How Often Should I Give My Dog a Bath? From Your Carmel Veterinary Hospital

How Often Should I Give My Dog a Bath?  By Your Carmel Veterinary Hospital

At our Carmel veterinary hospital, new dog owners often ask me how frequently they should bathe their dog.  Although there are no set guidelines in place for this, common sense tells you that if your dog stinks….they need a bath.

What kind of shampoo should I use to bathe my dog?  Many new dog owners have heard someone say that if you bathe your dog too much, it will dry their coat out.  This was most likely someone who was using human shampoo on their dog.  Dogs have a different pH or acid/base balance to their skin than us humans.  Most human shampoos are much more acidic and should NOT be used on dogs.  For dogs with normal skin, I recommend a simple aloe and oatmeal dog shampoo.  Wet the coat, lather, let sit, rinse, and then dry.  If your dog has allergies, we have medicated shampoos at our Carmel veterinary hospital that should be used instead.  If you have a very stinky dog that got into something and you don’t have access to dog shampoo, you can use Dawn liquid dishwater soap, but this should not be used regularly.

How often should I give my dog a bath?  How often to bath your dog depends on a few factors, one is the personality and lifestyle of the dog.  A dog who spends more time outside, digs and rolls a lot, etc… will need to be bathed more than a dog who only goes outside to do their business and right back inside.  The breed and coat of the dog are equally as important.  Some breeds need not only a bath, but regular grooming.  For dogs that require grooming, every 1-2 months is ideal depending on the coat and lifestyle of the dog.  Just let the groomer do all the bathing.  Dogs that do NOT require grooming, a simple bath and nail trim once a month is what I recommend at our Carmel veterinary hospital.

My dog has skin problems.  Should I bath more or less?  The third most common thing we see at our Carmel veterinary hospital is skin and ear infections.  These are commonly caused by an underlying environmental allergy.  Dogs get exposed to a lot more pollen and allergens that humans.  They breathe in the air closer to the ground and sniff the ground frequently, inhaling loads of pollen.  Their coats act like pollen traps which allows the pollen to be absorbed directly through the skin.  Then dogs lick themselves and objects ingesting pollen into the gut where a lot of the immune system lives.  If your dog has environmental allergies, one of the best things you can do is to bathe them more frequently with a medicated shampoo.  You rinse all the pollen out of the coat, greatly reducing how much pollen they are exposed to in the first place.  The medicated part can help with the secondary problems of infection, itching, skin cell turnover and helping to maintain the normal skin barrier which is often insufficient in dogs with allergies.  For dogs with skin issues, bathing twice a week to twice a month is recommended.  As long as you are using a good quality prescription dog shampoo, you will not dry out the skin like human shampoo would.

If your dog stinks, give them a bath.  If the odor persists after a bath, bring them into our Carmel veterinary hospital for an exam.  Anal gland issues, ear infections skin infections, and dental/oral infections often cause lingering odor issues that baths will not resolve.  For more information on our Caring Hands Compassionate Hearts, click on this link to your Carmel Veterinary Hospital.  19-Let us know if your pets needs a bath

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