The Science behind Dog Washing: How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

By Amber Smith
Oct 1, 2023 9:00 PMOct 2, 2023 4:36 PM
Pupper Shampoo


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Maintaining proper hygiene for your dog is essential for their overall health and well-being. Regular grooming, including bathing, plays a crucial role in keeping your furry friend clean and comfortable. However, determining how often you should wash your dog can be a bit tricky. 

The frequency of dog baths depends on factors such as breed, coat type, and activity level. Several factors come into play when deciding the frequency of bathing for your canine companion. These factors include the breed and coat type of your dog. Some breeds may require more frequent baths due to their propensity for odor or skin issues, while others may need less frequent bathing to avoid stripping their natural oils.

Finding the right balance in your dog's bathing routine is important. Over-bathing can strip the natural oils from a dog's skin and cause dryness or irritation. On average, most dogs benefit from a bath every 3 months. Some breeds with water-repellent coats, such as Huskies or Malamutes, may only need a bath once or twice a year. By understanding the specific needs of your dog's breed and coat type, you can establish an appropriate bathing schedule that promotes optimal hygiene without causing any harm.

Best Products to Use When Washing Your Dog

Factors to Consider: Age, Lifestyle, and Health of Your Dog

Age, lifestyle, and health are crucial factors to consider when determining how often you should wash your dog. Each of these elements plays a significant role in establishing a bathing routine that meets your furry friend's specific needs.

How Age Affects a Dog's Bathing Needs

Age is an important consideration. Puppies have more sensitive skin compared to adult dogs, so they require gentler care. Bathing them too frequently can strip their skin of essential oils and cause dryness or irritation. On the other hand, adult dogs may need more regular baths due to their higher activity levels and exposure to dirt and allergens.

Considering Your Dog's Activity Level and Lifestyle

Another factor that influences how often you should wash your dog is their activity level and lifestyle. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, rolls around in mud or grass frequently, or enjoys swimming adventures, they may require more frequent baths than a less active pooch.

  • Highly Active Dogs: Dogs that enjoy outdoor activities or have high energy levels may need bathing every two to three weeks.

  • Moderately Active Dogs: For dogs that engage in moderate physical activities, such as daily walks or playtime at the park, bathing once every four weeks is usually sufficient.

  • Less Active Dogs: If your furry friend prefers lounging indoors most of the time with minimal outdoor excursions, they may only require a bath every six weeks.

The Impact of Health Conditions on Bathing Routines for Dogs

Health conditions can significantly affect how often you should bathe your dog. Some dogs have allergies, skin conditions, or medical issues that require special care and attention. Consulting with a veterinarian can provide personalized recommendations for a dog's bathing schedule.

  • Allergies or Skin Conditions: Dogs with allergies or skin conditions may need more frequent baths using specialized shampoos recommended by their veterinarian.

  • Medical Issues: Dogs with certain medical conditions, such as infections or parasites, may require more frequent bathing as part of their treatment plan.

Why It's Important to Consult With a Veterinarian

Before establishing a regular bathing schedule for your dog, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian. They can provide personalized guidance based on your dog's specific needs and health conditions. A veterinarian will consider factors such as breed, age, lifestyle, and any underlying health issues when advising you on the ideal bathing frequency.

By taking into account your dog's age, activity level, lifestyle, and health conditions while consulting with a veterinarian, you can establish an appropriate bathing routine that keeps your furry friend clean and healthy without causing any harm.

Best Products to Use When Washing Your Dog

To keep your furry friend clean and fresh, it's important to choose the right products for washing your dog. Here are three recommended options:

Pupper Shampoo Coat

Pupper Shampoo Coat is a popular choice among dog owners for its gentle yet effective cleaning properties. This shampoo is specially formulated to maintain the natural oils in your dog's coat while removing dirt and odors. It contains ingredients like oatmeal and aloe vera, which soothe the skin and leave your pup smelling great.


  • Gentle formula suitable for dogs with sensitive skin.

  • Helps maintain the natural oils in your dog's coat.

  • Contains soothing ingredients like oatmeal and aloe vera.


  • May not be as effective on heavy dirt or strong odors.

Penguin CBD Dog Oil

If you're looking for a more holistic approach to bathing your dog, Penguin CBD Dog Oil might be worth considering. This oil is infused with high-quality CBD extract, known for its calming and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help soothe irritated skin, reduce itching, and promote overall relaxation in your furry friend.


  • CBD-infused oil with calming and anti-inflammatory benefits.

  • Can help soothe irritated skin and reduce itching.

  • Promotes relaxation in dogs during bath time.


  • Some dogs may not respond as effectively to CBD products.

