How often should I bathe my dog?

There is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to this question. Many factors come into play when determining the ideal bathing schedule for your pet, which can range from every week to every three months or so. Keep reading to get a better idea of what might work for your pup!

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Factors that influence how often a dog needs to be bathed

A general rule of thumb is to bathe your dog at least once every three months to avoid the build-up of dirt, grease, and bacteria that could lead to skin infections.

Here are some factors that should be considered: Breed, coat and skin type
Every breed of dog has a particular type of coat. Short-haired dogs such as Pit Bulls and Pointers will generally not need to be bathed too often, while long-haired and/or double-coated breeds tend to trap more dirt, grime and grease in their fur and require more frequent baths. You should keep in mind that if you have a non-shedding dog that needs to visit the groomer on a regular basis, they’ll also be getting a bath there.

You will also need to remember that double-coated breeds have a thick undercoat that is difficult to dry, so often they will be better off with just a brushing or wipe down rather than a bath. These dogs also shed their undercoats in the spring and fall, and a well-timed bath can help manage the shedding. In addition, some dog breeds have special requirements. For example, hairless breeds like the Chinese Crested will need more frequent bathing to help prevent grease from building up on their skin. Others, like the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, naturally have more oily skin and need to be bathed more often. Lastly, some longer-haired dogs tend to get dirt or debris stuck to their little bushy behinds and need more frequent bathing to prevent this build-up.

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Activity level

If your pooch is more of a couch potato, chances are they’re not getting too dirty and won’t need a bath very often. However, if you and your dog are the more adventurous type and are going to places like dog parks, beaches or mountains, they might be getting dirty or muddy more often and need more frequent baths.

Health conditions

Some dogs have skin conditions like allergies, seborrhea, infections or dandruff that require frequent medicated baths. Your vet can provide guidance on which topical products will work best for your pet. If your dog has one of these conditions, chances are you’ll be bathing them more frequently.  Fortunately, special topical treatments like the DOUXO® S3 medicated products that are formulated to help protect their skin and fur from drying out. These products are also available in a mousse that can be combined with the shampoos for optimal performance.


Puppies are a challenge to keep clean for several reasons. First of all, they are lower to the ground and on wet days this can mean a belly and legs full of mud. Secondly, when they’re being potty/crate trained they are more likely to step in or lie in their messes. Lastly, when learning how to play with other dogs, puppies tend to get rolled around a lot, so if they’re playing in an area full of dirt or mud, this can make for a very dirty puppy.

While it might seem like you’re constantly needing to bathe your puppy, this will lessen as they grow up. You can cut down on bathing by using wipes or dry shampoos for spot cleaning instead of a full bath.

Owner preferences

Another factor is each individual owner’s preferences. These will likely also depend on whether the dog is allowed on the furniture or bed⁠– a dog that sleeps right next to their owner on the bed will probably need to be a bit cleaner than one who sleeps on the floor. The color of your furniture may also play a role.  Certainly, there are dog owners who have white sofas and they may want to bathe their pets more often!

How often is too often?

Remember that overbathing or using the wrong shampoo on your dog can strip them of their natural oils and lead to dry, itchy skin and a poor coat.  Overbathing can also leave them more susceptible to bacterial or fungal infections. You should aim to keep bathing your pup to a minimum, except for medicated baths to treat a skin condition or for hairless dogs.  If your dog is one that requires more frequent bathing, using a gentle, hydrating shampoo such as DOUXO® S3 CARE to help prevent drying out their skin.

A bath is not always the answer

Those of us that have particularly adventurous dogs who are constantly getting into something have learned a few tricks along the way. Bathing a dog can be a hassle, so there are other methods you can use to keep your dog clean without dragging them into the bathtub.

Dry and brush

If your dog is just a little muddy or sandy, you can walk them a bit longer or leave them outside to dry off, then use a dog brush to remove the dried mud or sand. This trick works better on some types of coats than others, so give it a try and see if it works for your dog.

Spot cleaning

If they’ve just managed to get their paws dirty or a few isolated spots on their backs or sides, you can use damp paper towels or fresh-smelling wipes to remove the dirt and grime from those areas. There are also dry shampoos on the market that can help keep your dog clean between baths.

 How often you should bathe your dog: some final thoughts

In the end, dogs don’t care too much about what we have in mind for them, whether that be a bathing schedule, ideal level of cleanliness, or desire for them not to roll around gleefully in other animals’ poop. Our furry friends live in the moment and a perfectly clean pup can become a nose-to-tail-mud-covered bog monster in approximately 0.5 seconds. Some of them seem to have a knack for finding the muddiest puddles and the smelliest garbage to roll around in, so it may just come down to saying: okay, so you were already getting quite dirty over this past couple of weeks, and now that you’ve gone and got yourself all full of mud, it’s time for that bath!

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DOUXO® is a registered trademark of Ceva Santé Animale S.A.

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