How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?

Lindsey ZimmermanDog Health, Senior Dogs

Do dogs get stinkier in the summer because they perspire more in the heat! Does your dog like baths or does he fight you?

Dog baths can be messy, particularly if your dog is bigger. Just like humans, dogs can get stinky too. A swim in the lake or river may be your dog’s idea of fun, but it’s not the best cleaning method for your dog’s fur.

Although a general rule of thumb is to bathe your dog once/month, the real answer depends on your dog’s breed, the environment, level of activity and any skin issues.  Remember, the only sweat glands on a dog are between their paws. There are some dog owners who never bathe their dog (not advised), but their dogs do not have an unpleasant odor. If you find dog cleaning to be too difficult, make your life easy and take your dog to a dog groomer – they even have mobile dog groomers that will come to your home!

A dog that rolls around in the mud and dirt all summer are going to need a bath more often than a dog who spends most of their time on your lap or the couch. Dogs groom themselves to promote skin health, but self-grooming doesn’t take the place of a good old-fashioned bath!


To bathe your dog use either baby shampoo or dog shampoo. If you’re going to bathe your dog more often, use a shampoo with moisturizer or a soap-free shampoo so your dog does not itch. There are shampoos that keep a dog’s coat brighter, help shedding or even moisturize a dog’s skin. You’ll be amazed when you go to a pet store … there are as many different dog shampoos as we humans have! Many shampoos meant for people are too harsh for a dog and can be quite irritating to canine skin. Oatmeal-based shampoos are often recommended by many veterinarians.

Always bathe your dog’s body first and head last, as he/she will shake the water off once his head is wet and right onto you!


Your dog’s breed can depend on how often he should be bathed. Certain dogs benefit from bathing while other breeds can develop skin problems from too many baths. If you have a hairy dog, like a spaniel, baths should be scheduled once every two months or so. Different breeds may go as long as six to eight months.


Is your dog an indoor dog or an outdoor dog? If your dog rolls around in the mud or likes to swim in ponds, he might need a bathe more often. Keeping a white dog clean requires frequent bathing if he runs outdoors a lot.

Type of Coat

Is your dog’s fur long or short? Long-haired dogs require more frequent bathing, because dirt can get matted in their fur. Dogs can also benefit from frequent brushing to loosen any dirt and keep the fur from flying all over you! Does your dog have a double coat like a Shetland sheepdog? This may require soaking, moisturizing, brushing, then bathing, then a repeat of the whole procedure.

Some dogs are afraid of baths, so try and make the experience as enjoyable as possible. It might be best to choose a room with a closed door when you bathe your dog, not only to prevent him from escaping, but to save your house from getting soaked. It might be easier to use a detachable shower spray nozzle and a rubber or non-stick bath mat. Particularly if your dog is afraid of a bath, always bathe him in the same place.

Or depending on where you live and what kind of dog you have, it might be best to give your dog a bath outside … kiddie pools can come in handy!