It has been a while since I wrote because I have been a bit busy with my day job, but I am back! Even though I will go through periods of not writting, I do tend to regularly post photos and videos on our Instagram (@pup.talks) and Facebook (@puptalks) accounts, so keep checking that for your daily dose of Leo and Ari. So, in this period of not writing, I kept brainstorming various topics I want to write about or reviews I want to do and thanks to it being summer I found the perfect topic. How often should you bathe your dog? There seems to be a lot of different opinions on this, so I tried my best to sort through them and find the ones that seem to make most sense. I will try my best to do justice to all the sensible views I came across in this blog. To start with, there is a strong opinion that you can pretty much go ahead with not bathing your dogs because in the wild they never have a bath, plus the chemicals that are being used on them to clean them are toxic, etc. So essentially you should only bathe them when they get dirty. I don’t disagree with the general thought behind this viewpoint, but I realized that this way of thinking doesn’t take into consideration certain variables that our Indian pets have to face. Which is what led me to further research and put together certain points that can help you decide what kind of bathing schedule will work for your pooch.
Ari after his bath
Weather and Environment
The weather plays a big role in deciding how often you should bathe your dog. For example, in cities like Delhi, summer has some very dusty months that dirty your pooch as well. Even if they spent 30 minutes outside, the dust settles on them and of course they even spend a lot of time in the house lying on the floor. Being in dusty environment means they need to be cleaned more frequently. However, you don’t always need to fully bathe them. You can get doggie bath wipes and wipe them down, or just simply take a damp towel and rub them down! You should also keep brushing them regularly, it keep their coat cleaner by brushing out the loose dirt.
Walks on the road vs. Running in a park
One thing I have noticed with my boys is that they tend to get dirtier much faster when they go to the park, which is every day. But the days they walk to the roads without free-reign of the park, their body is just not as dirty. When they are in the park, they run around, through tall grass, bushes, etc, and all the dust from the plants transfers into their long coats. During the very dusty weeks of Delhi summer, I end up having to give my boys a bath a week, sometimes every 2 weeks.
Based on what I have read and experienced with my boys, I have noticed that the coat type impacts how dirty they get and how frequently they need to be given a bath. The general rule of thumb is that dogs with a rougher coat tend to repel dirt so they need a bath about once a month. Whereas dogs with a long single coat tend to get dirty faster and need a bath once a week, like the Shitzu. My German Shepherds fall somewhere in the middle of this range, where they need a bath once in 2-3 weeks to keep them clean and smelling nice. Sometimes Leo can go without a bath for a month but Ari is just a dirtier dog with a love for mud puddles.
There are some skin conditions that require frequent baths to treat or even soothe the dogs’ skin. Leo had gotten a fungal infection that required frequent medicated baths to treat. He also used to get very itchy and bathing him used to help give him some relief. With Ari, I noticed that if I don’t bathe him every 3 weeks, he starts getting pretty itchy which is because he’s shedding his coat or just the dirt.
Baths are a great way to check your dog and treat them for ticks and fleas! Since ticks are a bigger problem in summer than winter, frequent baths give you the opportunity to continuously treat your pet for ticks and fleas.
Some dogs just stink more than others
Based on the different breed characteristics, you do have some dogs that are smellier or get smelly faster than other dogs! There is no hard and fast rule about when you should bathe your dog, more of an approximation that is dependent on situational factors. Bathing them too much will lead to a dry coat and skin, bathing them too little can also lead to skin infections. So the best path is to just be involved in your pets’ life and give them a bath when you think they need one.
One thing you should keep in mind is that if your pooch sleeps with you in your bed then keeping them clean becomes more important. Also keep in mind that you are using only dog safe shampoos as our human shampoos have too many chemicals that can react to their sensitive skin. You should look for products with the least chemicals and preferably even go for brands that use better ingredients, even if they are costlier. In case you can’t find dog shampoo and need to give your dog a bath, you can use baby shampoo like by Johnson’s. I have personally used Johnson’s baby shampoo on Leo when his skin was raw and we hadn’t started him on the medicated shampoo yet. It even softened his fur a bit. So don’t stress too much about this, just go with your gut and what you notice about your dog.