How Often Should I Wash My Dog?

As a groomer I get asked this question a lot!  How often should I wash my dog?  I find some people are washing their dog too frequently and others probably not enough.

Then other factors come into play such as a super itchy dog, a dog with really dry skin, one with really oily skin, a dog who smells again after a few days, a dog who goes and rolls in something disgusting, a dog on long term medication, a yard dog, a house dog and so on.

Things to consider first!

1. SKIN RENEWAL

In a healthy dog it takes around 21 days for the skin to renew itself.  The natural oils and minerals build up as a layer of protection for your dog during this time.

In an itchy/irritated dog it can take less time say around 14 days for the skin to renew itself.

If you’re washing your dog too frequently you’re stripping this away and your dog’s skin doesn’t have that protective layer.

2. WHAT TYPE OF SHAMPOO SHOULD I USE?

If your dog is of the ‘normal’ skin type then I would go for a natural all organic shampoo that will be soft on your dog’s skin as well as good for the coat.

In my salon I only use all natural shampoos, one company I use are Petway Petcare  and  I also use an Oatmeal shampoo with Lanolin in it, from another company. The Oatmeal is great for the skin and the Lanolin leaves the hair feeling very soft.

There are a variety of shampoos dedicated to dogs from super dirty dogs to just a spruce up bath (i.e. dogs that don’t get that dirty).

If your dog has itchy or irritated skin it’s best to try and find the cause.  There are a multitude of reasons; it could be from  washing your dog too frequently, it could be from irritants from the around the yard, a change in washing detergent used for washing their bed, or more importantly it could be caused by the quality of food they are eating.

Some of my customers come in with medicated shampoo from the vet, I’m happy to use them for their dogs.

Some dogs are better off with a soap-free shampoo also.

So it’s a process of elimination when it comes to itchy irritated skin types.

If in doubt ask your vet.

3. CAN I USE MY HUMAN SHAMPOO ON MY DOG?

NO, NO and NO!!!!

There are different pH levels in our shampoos and dog shampoos.

What’s pH?

According to MadScience.org – the term pH was invented in 1909 by Dutch chemist Soren Sorensen.

pH was originally written by Dr Sorensen as PH, and it stands for ‘ponds hydrogen’, which means ‘potential hydrogen’.

This terminology refers to acidity being due to a predominance of hydrogen ions in an aqueous ( water containing) solution.

What does this mean?

According to Earth Bath – A pH level of 7 is neutral (pure water has a pH of 7.0).  A pH less than 7 is acidic!!!

The pH level of a dog’s skin is about 7.5, where for human’s it’s 5.5!

A dog’s skin is close to neutral pH, so the shampoo you should be using on your dog should be much more neutral in pH than the typical value of shampoo for human hair.

So basically, DO NOT USE YOUR SHAMPOO ON YOUR DOG!!!

4. WHEN CAN I WASH MY PUPPY?

Ideally, from 3 months old.   I say ideally because in some instances puppies can get smelly and roll in stinky stuff.

It’s okay to wash your puppy however make sure you are using an all natural organic PUPPY shampoo.

It’s good to get your puppy use to having a bath because down the track you may need to pay someone to do it for you and if they are already familiar with the procedure it reduces stress levels.

Before taking your puppy to the groomer however, make sure the vet has given them the all clear to be taken in public areas.

As a rule in my Salon (and when I was mobile) I always made sure any puppies I took on had all their needles first.

5. DO I NEED TO USE CONDITIONER?

I don’t use conditioners in the salon because the shampoos aren’t harsh and don’t dry out the skin.

If you choose your shampoo correctly you won’t need a conditioner.

If my customer’s come in with a vet approved medicated shampoo then generally it is accompanied with a conditioner because the shampoo being used will dry the skin out.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I WASH MY DOG?

Ideally, once a month.  Remember, it takes 21 days for skin to renew!

However, I’m also a realistic person, Billy sleeps on our bed every night, is inside most of the time,  and he goes outside whenever he needs to.

So I try to keep his baths to every 2.5 – 3 weeks and as I said above I mainly use the Oatmeal and Lanolin shampoo on him, which is gentle on his skin.  In the summer months however, I’ll use a flea shampoo.

If you’re using a shampoo that is natural and not harsh then 2 weekly baths you can get away with but  more frequently than that is too much bathing.

If  your dog is an inside dog and get’s smelly between baths, brush them and get a natural cologne and spray them with it.

Or get dog wipes and wipe them over, then brush them and spray them with the cologne.

If you wash your dog too much, it’ll strip that protective layer from their skin (and yes they need it) and your dog will become too irritated and itchy.

As you can tell (picture above) Billy isn’t thrilled with his bath time but he knows it happens so once we catch him and put him in the bath (warm water always) he deals with it.

Does your fur baby like their bath?  What shampoo do you use on your fur baby? How often do you wash your fur baby?

We’d love to hear from you.

Cheers

J & B

Woofalicious Tales xoxo

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