Elm & Rye CBD Dog Oil

Another option for using CBD during bath time is Elm & Rye CBD Dog Oil. This product is specifically designed to relieve anxiety and stress in dogs. It can create a more relaxing bathing experience by helping your pup feel calm and comfortable throughout the process. It provides nourishment to the skin and coat, leaving them healthy-looking.


  • Designed to relieve anxiety and stress in dogs.

  • Creates a more relaxing bathing experience.

  • Nourishes the skin and promotes a healthy coat.


  • May not be as readily available as other products.

It's important to consider their specific needs and preferences. Some dogs may require a more gentle formula, while others could benefit from the calming effects of CBD-infused oils. Ultimately, the right choice will depend on what works best for your furry friend.

Remember, always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer when using these products. If you have any concerns or questions about bathing your dog, consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice.

Can You Bathe Your Dog Too Much? Understanding Optimal Bathing Frequency

Bathing your furry friend is an essential part of their grooming routine, but have you ever wondered if you could be overdoing it? Let's explore the potential risks associated with over-bathing dogs and find the balance between cleanliness and preserving their natural oils.

Potential Risks of Over-Bathing Dogs

While it's important to keep your dog clean, excessive bathing can lead to some unintended consequences. Over-bathing can strip away the natural oils that are crucial for maintaining a healthy coat and skin. These oils help protect against dryness, irritation, and even infections. Frequent bathing may disrupt the delicate pH balance of your dog's skin, making them more susceptible to skin issues like allergies or dermatitis.

Finding the Right Balance

The optimal bathing frequency for dogs depends on various factors such as breed, activity level, and overall health. Some breeds have naturally oily coats that require less frequent baths, while others with shorter hair or sensitive skin may benefit from more regular bathing. Consulting with your veterinarian can provide valuable insights into how often you should bathe your specific breed.

Recognizing Signs of Over-Bathing

It's essential to pay attention to your dog's body language and behavior after each bath to ensure they are not being over-bathed. Here are some signs that your dog may be getting too many baths:

  • Dry and flaky skin: If you notice excessive dryness or flakiness on your dog's skin after bathing, it could indicate that their natural oils are being stripped away.

  • Dull coat: Over-bathing can leave your dog's coat looking lackluster and lacking its usual shine.

  • Constant scratching: If your dog starts scratching excessively after a bath, it might be a sign of irritated or dry skin.

  • Redness or inflammation: Skin redness or inflammation can occur when the pH balance is disrupted due to frequent bathing.

Tips for Maintaining Optimal Bathing Frequency

To ensure you're not over-bathing your dog, here are some helpful tips:

  • Follow the guidelines provided by your veterinarian for your specific breed.

  • Use a gentle, dog-specific shampoo that won't strip away essential oils.

  • Consider using dry shampoos or wipes between baths to freshen up your dog without fully immersing them in water.

  • Brush your dog regularly to remove dirt and debris, which can help extend the time between baths.

  • Monitor your dog's skin and coat condition closely. If you notice any signs of dryness or irritation, adjust the bathing frequency accordingly.

Remember, every dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It's crucial to observe how your furry friend responds to bathing and make adjustments as needed.

Addressing Allergies or Skin Problems in Your Dog's Bathing Routine

Identifying Common Allergies That Can Affect Dogs' Skin Health

Dogs, just like humans, can experience allergies that affect their skin health. Some common allergies include environmental allergens like pollen, dust mites, and mold, as well as food allergies. It's important to be aware of these allergies because they can lead to skin problems such as itching, redness, and inflammation.

Using Hypoallergenic Shampoos and Conditioners Recommended by Veterinarians

If your dog suffers from allergies or has sensitive skin, using hypoallergenic shampoos and conditioners can be beneficial. These products are specifically formulated to minimize the risk of allergic reactions. They are free from harsh chemicals and fragrances that may irritate your dog's skin.

When selecting a hypoallergenic shampoo or conditioner for your furry friend, it's best to consult with your veterinarian. They can recommend specific brands that suit your dog's needs. They may advise against certain ingredients that could trigger an allergic reaction.

Incorporating Medicated Baths as Part of a Treatment Plan for Certain Skin Conditions

In some cases, dogs may develop specific skin conditions that require more than just regular bathing. Medicated baths can be incorporated into their treatment plan to alleviate symptoms and promote healing.

For example, if your dog has dermatitis or a bacterial infection on their skin, a medicated bath with prescribed shampoo can help eliminate bacteria and reduce inflammation. These baths often contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or chlorhexidine which have antimicrobial properties.

It is crucial to follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian when giving medicated baths to ensure proper usage and dosage. They will guide you on how frequently these baths should be given based on the severity of the condition.

