How often should you wash your dog? Our top dog grooming tips

How often should you wash your dog? Our top dog grooming tips - Barking Heads & Meowing Heads

How often should you wash your dog? Our top dog grooming tips

Dogs love to get down and dirty - ever heard the phrase, ‘Mucky Pup?’ - but dog grooming advice can be a little confusing and overwhelming, especially to new owners. With so many doggy shampoos, scented sprays, comb types, dematting tools and so on, it can be hard to know the dos and dont's of dog grooming. 

Not to worry, we’re here to help! Here are our top tips on dog grooming from our team of doggy experts which should help you keep your pooch looking picture perfect and smelling fresh as a daisy!

How often should you wash your dog?

In short - not very often! 

Unlike people, dogs don’t need a shower every day, in fact too much showering with harsh shampoos and chemicals is likely to do more damage than good. Over washing your pooch can result in dry, sore, cracked skin that is incredibly itchy and irritated, leaving it more prone to infection. 

With that in mind, there are some factors that play a role in how often you should be washing your dog. 

  • Their day to day activity - are they muddy from a walk?
  • Do they smell?
  • The type and length of fur they have
  • Do they have any skin conditions or lice problems?

Obviously, dogs who spend lots of time outdoors getting muddy will require more showers than those who perhaps live in cities or spend more time indoors. There are special cases where dogs with skin conditions need lotions or washes which may need to be applied more frequently to treat the problem, but the rule of thumb tends to be to wash your dog once a month / once every six weeks. 

What should you use to wash your dog?

Make sure that whatever you’re using to wash your dog is made for dogs, and not humans! Our shampoos and conditioners may leave our locks silky smooth, and smelling fresh, but they are not suitable for our four-legged fluffy friends, and may make their skin dry, irritated and sore. 

Instead, stick to dog-specific shampoos and conditioners, which are much more gentle. If your dog has mucky paws after a walk, but are fine everywhere else, try to simply rinse their paws in the bath or shower with water, to get rid of any mud, and avoid doing a full body wash unnecessarily.

Please speak to your vet directly should your pooch have a skin condition that requires special treatment, and refrain from using anything heavily scented. 

Do you need to brush your dog?

Washing your dog is only the beginning. Dog grooming also covers brushing, which has a number of important benefits:

  • It gets rid of shedding fur, especially important in the warmer months
  • It keeps them knot free, which prevents fungal and bacterial infections forming in the moist conditions matted fur provides
  • Helps to get rid of ticks and grass seeds which can become painful if they work their way down to the skin
  • It conditions their fur by spreading their natural oils down from the root to the tip, keeping their coats in tip-top shape
  • It can also be relaxing, and a peaceful way to follow up bath time

Some dogs may find brushing quite stressful, so it’s important you create a calm, peaceful environment and use positive reinforcement so they associate grooming with good things like praise and treats. Try not to over do it with the treats though in order to maintain a healthy weight and balanced diet. Lots of ‘well dones’ and ‘good boy/girl’ with the odd treat should be enough! 

How to trim your dog’s fur

When it comes to getting your dog’s fur trimmed and styled, it’s typically best to leave it to the professionals. Depending on the breed of your dog, there is often a style of grooming that their coat can be cut to, which your groomer will know well. Not only are they trained to use the proper equipment, from trimmers and nail clippers, to hair dryers and scissors, they’re also used to handling dogs during what can be an overwhelming experience. 

Leaving it to a professional grooming service not only reduces the risk of any potential injuries to your pooch, but also minimises the chances of any mishaps when creating a specific style than with a do-it-yourself approach. 

As well as a fresh trim, your dog also comes back nice and clean, smelling lovely. Regular visits to the groomers every six to eight weeks could remove the need for you to wash your pooch at home all together, unless they’re the kind who love to roll about in the mud!

Barking Heads Journal

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