Many dogs have a distinct smell–one that’s easy to identify for most dog lovers. Sometimes, this doggy odor becomes even more apparent when the pooch appears dirty or unkempt. This causes some owners to immediately resort to washing or bathing their dogs.
That’s why, according to Dr. Robert Hilton, a veterinarian specializing in veterinary dermatology, most pet owners may be over-bathing their dogs.
“In general, healthy dogs only need to be bathed if they smell. There’s no reason particularly to bathe a healthy dog, unless they’re dirty,” said Hilton. “Or some dogs develop a doggy smell and people want to remove that, or they get dusty or dirty.”
Hilton even suggests that dogs who do not have a skin condition do not have to be washed ever unless they become dirty through physical activity. This is the norm in wild dogs, especially with their lack of shampoo access.
Regular Washing Isn’t Necessarily Harmful
Still, this does not mean bathing your dog is a bad practice. Dr. Hilton suggests that healthy dogs can usually be bathed as much as the owner wants.
Dogs with healthy skin free of any skin conditions most likely will not be harmed by having baths up to once every other week, though that’s probably not necessary. Bathing more than that, however, may remove oils from your dog’s skin that keep the coat growing and healthy.
That said, individual dogs have different needs. Their bathing needs may change depending on the type of coat they have, how active and dirty they tend to get, and whether they have allergies or skin conditions.
For dogs who have skin allergies, pet owners need to consult their vet on the practice. Skin conditions need to be treated with care. Some conditions require less bathing while others need to be maintained with more frequent washing.
Of course, grooming has its own benefits, including brushing. Some people think that grooming ends with a good bath, but owners of dogs with thick coats understand that a good brushing every now and then will keep their fur shiny and tangle-free.
Believe it or not, getting your dog used to brushing may take some training. Start as soon as possible. When your dog learns to love brushing early on, you’ll have an easier time brushing their fur after a good bath.
Understanding How Dogs’ Skin Works
As a responsible pet owner, you need to supervise the use of shampoos. Some shampoos have harsh ingredients that can further affect the fatty layer of the skin and aggravate itching. Only use products that have been specified for dog use.
You need to consider that there are different types of fur and coats. Shampoos are sometimes formulated with these differences in mind. Always consult your vet before purchasing a shampoo for your dog.
How often do you wash your pet? How do you choose grooming essentials for them? Let us know in the comments below!