true many years ago when dog shampoos were formulated with harsher ingredients.  But if you use a mild, moisturizing, natural pet shampoo that doesn’t include sulfates or added chemicals, frequent bathing will not dry out their skin – in fact, it may improve many skin condition.  But never use human shampoo for dogs – even baby shampoo. 

Following are a few other guidelines to consider: 

When Your Dog Smells

Some dogs only need a bath a couple times a year, while others do better with a weekly or monthly bath. But if you can smell your dog when he walks into the room – it’s time for a bath.  It’s important to also regularly brush their fur in between baths.  

Every month

As a general rule, many pet experts recommend bathing dogs about once a month. If there is a medical reason for bathing your dog, your vet should advise you as to the frequency. 

Whatever works for you

  • Many pet parents enjoy the bonding experience of bathing their dog while for others, the bath experience is a dreaded chore that is messy, stressful and therefore easy to put-off. If giving your dog a bath is a battle, here are a few tips that may help the process. 
  • Associate bath time with something pleasant like a treat and encouraging words.  
  • Make sure your pet feels secure underfoot.  A slippery tub is frightening. 
  • Use lukewarm water.  This is one reason why an outside hose is often a poor choice. 
  • Don’t use a powerful, strong spray. 
  • Avoid water directly in their face.  If using a sprayer, tilt their head back so the water runs away from their face. Never pour a bucket of water on their head.  
  • If your dog is particularly nervous, enlist some help.  One person can help calm the dog, while the other is shampooing and rinsing. 
  • If your dog is skittish about the bath, don’t try to use a dryer. The noise may add to the trauma.  Try using the dryer after he’s gotten used to having baths. Do not use a regular hair dryer as a dog’s skin is more sensitive to high temperatures than human skin.   
  • Using a raised tub, rather than a shower or bathtub, will be more comfortable for you, and that will in turn allow you to be more patient and calm while bathing your dog.  The enclosed, higher sides of a raised tub can also help dogs feel safe during bath time.  

Many dogs enjoy their bath, just like they look forward to a walk. And even if it never becomes their favorite activity, you can take steps to make it a positive, pleasant, easy experience for both you and your dog.  Bathing minimizes shedding, keeps your pet’s coat healthy, reduces dust, pollen, mold and other allergens, and removes dirt, germs, urine and saliva.  And your furry friend will look and smell fantastic!