How often should you wash your dog? | TeamDogs
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How often should you wash your dog?

An expert shares her advice and tips to a healthy and beautiful coat

Chloe Bowen

Posted 48d ago

As a dog owner, it may be tempting to wash away foul-smelling dog odours. But expert Gillian Irvine, Grooming Development Manager at The Groom Room, says we shouldn’t be overdoing it. 

Dogs are prone to have intense odours when they are wet, had long walks or have rolled around in something unpleasant, but how do we judge when it’s bath time. 

Gillian shares her tips and advice to washing your pets safely and correctly.  

Keep it to a minimum 

Grooming is part of being a responsible dog owner and for some breeds it's an absolute necessity to maintain their skin and coat condition through brushing and baths. However, just like our human hair and skin, washing should be kept to a minimum to avoid losing natural oils and irritating the skin.  

As a general rule, the ideal amount to wash your dog would be between 4-8 weeks. But this of course depends on their age, breed, size and lifestyle.  

A long or curly coated breed would expect to be washed more often around every 4 to 6 weeks, whereas a short or smooth coated dog may only need to be fully groomed every 8 to 12 weeks. 

The exception to washing more  

The above is simply a guide based on your breed, however there are exceptions to washing your dog earlier than our usual schedule. For example, if your dog’s fur is stained with oils and mud you will need to wash this off. As well in hotter months, especially for longer haired breeds, your dog is more likely to sweat and may appreciate a cool wash to keep them healthy and clean.  

Dog owners should judge from the state of fur if they need a quick brush, a rinse down or if it’s time to put the shampoo to use. 

Gillian Irvine says avoid ears and eyes (Image: Getty)


Is it bad if we wash them too much or too little? 

The answer is yes. It’s about finding a balance that suits your dog’s coat and lifestyle. It’s important to keep your dog clean and cared for, but it’s important to remember that your dog shouldn’t be washed or groomed too frequently as it can irritate their skin and coat. 

Regular grooming prevents painful matting, removes loose or dead hair from the coat to allow the skin to breathe, keeps the ears and eyes clean which helps to prevent infection, and ensures the nails don't overgrow or cause discomfort to your dog. 

Brush between washes  

The biggest thing you can do at home to support your dog's coat between washes is to brush them regularly. Sometimes we may think they need a wash when actually they just need a good comb. Brushing will keep odours to a minimum while also improving blood circulation.  

Brushing will help to keep those painful knots and tangles at bay and it’s also a good opportunity to give their skin and coat a good looking over to spot any possible parasites or scratches from brambles or thorns that may need attention. 

Use the right shampoo  

Gillian says using the right products can make a big difference to the longevity to the health and cleanliness of your dog’s coat. There are lots of different shampoos, conditioners and sprays for dogs on the market, but it’s best to use one that suits your dog's coat or skin to prevent having to wash them more than necessary.  

A dog’s skin has different pH levels to ours, so it’s important to use specific dog shampoo as opposed to human shampoos as these could irritate their skin and eyes. 

READ MORE: Best dog grooming products for grooming at home

If your dog has sensitive skin, a natural shampoo or one with Evening Primrose Oil would be a good choice, whereas for a puppy you should choose a specially formulated puppy shampoo. 

Just like human hair and skin, dog's fur can be irritated if over washed (Image: Getty)


Extra tips for washing your dog at home 

Consider these extra steps to ensure they feel at ease and their coat and skin is looked after.  

Brush your dog before bathing them Whatever type of coat your dog has, brushing them before their bath will help to get rid of any loose hair and fur. 

Check the temperature Make sure the water isn’t too hot or cold. As well as being more comfortable for your dog, using warm water will help your dog shampoo to work better. 

Use a hair trap Whether you’re using a handheld shower head or running a shallow bath, a hair trap is essential to stop your drain from getting clogged up. 

Be careful of their ears and eyes Wet their fur gently and take care to not get water in their ears and eyes as this can cause infection. It’s usually best to use a damp cloth to clean around their head or wrap a towel around their head and ears to protect this from happening. 

Dry your dog fully Once they’ve been washed, use a towel to remove the excess moisture from their fur. Water should be squeezed out using the towel rather than rubbed, as this will help avoid any matting after bathing. This should then be followed by a hairdryer on a warm setting to slowly dry them off completely. You should never leave your dog wet.  


If you are struggling to make a decision or don’t know where to start, the groomers at The Groom Room can offer further advice on pet products.  

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