How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?

November 9, 2022

New dog owners may not know how often to bathe a puppy or older dog, and unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. The solution depends on factors such as coat type, lifestyle, and skin conditions. Dogs with thicker coats, long hair, and a more active lifestyle will require a more frequent wash as compared to dogs with shorter hair.

Every dog is unique, so how frequently you should bathe your dog can vary greatly. Generally, we suggest bathing your dog every four weeks. If your pup is double-coated, be sure to spend extra time de-shedding as well. As an essential part of the care routine for double-coated breeds, de-shedding is the process of brushing out any loose hairs from your dog’s undercoat to prevent skin issues and reduce bathing time. No matter what type of coat your dog has, it’s important to also take time every month to trim their nails, brush their teeth, and inspect their anal gland — which are things professional groomers happen to be experts in!

How Often to Bathe Your Dog by Coat Type

As previously mentioned, the answer to how often you should bathe your dog depends on your pup's coat type and lifestyle, among other factors. However, it's not always as straightforward as if the hair is longer, then more bathing is required. Here are a few guidelines to be aware of as you get started. 

Black dog in blue plastic tub outside looking at camera with soap suds on its head.

Short Coat

Dogs with short coats — such as Pugs, Bulldogs, and Boxers — are typically low-maintenance, but in order to support the health and wellness of your short-coated pup, we suggest getting into a bathing routine every four weeks. That being said, if your four-legged friend plays outside frequently, you’ll want to bathe them more often. 

We also highly recommend brushing short-coat dogs once a week to keep their coat healthy, hydrated, and shiny. While it’s not always the case, short-coat breeds are generally less care-intensive when it comes to grooming.

Double Coat

As the name implies, double-coated breeds have two different coats: an undercoat that’s shorter, thicker, and lighter, as well as an outer coat that’s longer, thinner, and darker. If you have a double-coated dog, you’re probably aware that they typically shed around the spring and fall. During that time, monthly washing and daily brushing is highly recommended, but outside of shedding season, bathing is recommended every six weeks, at most. When brushing and bathing, be sure to get to the undercoat, as that’s what is responsible for the frequent shedding. Breeds such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Alaskan Huskies possess this type of coat. 

Long Coat

Long-coated breeds such as Poodles, Shih Tzus, and Yorkshire Terriers typically require more work to groom and more frequent dog baths. They should be bathed every four weeks at minimum. If you have a long-coat breed, it’s often recommended to see a groomer every six weeks at maximum to get their hair cut and cleaned to avoid matting and tangling.

Want a simple way to check if your pup needs a trim? Lift up their paws and check if they are walking on any fur. When the hair between their paw pads starts growing out to the point where your fur baby is stepping on it, it’s definitely time for a haircut!

Health Benefits of a Professional Bath

Although some dog owners opt to bathe their dogs at home, there are a lot of benefits to working with professional dog groomers instead. To maximize your pup’s overall health, it’s important to regularly trim your dog's nails, pick ticks and fleas, clean their ears, and inspect their anal glands — all of which are extremely sensitive tasks that require a lot of experience and a delicate touch. Not to mention the regular practice of cutting their hair, bathing and drying them, and selecting the proper products based on their coat type, skin conditions, and lifestyle. 

With the help of professional groomers who have the right tools and experience, you can save time and rest easy knowing that your four-legged friend is in good hands. In addition to keeping your dog healthy and happy, here are a few benefits of a professional bath:

  • Professional groomers have trained eyes that can easily detect abnormal skin and coat issues such as intense itches, bumps, skin sores, and discolorations. This can help dog owners make informed decisions as to when a veterinary visit is necessary. 
  • Professional groomers carefully select products that are safe for your specific dog and use proper techniques to evenly distribute your dog's natural oils for healthier skin and a shinier coat, which are indicators of your dog’s overall health.
  • Professional groomers brush your dog's coat to help prevent matting, trim their nails to the correct length to avoid infections, clean their ears and teeth, and express their anal glands when necessary.

How Often to Bathe Based on Lifestyle

Of course, the type of lifestyle your furry friend leads greatly influences the frequency at which you need to give them a bath. For example, dogs that play outdoors often will require more baths than dogs that stay indoors. Jorge Bendersky, a celebrity dog groomer, has a good piece of advice to abide by: "We should wash our dogs when they are no longer huggable."

Smiling little girl hugging a smiling Golden Retriever with its tongue out and eyes closed.

Another factor is seasonality, as most dogs will start to shed in spring, so we recommend that you wash them regularly during that time of year. However, in winter, you’ll want to reduce the frequency at which you bathe your dog because similar to humans, their skin tends to get dry, and washing your pup too often will only exacerbate the issue. Instead, you want to brush them often and allow their natural oils to keep their skin hydrated. 

How Often to Bathe Based on Skin Conditions

Certain breeds with naturally oily coats like Chesapeake Bay Retrievers will usually require frequent baths to help remove the dirty oil, but the reverse is true for dogs with less oily coats like Labrador Retrievers, Pomeranians, and Australian Shepherds. If your pup has an allergy or another skin condition, your veterinarian may recommend a strict grooming regime with specific products to alleviate the issue. Just remember not to wash your dog too often as that will cause skin irritation. When in doubt, please consult your vet for advice.

What's Included in a Barkbus Bath?

Now that you’ve figured out how often you should bathe your dog, you might wonder when you’ll have the time to get it all done? That’s where we come in. At Barkbus, we bring the convenience and luxury of professional dog grooming to your doorstep. With flexible appointment types and our state-of-the-art mobile grooming vans, our team of professional dog groomers can easily fit into your busy schedule, giving you your time back.

Barkbus Mobile Grooming: What's Included?

Apart from our state-of-the-art mobile grooming vans and convenient online booking, one of our most utilized services by pet parents is our Signature Service.

Our Signature Service includes all of the following at no extra cost: 

  • Warm filtered water bath 
  • All-natural shampoo and conditioner
  • Blueberry facial
  • Nail trimming and filing
  • Ear cleaning
  • Teeth brushing 
  • Anal gland expression, if needed

A haircut is not included in the basic Signature Service, but a partial or full haircut and styling can be added to the package when you book your appointment. We also offer a DeShedding Service with the option to book with or without a haircut.

For more information on our services and detailed pricing, please visit our online portal

Groom Your Furry Friend With Barkbus Today!

At Barkbus, we believe that the process of keeping your dog well-groomed should revolve around health, wellness, safety, and convenience for both you and your four-legged friend. With no cages, crates, or stress, our services are specifically designed to pamper your pup and make traumatic trips to salons a thing of the past.

Want to have your dog professionally and conveniently groomed with Barkbus? Secure an appointment with us today.


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