How Often Should You Wash Your Dog? – Explained

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Many dog owners wonder how often they should be washing their dog.

Depending on the activity and exercise level of your dog, you need to give it a warm bath periodically to get rid of dust, dirt, dandruff (flaky, dry skin), and any unpleasant odors.

Fleas, ticks, and mites are known to multiply fast when you don’t keep a clean dog. A tick can lay thousands of eggs on average, which will hatch and continue breeding.

The best washing frequency ultimately depends on the dog’s age, breed, activity level, and health. However, you should note that many dog owners wash their dogs too much.

As a very general rule, dogs should be washed about once every 8 weeks, and no less than once every 12 weeks. The time figures below are just general estimates; if your notice that your dog smells when it walks by, it’s probably time for a bath. When in doubt, use your intuition.


If you have a fluffy dog breed such as a Pomeranian or Poodle, you should bathe it every 4-6 weeks.

If you have a medium-haired dog breed like an Alaskan Malamute or Australian Shepherd, you should bathe it every 8 weeks or so.

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The short-hair breeds like the Dalmation, Greyhound, or German Pinscher can be washed a bit less, at about once every 10-12 weeks (between 2-3 months).


As mentioned above, dogs on average require washing about once every 8 weeks. But senior dogs require different skills to maintain proper grooming.

Older dogs typically shed fur and hair more often than younger dogs, and they’re also more likely to have medical issues that affect the skin or cleanliness. This is why you may need to wash a senior dog more often.

Younger dogs can get an extensive groom after 4-6 weeks at regular intervals. As they grow, this may need to change.

For more information on how age might affect washing frequency, consult your veterinarian.


Regardless of the state of your dog’s health, you need to have it clean around the house.

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However, in the case of allergic skin issues, you should reduce the frequency of washing. Continuous washing of dogs with skin issues can cause irritation, infection, or other complications.

Tip: Try to keep your dog clean during the day so that there is less need for bathing.

If your dog has external parasites such as fleas or ticks, you will need to wash it frequently to get rid of hatched eggs or adult lice.

The Washing Process

It’s not difficult to keep your dog clean and avoid fur matting, but it requires the right materials and knowledge.

You need an understanding of the dog washing process, some elementary skills, the correct tools, and a well-planned schedule. These all play important roles in making your dog dirt-free and comfortable.

Tools You’ll Need

The tools you’ll need for bathing and grooming will depend on the breed and type of fur. Here are 10 tools you should have handy:

  • dog shampoo
  • flea control accessories
  • towel
  • dryer
  • brush (wire pin or bristle)
  • stainless steel de-matting comb
  • nail clippers
  • stripping knives
  • dog grooming table (optional)
  • toothbrush

Step-By-Step Bathing Guide

Here is a brief summary of the process:

  1. Prepare warm water in a tub or some other container. Warm water is better than cold water.
  2. Comb the dog’s fur. This is important for ensuring that the dog’s fur isn’t tangled.
  3. Prepare the dog for a bath. Set your dog up for a bath in a way that doesn’t make them fearful.
  4. Apply dog shampoo. Powerful shampoo chemicals help kill bacteria quickly.
  5. Rinse with plenty of warm water.
  6. Dry your dog off. You can either use a towel or let it air dry. Air drying is common with short-haired dogs.

See this excellent video on how to bathe a dog at home:

As an experienced dog owner, I’ve learned valuable dog washing lessons over the years. These are lessons that you should learn if you own a dog or are thinking of adopting one.

Before I continue, here are three simple facts to consider:

  1. The best washing and grooming procedures depend on the type of fur your dog has.
  2. Grooming goes hand-in-hand with health.
  3. It’s important to eliminate “dirty dog syndrome” in your dog while they are young. Dirty dog syndrome refers to the habit of dogs to urinate and defecate where they rest or sleep – not good!

Now let’s answer two more of the most common questions that we get from dog owners:

1. How much does professional dog grooming cost?

If you can’t find the time to wash your dog, don’t worry. A professional pet groomer can do the job, and probably better than you.

The average cost of a dog grooming is about $50, but it can vary anywhere from $20-$70 depending on the size of the dog and the amount of fur. A washing only will cost less than a washing with other grooming services.

Dogs naturally get uncomfortable visiting the groomer. However, it gets better with time, and these visits will leave your dog’s nails trimmed, fur trimmed, and undercoat brushed.

A full-service grooming is likely to take between 2-3 hours depending on the dog’s coat. Much thicker coats take up to 4 hours to groom.

2. What’s next after grooming?

After the grooming is complete, keep a record of the exact date and time it occurred. This will help you to plan the next grooming and not miss the deadline.

In the meantime, try to minimize opportunities for your dog to get dirty. Mud at the park is an example. Also, there are other ways to clean your dog without giving them a bath, such as pet wipes and brushing.


If you’re a beginner to dog washing, it is important to exercise patience and take the steps of the process slowly. This will allow both you and your dog to comfortably adjust.

Having the correct guide and essential tools at your disposal, you’ll be able to achieve a clean dog in the house, and the entire family will be better off for it.

Thanks for reading! How often do you wash your dog? What are your methods? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments.

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