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How Often Should You Wash Your Dog

Written by Jay
BsC (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare graduate with a passion for advocating for misunderstood animals.
Published on
Thursday 26 May 2022
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
how often should you wash your dog
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Many new pet parents find themselves wondering how often you should wash your dog. While it may seem like a good idea to bathe your pooch often, washing them too much can actually do more harm than good. For this reason, it’s best to wash your dog based on its coat type, breed, and lifestyle. For most breeds, though, once every three months is the minimum for bathing!

So, should you wash your dog often? The general consensus is that it’s best not to. However, other aspects of your dog’s care, like grooming and dental care, may differ. To find out more about the reasons for this, read on with us.

Washing your Dog

How often your dog needs a bath greatly varies depending on their breed, coat type, and lifestyle.


While it’s important to keep your dog’s coat and skin clean, it’s also important that you don’t wash them too often. Doing so dries out the skin and can contribute to skin disorders in general. For most breeds, it’s accepted that bathing your dog once every three months is the minimum. However, the recommended bathing frequency will depend on your dog’s coat type.

For example, the Labrador Retriever should not be bathed more than once per month to avoid stripping the coat of natural oils. Bathing your Lab as and when they need a good clean is fine for most. For short-haired dogs with an active lifestyle, you may get away with giving them a good rub down with a damp cloth to remove dirt from their activities. In contrast, a Poodle should be bathed once every 2-3 weeks. This is because their coats are very prone to matting while oils and dirt can quickly build upon their skin. Similarly, long-haired breeds like the Afghan Hound require a thorough bath every week to every two weeks to ensure that mats are not allowed to form.

For a better understanding of how often to bathe your breed, it’s a good idea to ask your local groomer for advice. An experienced dog groomer can take a good look at your dog’s coat length, and type, and explain exactly what’s best for them.

how often should you brush your dog
Daily brushing is important to keep the coat free from matting.


When asked how often you should wash your dog, brushing your dog should also be part of the conversation. As with bathing, how often to groom your dog depends on each individual dog. Generally speaking, dogs with short and smooth coats can be brushed once every week to remove loose hair. Dogs with short coats still shed hair, so a gentle brush can help to remove any loose hair and dirt in the coat. Dogs with longer double coats, like Pomeranians, should be brushed 2 to 3 times per week. For a long-hair breed like the Afghan Hound, daily brushing is important to keep the coat free from matting.


Your pup’s paws need care alongside their coat! It’s important that you check your dog’s paws and footpads often for cuts and abrasions. You should also carefully trim excess hair from between the footpads and remove any trapped foreign bodies like grass seeds or burrs when you spot them. Monitor your dog for any limping, too, as this is a sure sign that something is wrong. It’s time to trim your dog’s paws when the hair between their toes when extends beyond the toes and when it gets packed tightly between the pads.


Your dog’s nails should be trimmed whenever they need to be. As a general rule, adequate daily exercise should keep your dog’s nails in good condition and at an acceptable length. This is because the nails are naturally worn down. However, nails that don’t touch the ground, such as the dewclaws, may need more frequent trimming to prevent them from getting too long and digging into the skin. Your dog’s nails are too long you will hear them clack against the floor when they walk. The nails should not extend over the bottom of the paw pad, either.


Your dog should get a haircut with your local groomer every so often, but exactly how often depends on your breed. If you plan to send your pup to the groomer, it’s best to start early. Your puppy should have their first haircut when they’ve had all of their shots at 12 weeks old – however, some groomers advise against this, instead suggesting that puppies should be first seen at 6 months old. By taking your puppy to the groomer early, they will experience all the sights and sounds at the parlor that might be frightening for an inexperienced dog. At your puppy’s first appointment, be sure to ask the groomer how often your dog should be seen for a haircut. For example, Labradoodles should get a trim at the groomers every 6 to 8 weeks to prevent matting.


Ear cleaning is an important part of your dog’s hygiene. Some dogs will need more ear cleaning than others, such as dogs who are prone to ear infections. Luckily, cleaning your dog’s ears doesn’t require any special equipment – all you need is a quality ear cleaning solution, some cotton balls, and some treats. Never use Q-tips due to the risk of causing trauma to the ear canal. You should not clean your dog’s ears too often, as over-cleaning can cause irritation that leads to infection. As such, you should clean your dog’s ears as and when needed. For example, if you notice any discharge or odor in the ears. Some owners prefer to clean their dog’s ears just once a month.


It’s important to look after your dog’s teeth. Your dog can develop problems with tartar, plaque buildup, and gingivitis without dental care. Ideally, your dog should have its teeth brushed every day. however, your dog should at least be getting their teeth cleaned twice or three times a week to prevent dental disease. As well as brushing, you can keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy by providing safe chew toys daily.

cleaning your dog's ear
Some dogs will need more ear cleaning than others, such as dogs who are prone to ear infections.

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog: FAQ

So, should you wash your dog often? If in doubt about your dog’s grooming needs, you can always ask your vet or local groomer for advice.

Why does my dog go crazy after bathing? 

One of the main reasons why dogs become excitable after a bath is because of relief. A bath may be stressful for your dog, and once it’s over, they need to release the anxious energy. The other reason is that your dog instinctively wants to get dry, fast. Your dog knows that air and some rubbing against furniture will get them dry faster. There’s a chance that this frantic burst of energy acts as an equivalent to a towel-down for our dogs.

How can I calm my dog down at the groomer?

The best way to ensure that your dog stays calm at the groomers’ is to start their appointments early. Be sure to take your dog to the groomer during their puppyhood to get them used to the sights, smells, and sounds that they will encounter. You may start with quick baths or trims at the groomers in the beginning so as to not overwhelm your puppy. If your dog has not been to the groomer before, be honest with your groomer. If your dog is likely to snap or bite during grooming, be honest with your groomer about this too. Your groomer will be able to work better with your dog if they are aware of your dog’s needs.

Should I groom my dog before or after bathing?

It’s best to groom your dog before their bath, as water makes mats and tangles tighter. You should be able to run your comb through your dog’s coat, down to the skin, before bathing them. After bathing, you can then clip your dog’s coat – your clippers will dull faster if you clip a dirty or matted dog.

Should I wash my dog’s privates?

Your dog’s sanitary area should be kept clean, so it’s important to wash this area too if you notice any dirt, discharge, or foreign bodies. By removing these things when you see them, you help to prevent infections and discomfort for your pooch. However, if your dog’s sanitary area is already clean and not inflamed, it’s best to leave it alone. Your dog will clean themselves if they need to. Be sure to keep the hair around your dog’s sanitary area short to stop feces and urine from matting into the fur.

How often you should wash your dog depends on its breed, coat type, and lifestyle.

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