How Often Can I Bathe My Dog?

Bathing Your Dog

“How often should I bathe my dog?” “Can I bathe my dog too often?” These are questions I hear frequently. I even had one situation where a couple was arguing about the correct answer and came to me to be the final judge.

My answer is that you can bathe your dog as often as you need to bathe him to keep him clean.

This may be a new idea for some of you. You may have heard or been told that bathing your dog too often can strip the skin of oils and dry out the hair coat. In the past, we believed this to be true. We now know that recommendation is not necessarily in your dog’s best interest.

In fact, what we realize now is that bathing removes allergens (things that cause allergies) and other irritants from your dog’s skin. So more frequent bathing actually has benefits for both you and your dog. Frequent bathing helps keep your dog’s skin and hair coat healthier and helps make your dog more comfortable. It also helps keep your dog clean which is preferable if you’re one of the many people who allow your dog to rest on your furniture or share your bed.

How often is too often to bathe your dog? I frequently recommend bathing every 3-4 days if a dog has skin disease or seems itchy. If you need to bathe your dog that often to keep him clean, there’s nothing wrong with doing that. If you’re concerned about drying your dog’s skin or hair coat, use a skin and coat conditioner. There are many good ones available.

Photo Courtesy of caterina/

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About Lorie Huston, DVM

Lorie Huston is an accomplished veterinarian, an award winning blogger, a talented author and a certified veterinary journalist. She is available for writing assignments, blogging and social media consultation, and SEO strategy.

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  • Jana Rade November 1, 2011, 2:34 am

    Lately I read more and more articles on positive outcome of frequent bathing as a treatment for skin issues. It seems recommended as a treatment of choice over drugs. Makes sense to me. Jasmine gets based on as needed bases, minimum 1x in two weeks.. JD has no problems and is clean so he gets bathed very rarely.

    • Lorie Huston, DVM November 1, 2011, 10:38 pm

      A lot of times, frequent bathing is used in combination with other treatment techniques (i.e. drugs, when necessary.) But if bathing works by itself to control your dog’s skin disease, that’s better yet.

  • Dan@ Ace Pet Memorials November 1, 2011, 1:57 pm

    I love the picture! The dog looks almost like a marmot, lol.

    • Lorie Huston, DVM November 1, 2011, 10:37 pm


  • rockjdog November 2, 2011, 9:56 am

    Oh man, I hate bath time. Molly is ok with baths, she is not happy but will at least cooperate. When it comes to washing Rock, it’s like washing a truck. I can’t pull him but if I brace my feet against the wall I can push him in the bathroom. Once in the bathroom he collapses and to get him into the tub I have to lift him. Lifting 160lbs of deadweight is exausting. Once in the tub he will get up and place his body against the back wall of tub stall. Trying to get to his face, chest and neck that way will not work. If I turn him around he does his collapsing trick again and becomes a mass of skin and wrinkles ( hes a bullmastiff). Its almost like he melts. I cant say I have ever given him a good thorough bath, I get all the parts but I dont get as good a soaking as i’d like. He has been due for a bath for about three weeks now and I have been putting it off. Guess this weekend, my back already hurts thinking about it.

    • Lorie Huston, DVM November 2, 2011, 12:44 pm

      I can certainly see where 160 pounds of dog would present some difficulties with bathing. No wonder you put it off…


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