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How Often to Bathe a Dog – September 5th, 2014

The breed of dog determines how often you bathe him. Indoor dogs do not need much bathing, compared to outside dogs that come in contact with the elements, and they like to dig in the dirt, play in the mud after it rains and running in the yard. Grease and oil on dogs’ coats will build up on different breeds more frequently than others.

There are dogs that have skin conditions that will require different bathing scenarios. Cocker Spaniels need to be bathed every four weeks and are prone to several skin conditions such as Seborrhea which you will be able to see patches of oily and dry skin at the same time. Even though these symptoms are opposite they are both considered to be the result of Seborrhea. Cocker Spaniels need to be given regular baths with special shampoo and conditioners that are used specifically for Seborrhea. Cocker Spaniels are also prone to get yeast, various bacteria and ringworm. Noticeable signs of irritated skin in cocker spaniels are persistent itching, scratching, biting and chewing their skin. Common areas are at the base of the tail, the belly and hind legs.

German Shepherds are active and frequently run and play outdoors due to their energetic personality. They need to be bathed more often, especially when rolling around in leaves, playing in the mud and being exposed to other outdoor debris and elements.

Huskies and Chows have double coats that are very thick and should be bathed three or four times a year. These breeds have undercoats that are insulated and waterproof, and if bathed more than the suggested times will make their coats softer, less insulating and waterproof.

Non shedding dogs such as the Schnauzer, Bichon Frese’, Yorkshire Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, Shih Tzu, Poodle, Italian Greyhound, Basenji, and the Chinese Crested which has very little hair need to be bathed often.  Poodles and Schnauzers along with the non shedding dogs would be bathed every six weeks or every other week and also weekly baths will present a problem.

Labrador Retrievers and Rottweilers should be bathed once a month, but every three months is recommended so the element protection is not stripped. The protective oils in their coats are quickly regained and will smell if bathed too often, and as a result they will get extra oils for over bathing protection. Yorkshire terriers especially do not need to be bathed frequently, their hair is considered more human like. While frequent bathing is not required, grooming and brushing is recommended at least three times a week. This will remove knots, tangles and small pieces of debris such as sticks, leaves, dirt and food particles from their hair.

Dogs that shed a lot should not be bathed frequently because this leads to increased hair loss and it is the result of stripping the natural oils from your dog’s skin hindering the normal shedding cycle. Unnecessary bathing can result in skin irritations, rashes and skin conditions.

Any dog breed can develop skin problems. If persistent and unusual behavior develops in your dog, seek the advice of a veterinarian. The veterinarian will examine your dog’s skin and determine if it is a special skin condition causing the constant discomfort or if it is an allergic reaction. At times, it may be an allergic reaction to shampoo and conditioner treatments used during grooming.

If your dog suffers from a skin disease, a specific skin condition or has an allergic reaction to any shampoo or grooming product, advise your dog groomer so certain precautions can be taken to assure your dog’s skin is well cared for and healthy.

Photo credit: Rachel/Flickr

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