Dogs naturally like to stay clean, but as we all know, they can be experts at attracting dirt. The question of how often to bathe your dog can get you all sorts of answers. There are those who say dogs never need to be bathed, others say to bathe the dog once a week, once a month and so on. There are no shortages of opinions on the matter. As a general rule, however, the rule of thumb is if your dog smells and his coat is dirty, go ahead and give him a bath. No one enjoys being around a dirty, smelly dog.

If your dog isn’t dirty or smelly, however, how often you bathe him or her depends largely on his lifestyle, habits, coat/hair and habitat. For instance, if you have an outdoor dog that who loves to play in the dirt, you'll need to bathe him more often. On the other hand, if your dog is an indoor dog that only goes outside to do his "business," you wouldn't need to bathe him nearly as often. A dog with a short, smooth coat, may need fewer washing than a dog with thick, shaggy hair.  

Before shampooing your dog, take a few minutes to brush them out.  This loosens the dirt off of their hair and can even prevent your dog from needing to be bathed for a while.  Brushing your dog at least twice a week stimulates the natural oils in your dog’s skin and spreads the oil throughout the dog’s coat making it shinier and healthier.

In general, it is recommended not to overbathe a dog or to bathe them unnecessarily as bathing can strip their hair/skin from their natural oils and be the cause of hotspots or skin irritations.  That being said, if you prefer washing your dog more often, go ahead, but choose a gentle or natural dog shampoo. You can also add a rinse of a cupful of apple cider vinegar to keep your dog's skin from drying out. 

Another good practice is to put your dog in their dog crate immediately after bathing them to prevent the dog from either getting the furniture wet or from rolling in the mud immediately after bathing. Now that your dog is clean, another good practice is to take that opportunity to rinse out your dog crate and dog house and to throw their dog bedding in to the washing machine. It can be easy to overlook this aspect of dog cleanliness, but by keeping his habitat clean, you keep help your dog stay cleaner for longer and keep his doggie gear smelling nice and looking good.