Jun 14
puppy taking a bath

Coming Clean On Your Dogs Bathtime

Giving your dog a bath will cleanse their skin of dirt, debris and pollens. It can also be used as a great way to deliver medication to the skin when needed. It can also remove natural oils from the coat, and even cause irritation of the skin.

So how often should I bath my dog?

This varies with the each dog and there are no set rules. It can be anywhere from twice weekly to twice yearly or even never!

If you are using a medicated shampoo for a skin infection or problem you may need to do this two to three times weekly.

If you have an itchy or allergic dog they also may benefit from regular washes in a moisturising, hypoallergenic shampoo such as one with oatmeal (how oatmeal calms itch isn’t known, it’s thought to reduce inflammatory mediators & benefits can last from hours to a day or two).

In general, if your dog has no skin issues, once monthly is more than enough, do what suits your lifestyle but too frequent washing of a dog with normal skin and an inappropriate shampoo can still lead to drying or irritation of their skin.

What shampoo?

Use a dog approved shampoo. Not a human one. The type should be based on your dogs’ individual skin and current problem/s if present.

Medicated shampoos are used to treat bacterial and yeast infections, and can help with mites and other conditions.

Moisturising, hypoallergenic shampoos with additives such as oatmeal will benefit an itchy dog with no infection and is so gentle for dogs with a normal skin type.

Why you shouldn’t use baby shampoo, human shampoo or wool mix has a lot to do with the pH. Your dogs’ skin has a much higher pH than human skin, so human products aren’t pH balanced for pets. They can damage the coat and sensitive skin.

No shampoo?

It’s not necessary to use a shampoo with every bath. After a play in the mud or a swim in the ocean be rinsed with warm water only to remove the dirt and leave the natural oils alone, you could try this every other bath.

Should I be using a conditioner?

These contain oils or other active ingredients such as oatmeal. They detangle, add shine and can work as a barrier to retain moisture in the skin. They are used to counteract dry and irritated skin, and are great for itchy dogs (without infection) either after the shampoo has been used, or used on it’s own in between shampoos.

How is best to wash my dog?

Rinse with warm water, apply the shampoo, massage into the entire coat from nose to tail, being very careful around the eyes are ears to keep them clear of product, leave on 5-10 minutes and then thoroughly rinse off.
Follow with a rinse/conditioner afterwards if needed.

Make bath time a happy time

Most importantly make your dogs bath time a happy time. By helping your fur kid to love the bath you make your job easier, and make for a happy dog. Use tasty treats to reward calm behaviour (before, during and after) and do something very special that they love at the end of the bath. This could be a toy or treat that they don’t normally get, a car ride or walk, something that means your pup will associate bath time with fun times!

About The Author

Claire is a QLD graduate with 19 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of VetChat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.