How often should you bathe your dog?
Nobody likes a dirty dog. Some people are so determined to keep their dog sweet smelling and dirt free, they bathe them once a week. If you are one of those dog owners, you probably believe you're being a responsible pet owner and taking the best possible care of you canine companion. In reality, though, you may actually be harming your dog.
Why Too Many Baths Aren't Good for Fido
Being clean is always good, right? Humans bathe regularly so why shouldn't the dogs that live with humans do the same? It feels good to feel clean and it definitely makes our four-footed friends smell better. So what's the harm in bathing your dog frequently?
By nature, most dog breeds have special protective oils in their coat. These oils help your dog's skin stay healthy, soft, and supple. It also serves to guard them against the elements throughout the seasons by keeping them warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. By bathing your dog frequently, you wash away much of this protective oil.
Without the natural oils in their coats, dogs may develop dry, itchy, irritated skin. They'll scratch and dig so much you think they have fleas so you bath them again and soon you're caught in a vicious cycle. You bathe the dog; the dog loses natural oil, the dog's dry skin itches, so you bathe it again. Rinse and repeat.
Hound dogs are particularly vulnerable to damage from excessive bathing.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?
Most dog breeds should only be bathed about four times a year while hound dogs should not be bathed more than twice a year. This may sound astonishing (maybe even disgusting) but it is the best way to preserve the natural oils in your dog's coat. Of course, you may need to give your pet the occasional emergency bath if he tangles with a skunk or decides to roll around in some foul smelling substance.
There are beneficial methods you can use to keep your dog smelling fresh and clean. Most pet stores offer a variety of pet wipes and dry shampoos that are excellent substitutes for bathing. Both of these products are designed to help moisturize your dog's skin and coat and soothe irritating hot spots. They also help to remove dander, which causes unpleasant reactions in people who have allergies to dogs.
Brushing and combing improves the cleanliness of your dog by removing loose hair and debris from its coat as. This also helps cut down on the amount of dog hair that winds up on your furniture and flooring.
There are even scented sprays made especially for dogs. Look for ones with ingredients that smell good as well as help moisturize the skin and coat.
Even though bathing your dog frequently seems like the right thing to do, it really does more harm than good. Skip the full immersion baths most of the time and take advantage of the products designed to clean your pooch without depleting it of the natural oils it needs.