When Does Your Dog Need A Bath?
Though many dogs despise bathing, regular grooming can help to keep your pet free from parasites, reduce indoor shedding and allergens and provide an opportunity to check for hidden injuries or growths.
While most dogs are less than enthusiastic about bath time, bathing can play an important part in your pet's overall well being and happiness. In addition to improving coat and skin health, brushing and scrubbing can help to keep your pet free of dirt and parasites. Regular bathing can also give you the chance to check your pet for unusual lumps, bumps or cuts that you may not have noticed otherwise.
There are no hard and fast rules about how often to give your pet a bath, but most recommend two or three times a month as a baseline. However, ultimately bathing frequency will depend on a variety of factors, including environment, coat type, activity levels and any existing skin issues. If you have an indoor pet, you may not need to bathe them as frequently to keep them smelling fresh. However, regular grooming can help to minimize unwanted shedding, and can reduce the number of allergens in your home. Outdoor dogs with high activity levels, or pets that spend a lot of time running through thick underbrush may need to be cleaned more frequently, especially since they are much more prone to picking up parasites.
Coat type can also be an important factor. Dogs with more oily coats may benefit from more frequent baths, but too much shampooing can wreak havoc on the coats of pets with fine or dry hair. While Basset Hounds, with their dense, oily fur, may need a bath nearly weekly, short-haired breeds and dogs with water-repellent coats needn't be bathed as frequently. In fact, shampooing too frequently can strip the water-repelling oils from the coats of certain types of dogs, including Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Malamutes, Great Pyrenees, and Samoyeds and other working breeds. Whatever your pet's coat type, remember that washing too frequently can leave him or her prone to frizzy, dried out hair, which can lead to dandruff, matting, or irritation. Dogs with especially sensitive skin may benefit from specially medicated shampoos, which should be available in most well-stocked pet stores.
You should also keep in mind that shampoos intended for human use are not appropriate for pets: even baby shampoos or brands that are pH balanced. Dogs have skin that is much thinner, lacks sweat glands and has a different pH profile. You should avoid any shampoos that are heavily perfumed, since they can easily cause an allergic reaction. Finally, always make sure to rinse your pet's fur thoroughly, especially if your dog has long or thick fur, since shampoo residue can cause irritation. If you're not sure about your particular pet, your veterinarian should be able to give you recommendations. Click here for more information on a veterinary clinic in San Jose.
Nancy has a deep love of animals and talks and writes about them regularly. She is a huge animal rights advocate. Read her thoughts at my animal care blog on Tumblr.
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