Consulting With a Vet to Determine If Dietary Changes Are Necessary

Sometimes, allergies or skin problems in dogs can be linked to their diet. Certain ingredients in commercial dog food may trigger allergic reactions or contribute to skin issues. In such cases, consulting with a veterinarian is essential to determine if dietary changes are necessary.

Your vet may recommend an elimination diet where specific ingredients are removed from your dog's diet for a period of time. This helps identify the allergen causing the reaction. They may also suggest switching to a hypoallergenic or limited ingredient diet that avoids common allergens.

Remember, it's crucial not to make any drastic dietary changes without professional guidance as it could lead to nutritional imbalances or worsen existing conditions.

Tips for Calming Your Dog Before Bath Time: The Role of CBD Oil

Exploring the Benefits of CBD Oil

CBD oil, derived from the hemp plant, has gained popularity as a natural remedy for various ailments in both humans and animals.CBD oil can play a significant role in reducing their stress levels.

CBD oil interacts with the endocannabinoid system in dogs' bodies, which helps regulate various physiological processes, including anxiety and stress. By promoting relaxation and calming effects, CBD oil can help your furry friend feel more at ease before bath time.

Proper Dosage and Administration

It's crucial to administer the correct dosage of CBD oil to ensure its effectiveness without any adverse effects on your dog's health. The appropriate dosage may vary depending on factors such as your dog's size, weight, and overall health condition.

Consulting with a veterinarian experienced in CBD usage is highly recommended to determine the right dosage for your dog. They can provide guidance based on your dog's specific needs and help you choose high-quality CBD products that are safe for consumption.

Other Methods to Calm Your Dog

In addition to using CBD oil, there are other methods you can try to calm your dog before bath time:

  • Lavender-infused products: Lavender has soothing properties that can help relax dogs. Consider using lavender-infused shampoos or sprays during bath time.

  • Soothing music: Playing soft classical music or specially designed calming sounds can create a serene environment that helps ease your dog's anxiety.

  • Positive reinforcement: Using positive reinforcement techniques during bath time can make it a more enjoyable experience for your dog. Offer treats or praise when they exhibit calm behavior or cooperate during the bathing process.

Importance of Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is key. By associating positive experiences and rewards with bath time, you can help your dog develop a more positive attitude towards it.

Rewarding your dog with treats, praise, or playtime immediately after bath time can create a positive association. This will not only make future bathing sessions easier but also strengthen the bond between you and your pet.

Remember to be patient and understanding throughout the process. It may take some time for your dog to adjust to bath time, especially if they have had negative experiences in the past.

Establishing a Brushing Routine: Importance of Regular Grooming

Regular grooming is essential for maintaining the health and well-being of your furry friend. Regular brushing and grooming can help maintain a dog's cleanliness between baths. This not only keeps their fur looking clean and shiny but also has several benefits for their overall coat health.

Benefits of regular brushing for your dog's coat health

Regular brushing helps to distribute natural oils throughout your dog's coat, keeping it moisturized and reducing dryness or flakiness. It also helps to remove loose hair, dirt, and debris that may have accumulated in their fur. By removing these unwanted elements, you can prevent matting and tangling, which can be uncomfortable for your dog and lead to skin irritation or even infections.

Different types of brushes suitable for various coat lengths and textures

It's important to consider their specific coat length and texture. For dogs with short coats, a bristle brush or a rubber curry brush can be effective in removing loose hair and stimulating the skin. Dogs with medium-length coats may benefit from a slicker brush or an undercoat rake to remove tangles and prevent matting. Long-haired dogs often require more specialized tools such as a pin brush or a comb with wide-set teeth to gently detangle their fur.

How brushing helps prevent matting and tangling

Regular brushing plays a crucial role in preventing matting and tangling in your dog's coat. Mats occur when loose hairs become tangled together, forming tight knots that are difficult to remove without causing discomfort or pain to your pet. These mats can pull on the skin, leading to irritation or even sores if left unattended. By incorporating regular brushing sessions into your grooming routine, you can help prevent mats from forming by removing any tangles before they become more severe.

Incorporating grooming sessions as bonding time with your furry friend

Grooming sessions can be a wonderful opportunity to bond with your dog and strengthen your relationship. Many dogs enjoy the attention and physical contact that comes with brushing, making it a positive experience for both of you. Use this time to give them gentle massages or rewards for good behavior, turning grooming into a pleasant activity rather than a chore.

Our Criteria For Ranking the Best Products to Use When Washing Your Dog

Factors considered when evaluating dog grooming products

We take several factors into consideration. First and foremost, we prioritize the safety of your dog's skin and coat. We thoroughly analyze the ingredients used in each product to ensure they are of high quality and won't cause any harm or irritation.

