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How Often to Bathe Your Dog

I get this question quite a bit and it's no wonder. People want to know when their dogs need baths, but they don't necessarily want to give it to them. Especially if your dog has a problem with getting in the water, it can be a trying experience.

But, a bath is also a good thing for your dog. No dog likes being dirty, and unlike cats, they don't have the ability to reach tough spots and clean themselves every day. A dog can get dirty and stay that way, and when they're shedding, it's even worse.

So, what can you do as the owner to help relieve them of their discomfort and keep that coat nice and shiny fresh? There are a few factors to consider when trying to determine your dog's bath times and maintain your dog's health. Here are some simple tips.

   * Grooming - Grooming is separate from bathing. Make sure to comb or brush your dog at least once a week to remove any mats. Especially if your dog has long hair, you'll need to do this before bathing.

   * The Coat - The dog's coat is very important and can be a major factor in bathing. If you bathe your dog every day, you'll strip them of necessary oils and make them more uncomfortable.

Dogs with double or undercoats like cocker spaniels or Pekingese should be bathed about every 4-8 weeks. Dogs with silky coats like Yorkies or Lhasa Apsos should be bathed every 3-6 weeks.

Curly coats that don't shed should be bathed every 6-8 weeks and smooth coated dogs like Chihuahuas and Boston Terriers should be bathed once every 8 weeks or when dirty. These dogs need their oils to protect their skin, so don't over-bathe.

Finally, there are coarse, wiry haired dogs like Schnauzers and other Terriers who need baths every 4-6 weeks. If your dog is prone to dandruff though, you can up this to every 3 weeks or so.

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   * Your Dog's Habits - Of course, if your dog is a fan of rolling in mud and diving into puddles whenever he gets a chance, you may need to reconsider how often you wash him. If those oils are being removed by outdoor forces, there's no reason not to keep him clean.

If the dirt is minimal, it can usually be brushed out every other day with a comb. Dry products don't seem to help much and they can still strip oils of the coat - not a good thing for your dog.

   * Swimming - If your dog likes to hop in the family pool every now and then, they need a bath afterwards with mild shampoo. This goes for salt water as well, because both chlorine and salt water will cause damage to their coats, and they might try to lick it off.

   * Allergies - Finally, if you or anyone in your house is allergic to dogs, you may need to give them more frequent baths to keep the house clean and minimize the impact of hair on your household.

You'll want to use mild, weekly shampoos for this that will not harm your dog's coat but will remove all that unwanted dander that can build up over time and prevent dog skin disease problems.

It's amazing how much dirt can build up on your dog. But, the truth is that most dogs don't need to have baths nearly as often as we do. It is bad for them. You need to create a schedule that will help them combat their matted hair and dirty paws, but without causing them future health problems.

Take care and create a solid grooming schedule and your dog will remain happy and healthy for some time to come, and that pungent doggy aroma can be minimized in your home.

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