Unfortunately the answer to this question is an indefinite, “it depends”.
A consistent myth we hear is that bathing is bad for your dogs skin. There are many possible sources for this myth. Possibly our canine friends started it after all those garden hose experiences, or more likely it developed quite genuinely because that used to be the case. Historically (30 years or more) if you bathed your dog, you did so with basic household/laundry detergents or shampoo from your own shower. Well I think we’d all agree that the laundry and household detergents are out, but many are surprised that “people shampoos” are a no no as well. You’d be forgiven for thinking that people shampoo would be a luxury indulgence and of a superior quality. Many pet parents believe the only difference between thier shampoo and their pets is the fragrance and possible inclusion of flea control, it’s more complicated than that. Human skin is slightly acidic compared to dogs neutral or slightly alkaline skin. Quality, modern day pet shampoos are formulated to maintain that chemical balance.
Actually dispelling the myth of washing your dog being bad is easy enough when you look at the benefits. Almost all skin complaints or ailments require regular bathing to soothe and / or treat. In fact just like you – pets should be bathed whenever they are dirty, smelly, greasy, or experiencing itchy or flaky skin. Puppies as early as 8 weeks can be bathed with age sensitive shampoos or kept clean with sponge baths. Just remember to dry thoroughly and keep them warm during and after the bath / cleaning process.
Tips for healthy bathing of your dog
- Choose a good quality dog shampoo. If possible choose one formulated specifically for your Dogs specific needs. Formulations are available for different hair types as well as specialist whitening shampoos. Sensitive formulations containing oatmeal and tearless also exist.
- Using lukewarm water ( besides being uncomfortable, cold water can lead to excessive drying of the skin), thoroughly soak your pet all over avoiding the inside of their ears as much as possible.
- When lathering avoid the eyes with the suds (unless using tearless shampoo) as the soap can damage their corneas.
- When rinsing be sure to thoroughly rinse still using lukewarm water and remove every last spec of soap. Incomplete rinsing and drying are a leading cause of hotspots for those prone.
- Thoroughly dry your dog all over, not forgetting things like armpits, groin, behind and around ears as well as thoroughly and gently drying their actual ears. Excess moisture in the ears can lead to ear infections and within their fur, hotspots.