A lot of new dog owners find it hard to figure out how often they should bathe their dog. In reality, there are many things that affect the answer.

“How often a pet needs a bath depends a lot on its breed, lifestyle, coat length, and how much homework its owner is willing to do,” says Beth Cristiano, owner of Pretty Paws LLC in Harrison, New York.

What Kind of Coat Does Your Dog Have?

How often you need to bathe your dog depends a lot on the type of coat he has. But it’s not as simple as “the shorter your hair, the less you need to wash it.” Cristiano says that hairless breeds like the Chinese Crested and the Xoloitzcuintli are hard to care for because they need to be bathed every week.

On the other end of the spectrum are breeds like the Maltese and the Collie, which have long coats. Jorge Bendersky, a celebrity dog groomer, pet expert, and best-selling author of “DIY Dog Grooming, From Puppy Cuts to Best in Show: Everything You Need to Know,” says that the more hair a dog has, the more work it takes, including how often it needs to be bathed. He also says, “Dogs with medium-to-large coats might need a bath once a week or every 4 to 6 weeks, as long as the coat is taken care of properly in between baths.”

But when corded, a breed like the Puli, which has long hair, doesn’t need to be bathed as often. “The Puli doesn’t get that typical dog smell, and a Puli probably doesn’t need as many baths as most other breeds,” says the Puli Club of America.

So, what about dogs that are neither too big nor too small? “Breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, etc., have thick or double coats that naturally keep the dogs warm in different seasons,” says Monica Handy of Woofie’s Mobile Pet Spa. “Taking too many showers could remove too much oil from the skin and mess up this process. Using a product made just for shedding will help stop this from happening.”

Are there any health conditions?

If your dog has certain health problems, your groomer or vet may tell you to use medicated shampoo when you bathe him or her. Even if your dog is healthy now, he needs to be groomed regularly to stay that way. “All pets benefit from having their ears cleaned and their nails trimmed once a month,” says Cristiano. “A good brushing, combing, and conditioning of the pet’s coat are more important to its health than a bath.”

Then there’s the owner’s health. “Sometimes the bath is for the comfort of the person, not the pet,” says Cristiano. “People with allergies usually react to their pet’s dander, which can be controlled by giving your pet a bath once a week.” A shampoo that gets rid of pet dander might also help people with allergies.

What does your dog do all day?

Bendersky says that an active lifestyle might be easier with a short-haired breed because it’s usually easier to keep the dog clean in between baths. “You can get rid of the dirt that short-haired dogs picked up at the dog park by giving them a good rubdown with a damp washcloth,” he says.

No matter what breed they are, dogs that spend all day in the ocean, hunting in muddy water, or herding sheep may need more baths than dogs that spend most of their time inside.

Bendersky says, “At the end of the day, we should wash our dogs when they are too dirty to hug.”

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