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How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

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When I was a kid I don’t remember ever washing our dog, but he used to go swimming just about every day in our swimming pool…I guess you could call it a daily chlorine bath.  When I picked up Linus from the animal shelter over 7 years ago I asked our veterinarian: “How often should you wash your dog?”  I was quite surprised by his response when he told me do not wash your dog more than once a month.

So for several years I lived by that rule: Wash Your Dog Once A Month! (of course give or take a few…sometimes I get lazy 🙁 ).

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

Wash Your Dog
Apache is all smiles while getting clean!

It’s been over 7 years since I first talked to my veterinarian about the wash you dog no more than once a month.  Since then I’ve decided that the frequency you wash you dog is not set in stone, it depends.  I think it depends on the dog breed and the individual dog.  Some dogs get stinkier sooner then other dogs.  Some dogs have skin conditions.  Some dogs are more active and get dirty.  Some dogs…okay you get the picture.  So here are a few short stories about my current 3 dogs: Apache, Linus, and Stetson.

A Tale Of 3 Dogs


I gave Apache his bath today and I recently determined that he needs a bath more than once a month.  If you haven’t been following along Apache is my 15 month old Golden Retriever Guide Dog Puppy In Training.  Compared to my Labrador Retrievers (Stetson, Derby, and Dublin) Apache definitely has more doggy odor and it gets much stronger the longer you wait in between washings.

Apache seems like he has twice as much fur as my other 2 dogs and he seems to make twice as much mess when it comes to bath time.  Recently I took Apache to the Doggie Spa for a self wash.  It was nice, convenient, and the mess stayed at the spa rather than in my house.  I also liked that the tubs were raised so I didn’t end up with a stiff back after washing my dog.  They provided dog shampoo, towels, water, and a blow dryer.  All you had to do was provide the dog.  The total cost for Apache’s little self wash was $10 which felt well worth it after I saw Golden fur stuck to the walls and flying all about the room.

So how often do I think we should bring Apache to the Doggie Day Spa or at least bathe him at home?  I’d say he could probably use a good washing about every other week.


I already mentioned that I asked my veterinarian how often I should wash my dog and the answer was no more than once a month.  He said one of the main reasons he recommends not washing your dog more than once a month is because you wash out his natural oils that dogs do not regain as quickly as people.  If you over wash your dog then you could end up drying out his skin.  Hmmm…makes sense to me!

Now when it came to Linus my Australian Shepherd mix, if doggy odor is your measuring tool for washing your dog then Linus rarely needs a bath.  I’m not saying he doesn’t have doggy odor, not in the least.  However, I can go months without giving him a bath and he smells about the same.   In my estimation Linus probably requires a bath about once every other month.


Stetson is the enigma of the group when it comes to giving your dog a bath.  He’s more like Linus in that he can go a couple months without a bath and still smell about the same (as I said before he still has doggy odor it just doesn’t seem to get more or less stinky over time).  However, he has skin allergies.  After many visits to my current veterinarian he recently recommended that I give Stetson a bath as often as once a week.  I came back at him and said that my veterinarian 7 years ago told me that washing your dog that often would deplete his natural oils and possibly create a dry skin condition.  My vet reassured me that he’d be fine.

Stetson has dog skin allergies already so I’m sure trying a more frequent bath schedule shouldn’t hurt.  So I recently decided that I’m going to start him off on the once every other week doggy bath cycle and see if it helps his allergies.

I know a lot of you have read many articles and this blog and now you may be wondering what about Derby and Dublin (my 2 yellow Labrador Retrievers).  I’d put both Derby and Dublin in the same camp as Linus.  They didn’t require frequent baths.

So now when I hear the question How often should you wash your dog?  My response is the old faithful…It depends…

Now the question goes back to you…How often do you wash your dog?  Tell us about your dog washing routine in the comment section below.

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  1. I have a multipoo. We walk 2 1/2 miles every day and even did 4 1/2 miles the other day. Needless to say we have trouble going a week between baths, sometimes as soon as 4 days between baths. Never have had a problem with dry skin.

  2. Hi Cece,

    I would consult your veterinarian to see what would work best for bathing your dog and keeping his skin from getting dry. When I last spoke with my vet he advised me to bath my dogs once a week to help with their skin allergies. When I asked about drying out skin he said we should be okay as long as we used a dog shampoo, but he did not recommend any brand in particular.


  3. Lol…….Hey I wash my chihuahua once a week. Because ima germ freak and he likes to sleep in my bed with me what can I use so I wont dry out his skin in the future ….

  4. Helpful tip for dog owners with large breed dogs. When you bathe your dogs always rinse with vinegar, either white or apple cider vinegar. It not only keeps them fresher longer but it helps repel fleas and mosquitos. When I had my Beauceron and Greyhound I alwyas rinsed with vinegar and it kept their coats so shiny and clean. I use it on my little breeds as well.

  5. @Erin, I work hard to keep my 3 dogs and house clean 🙂 Unfortunately my mom still tells me that she can smell dog sometimes when she comes over 🙁

  6. @Lori thanks for telling us about your dogs bathing schedule. I wish my dogs were the size of yours. It would make bath time for the dogs a much easier experience!

  7. How Often Should You Wash Your Dog? This is a good question. If you wash your dog to much he or she will get dry itchy skin. In the winter time you don’t need to wash as often as in the summer. Most dogs love playing in the mud even though it means you as an owner will have to bathe them. It all depends how dirty and smelly your dog is. Rule of thumb is about once a month.

  8. One helpful trick for anyone worried about washing too often is to rinse your dog off with warm water (to remove all the dirt and grime) and then use an all-natural deodorant spritz. Earthbath makes a great line of these 🙂

    -Mathew ( http://www.dogbar.com )

  9. The frequency of bathing with my dogs, depends on the season. In the winter, they probably get one bath during the entire season, but spring and summer will see me bathing anywhere from once a week to once a month. I’m sure my dogs find as much dirt as possible on purpose. Ah well. At least my house smells good? 🙂

  10. I bathe my Yorkies and my Maltese once a week or every other week. I bathe my Pomeranians once a month or every other month depending on the time of year. They all have great skin and coats.

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