Quality ingredients that are safe for dogs' skin and coat

One of our top priorities is to identify grooming products that contain safe and gentle ingredients suitable for dogs. We look for natural ingredients such as oatmeal, aloe vera, and chamomile, which have soothing properties for sensitive skin. Harsh chemicals like sulfates or artificial fragrances can potentially irritate your dog's skin, so we avoid products that include them.


  • Natural ingredients are less likely to cause allergies or skin irritations.

  • Soothing properties of certain ingredients can provide relief from itching or dryness.

  • Gentle formulas help maintain the health and shine of your dog's coat.


  • Some natural ingredients may not be as effective at addressing specific grooming needs.

  • Products with natural ingredients may be more expensive compared to those with synthetic components.

Effectiveness in addressing specific grooming needs

Different dogs have different grooming needs, whether it's controlling shedding, moisturizing dry skin, or combating fleas and ticks. Therefore, we carefully evaluate how well each product addresses these specific concerns. We look for shampoos that effectively clean without stripping away essential oils from your dog's coat.


  • Targeted formulas cater to specific grooming needs.

  • Effective removal of dirt, debris, and odor leaves your dog feeling fresh.

  • Specialized treatments can help alleviate common issues like itching or flaking.


  • Products designed for specific needs may not be suitable for all dogs.

  • Some specialized products may have a higher price point.

Reviews from pet owners and professionals taken into account

To ensure that our recommendations are reliable and trustworthy, we consider feedback from both pet owners and professionals in the industry. We analyze customer reviews to gauge overall satisfaction and identify any potential concerns or drawbacks. We consult with veterinarians and professional groomers to gather their expert opinions on the effectiveness of different grooming products.


  • Real-life experiences provide valuable insights into product performance.

  • Professional input helps validate the efficacy of grooming products.

  • A variety of perspectives contribute to well-rounded evaluations.


  • Personal preferences can vary, so individual experiences may differ.

  • Some reviews may be biased or influenced by personal factors.

By considering these factors – safety, quality ingredients, effectiveness, and feedback from pet owners and professionals – we ensure that our rankings reflect the best products available for washing your beloved canine companion. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision.


In conclusion, the frequency at which you should wash your dog depends on various factors such as their age, lifestyle, and health. Younger dogs and those with active lifestyles may need more frequent baths to keep them clean and fresh. On the other hand, older dogs or those with certain health conditions may require less frequent bathing to avoid drying out their skin. It's important to consider these factors and consult with your veterinarian to determine the optimal bathing schedule for your furry friend.

It's essential to prioritize their safety and well-being. Look for gentle shampoos specifically formulated for dogs that won't irritate their skin or strip away natural oils. Consider using a conditioner designed for dogs to keep their coat soft and shiny. Remember, always read product labels carefully and follow the instructions provided.

Establishing a regular brushing routine is also crucial in maintaining your dog's overall hygiene. Regular brushing helps remove loose hair, prevents matting, and promotes healthy skin and coat. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for you to bond with your pet while keeping an eye out for any abnormalities or changes in their fur or skin.

To ensure a stress-free bath time experience for both you and your dog, consider incorporating calming techniques such as using CBD oil or playing soothing music. These can help relax anxious pets during bath time sessions.

Ultimately, finding the right bathing routine for your dog requires careful consideration of their individual needs. By taking into account factors like age, lifestyle, health condition, and using appropriate products while establishing a grooming routine that includes regular brushing sessions, you can help keep your furry companion clean, healthy, and happy.


How often should I bathe my dog?

The frequency of bathing depends on several factors including breed type, activity level, coat length/type, and any underlying skin conditions they may have. Generally speaking, dogs should be bathed every 4-6 weeks. However, it's important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the ideal bathing schedule for your specific dog.

Can I use human shampoo on my dog?

It is not recommended to use human shampoo on dogs as their skin has a different pH level compared to ours. Using human shampoos can cause skin irritation and dryness in dogs. It's best to opt for specially formulated dog shampoos that are gentle and designed specifically for their needs.

How do I choose the right shampoo for my dog?

When choosing a shampoo for your dog, consider factors such as their coat type, any existing skin conditions they may have, and any specific needs like moisturizing or odor control. Look for shampoos that are free from harsh chemicals or artificial fragrances and are specifically labeled for use on dogs.

What should I do if my dog has allergies or sensitive skin?

If your dog has allergies or sensitive skin, it's essential to choose hypoallergenic shampoos that are free from potential irritants such as fragrances or dyes. Consulting with your veterinarian can help identify any underlying allergies or skin conditions and guide you toward suitable bathing products.

Is it necessary to brush my dog regularly even if they have short hair?

Yes, regular brushing is beneficial even for dogs with short hair. Brushing helps remove loose hair, prevents matting, stimulates blood flow to the skin, and distributes natural oils throughout the coat, promoting a healthy and shiny appearance.

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2023 Kalmbach Media Co.