How often should you wash your dog & do you need to use dog shampoo?

Dog shampoo or human shampoo? Once a week or once a year?

Many dog owners ask these questions: how often should dogs be washed? Do you need to use dog shampoo or is human shampoo OK?

This podcast gives a useful overview of this subject. To listen, click on the play button.

The answer to these questions, as so often is the case, needs to be given on an individual basis. For some dogs, washing only needs to be done once in a blue moon, for example if the animal rolls in something mucky. Other pets, such as long haired, non-shed type breeds, require regular grooming, including clipping and washing in dog shampoo. This may need to be done as often as every 2 months, and many owners use a professional groomer.

Most owners can make up their own minds about these questions, but if you’ve any doubt, ask your local vet. There are some individual cases –  e.g. dogs with skin disease – where bathing in dog shampoo may need to be done twice a week, or rarely even more often. Bathing can soothe itchy skin, and the most effective dog shampoos – sometimes only available from vets – can transform a smelly, greasy coat into shiny lustrous condition.

Dogs don’t always like being bathed, so it’s good to start with puppies. Give them a pleasant, short bath in warm water, rewarding them with treats and praise. Once they learn that it’s an enjoyable experience, they will stay still and it will be much easier for you. Towel drying is sufficient, but keep them in a warm room until they are fully dry, to avoid chilling.

Listen to the podcast:

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Please note that I am unable to answer veterinary questions in comments. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health it is always better to contact your vet.

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