Rub-a-Dub… Snub? Survey Finds Pet Owners Aren’t Bathing Their Dogs Enough

How often should you give your dog a bath? Apparently, most pet parents aren’t bathing their dogs enough, according to a new survey.

Conducted by pet CBD company Honest Paws, the survey found that out of the 322 pet parents polled, 56% of them (over half) don’t bathe their dogs as much as they should.

So, how often should dog owners be giving their pups a bath? There is no straightforward answer. It depends on a variety of factors like:

  • Your dog’s skin conditions, if any
  • Activity level
  • Your dog’s coat type
  • Situational (i.e., your pooch romps around in mud one day, get skunked, or decides to roll in something disgusting)

“Dogs without dermatological abnormalities benefit from a bath a couple of times a year or when they get dirty,” Dr. Alison Diesel, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, told CVMBS News.

“However, dogs with skin problems often require more frequent bathing and sometimes benefit from specific kinds or medicated shampoos. If your dog has a skin problem, you should discuss bathing recommendations with your veterinarian.”

How to bathe a dog with skin conditions

dog is scratching because do dogs get allergies

It is common for certain dog breeds to come with dry skin, sensitive skin, or skin irritation and dermatitis as a result of seasonal allergies. Dog breeds prone to skin allergies include bully breeds, Labrador retrievers, dalmatians, standard poodles, spaniels, and Doberman pinchers.

Dogs with dermatological issues require special dog shampoo that addresses that skin concern. Talk to your veterinarian or veterinary dermatologist about what products to use on your dog at bath time.

Some prescription shampoos or over-the-counter, condition-specific, dog shampoos and conditioners require longer baths than normal. Read the instructions on the bottle carefully as some require you to leave the product on your dog’s coat for up to 15 minutes before rinsing.

But what if you have a dog who is difficult during bath time? How are you supposed to keep him still for all that time before rinsing a medicated shampoo?

You’re not alone. The study also found that 33% of pet parents experience the frustration of keeping their dog still and calm during a bath.

If your dog hates baths, read on for some useful strategies that can help your doggy get used to getting clean.

Alleviating your dog’s bathtime anxiety

If your dog hates baths, bring out the big guns. A basic treat or dog food might not quite cut it, so opt for something of higher value like boiled chicken or freeze-dried dog treats.

It helps to have another person there to feed them while you lather and wash. This way they can associate the act of getting washed with something positive and delicious.

If your dog needs regular bathing with one of those shampoos that require time on their skin before rinsing, bring out the peanut butter. Most dogs will stay still in the tub while licking it off a spoon, maze puzzle, or licky mat until it’s time to rinse.

Another great method to keep your dog occupied while you wait for the shampoo to do its work is to give them a treat dispenser. Drain the tub and let them nudge a treat puzzle around like the Planet Dog Snoop or Nina Ottosson Treat Tumbler.

And if your dog is scared of blow dryers, don’t force it. A towel-dry works just fine. Plus, some dogs simply love the good butt rub that comes with toweling off!

dog playing with treat dispensing ball toy
Nina Ottosson Treat Tumbler

Grooming long-haired breeds

A sheltie snuggles with a new Outward Hound Invincibles Minis.

If your dog has the type of coat that is long and prone to matting, brushing is just as important as bathing. Brushing prevents matting buildup, decreases shedding, and helps to distribute your furry friend’s natural oils throughout the coat.

Grooming with a dog brush is also a good way to check for any critters or flora that might have gotten caught in their hair. Without regular checks of your dog’s coat, dangerous ticks or foxtails could go unnoticed. This goes for dogs with double coats/undercoats like Akitas or Australian shepherds as well.

Some pet owners with long-haired breeds opt for a bathing schedule with a professional dog groomer. In addition to dog bathing, professional dog grooming also takes care of combing out mats, blow-drying, and clipping nails.

How often should you give your dog a bath?

dog in a tub. how often should you give your dog a bath

It depends. Beware of over-bathing — it is possible to bathe your dog too much. Giving your dog regular baths is all about balance.

If you give your dog too frequent baths, the consistent water exposure will strip their natural oils. Dogs need their natural oils to keep their skin and coat healthy and moisturized.

If your dog doesn’t pass the “sniff test,” but you think it’s too soon for another full bath, there’s always dry shampoo.

There are many doggie dry shampoos on the market that are gentle on your dog’s skin, keep their coat moisturized, and make them smell better without stripping any natural oils.

Do you have any tips for making bathtime less stressful for you and your pet? We’d love to hear it! Please share how you tackle bathtime in the comments.