How often should I bathe my dog?

How often should you wash your dog?

The answer to this question depends on your dog's coat type and lifestyle. If your dog spends a lot of time indoors and walks neatly on the paths in the park, then once every two months will suffice. If your dog loves to run through the woods and walk through the mud, you may need to bathe your dog once a week. On average, you can assume that you should bathe your dog about once a month.

Is it bad if you bathe your dog more often?

If you use a good dog shampoo and dilute the shampoo with water before using it (more on that in a moment), then it doesn't hurt to bathe your dog every week. The reason people with allergies are more likely to suffer from short-haired dogs is that people tend to bathe short-haired dogs much less often than their long-haired counterparts.

The danger is not so much that you wash your dog too often, but that you use way too much shampoo and conditioner.

Tips for washing your dog

Safety first

Some dogs get nervous when they hear the tap running or see you standing with the garden hose in hand: they know what that can mean. This also often (or perhaps especially) applies to dogs that actually lie in every puddle and jump into every ditch. Always use a leash or a rope so that your dog cannot escape (and hurt itself).

Make it a habit

First, choose a place where you want to wash your dog. Some people do it outside, with or without the help of a special dog bath, others in the shower and most do it in their own bath. Wherever you decide to do it, find one place and stick to it.

Start when your dog is still a puppy

Get your dog used to the entire bathing ritual early. Even if it is still a puppy. Show the dog that washing is great fun. Bring toys (and lots of snacks) with you and take your time, with lots of hugs in between.

Practice dry

Also practice commands such as 'sit' and 'stay' when you are not bathing your dog and are walking past your washing area (bath, shower, place in the garden).

Shower head/spray head on the garden hose

Practice with the shower head or spray head, as that makes it very easy to rinse all shampoo residue from the coat. If your dog doesn't like that or can't get used to it, get a plastic cup or container that you can use to pour water over your dog. That works fine too!

How to wash your dog?

Be prepared

Make sure you have everything ready before you start bathing your pet. So make sure you have a safety belt or leash, get the shampoo ready together with a sponge, a plastic cup or bowl for rinsing and a towel.

Not too much shampoo

Most importantly, don't use too much shampoo (or conditioner). Since shampoo and conditioner are quite thick, the substance will easily adhere to your dog's top coat. As a result, the shampoo won’t be evenly distributed over your dog's body. More importantly, the shampoo won’t reach your dog's undercoat. It is therefore very important to dilute the shampoo with water.


Wash your dog from back to front and then work your way down the sides. The first time you probably don't have all the spots clean, so wash your dog twice (use shampoo diluted with water).

Rinse well

It is very important that all shampoo residue is removed from your dog's coat. Leftover shampoo can irritate the skin, causing your dog to scratch and bite.

Dog shampoo

Use a special dog shampoo, otherwise it may irritate your dog's skin and coat. If your dog has sensitive skin, preferably choose a hypoallergenic shampoo, as this will cause the least irritation to the skin. If you really want to do it with human shampoo, use baby shampoo to minimize the chance of skin irritation.

Dog conditioner

Dogs with a medium or long coat are best washed with a shampoo that contains conditioner. Then you don't have to apply products to your dog three times and rinse everything three times. But you can, of course, also use a separate conditioner.

Tip: If you use a separate conditioner, dilute it with water, just like the shampoo.