How often should you wash your dog?

It’s one of the age-old dilemmas facing doggy families: how often should I wash my dog? And how often is too often?

Sadly, there isn’t a single, definitive answer to this question. However, it is important not wash your dog too often.

“I don’t like washing dogs too frequently. I would recommend – unless they’ve got a skin condition – once every 4-6 weeks,” Sydney vet Dr Alison Moran, of Mona Vale Veterinary Hospital, tells Paws N’ All.

“Washing them with just water is fine though.”

Meanwhile another Sydney vet, Macarthur Veterinary Group, suggests that slightly more often may be ok.

“Our advice (based on the opinion of dermatology specialists) is that dogs should generally be bathed every 1-2 weeks in the warmer months and every 2-4 weeks over winter,” it says in a post on its website from January 2020.

“However, bathing less often is probably OK, so long as your dog has healthy skin.”

Why is there no single right answer?

A dog’s activities and where they live, walk and play will also determine how dirty they get and what possible allergens they are exposed to. This can include grass seeds, pollens, seawater, sap and mud – all of which may require bathing to remove.

Some people advise that a dog should be bathed only when it is dirty or smelly. However, bathing is important for more than just keeping the coat looking clean. Bathing will also remove potential allergens, dead hair and skin and excessive oil from the hair and skin. This reduces scratching and the risk of dermatitis. Shampoos can also help with the control of fleas.

Macarthur Veterinary Group

Many dogs also have skin conditions, which can make their skin more sensitive to soaps and shampoos.

And some dogs require special medicated shampoos, which like any prescription medication, will have a particular dosage that should be followed.

Ultimately though, if you’re unsure of how often you should wash your dog, speak with your vet: they will be able to give you advice specifically tailored to your dog’s health and circumstances.


Interview with Dr Alison Moran, Mona Vale Vet. 14 April 2020.

Macarthur Veterinary Group

American Kennel Club

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