Whole Dog Journal's Blog November 1, 2017

Cleanliness is Doggyness

Posted at 03:39PM - Comments: (75)

A few months ago I was horrified to learn that my good friend (and frequent model for WDJ articles, Berkeley trainer Sandi Thompson) was giving a dog she has owned for five years the first bath he’s had since she rescued him – literally rescued him, as a volunteer during the historic floods in Thailand in 2011.

This summer, Sam had his first encounter with a good old American skunk, which prompted the bath (and cute photos), but I was incredulous: How can that possibly be his first bath in more than five years??

Sandi Thompson, Bravo!Pup Dog Training

I bathe my dogs at least three or four times a year. Before I lived close to a river, where my dogs swim almost daily in hot weather, I probably bathed them even more often. I like a clean, fresh smelling coat when I kiss my dogs, and I love the way a clean coat feels when I stroke them. When I feel I have to wash my hands immediately after petting a dog, either due to the funky aroma or a greasy, dirty residue left on my hands, that dog has to get bathed. I’ve bathed friends’ dogs for this reason!

This topic is on my mind right now because I’m fostering a mama hound dog and her seven puppies for one of my favorite breed rescue groups, the American Black & Tan Coonhound Rescue. She was recently “sprung” from a shelter by the group; she’s heartworm-positive, and delivered her pups in the shelter two weeks ago. The ABTCR will see to it that her puppies are vaccinated and neutered and adopted to qualified homes, and that she gets treated for her heartworm infection and placed in a very special home; she’s as sweet as any dog I’ve ever met, she just craves human affection. Which makes it even more bizarre to me that she’s so neglected: Her toenails are super long, she’s super thin, and, ugh, heartworms. And to top it all off, she reeks of the shelter, like any dog who has had to sleep on pee-soaked concrete. She needs a bath!

Mama hound who needs a bath (and nail trim)

But she’s also nursing, and anxious about her pups, so I haven’t yet whisked her off to either the bathtub or a groomer.  I’m leaning toward the groomer, because they will be far faster than me at shortening those thick, long nails, and are better equipped for a fast but thorough bath, with cross-ties and a waist-high tub.

I don’t think there is any reliable science regarding an optimal number of baths for dogs. The most you can get veterinarians to say is that if you give your dog too many baths, or fail to rinse all the soap out of the dog’s coat, you risk drying out his skin and worsening any sort of itch he might have.

I’ve never had a thick-coated dog, but I had a groomer tell me once that the worst mistake that people can make when bathing their thick-coated dogs is not drying the coat thoroughly enough. Dampness in the base of the coat can also start nasty skin conditions.

Back to Sam, who got his first bath in five years (and his pack-mate, Turtle the dog, who was thrown into the tub for good measure): Sandi says that she originally didn’t bathe Sam because of the trauma he suffered in the floods and the international air travel (to get him to the U.S. from Thailand), and then, the severe separation anxiety he displayed (the long story of how Sandi helped Sam recover fully from separation anxiety is harrowing but heart-warming). Sandi felt she had to protect Sam from any unnecessary stress, especially since he hates water. Fortunately, she says, his coat is pretty “self-cleaning” – dirt pretty much falls off of him and he doesn’t seem to ever smell – at least, until he met his first skunk.

Sandi Thompson, Bravo!Pup Dog Training

Fortunately, all the work Sandi invested in Sam’s recovery from separation anxiety have paid off; today, he is a confident, happy dog, fully able and actually preferring to stay home. He has even handled his first – and second – post-skunk-encounter baths in this country with aplomb, though of course Sandi hopes there aren’t many more of these on the horizon.

How often do you bathe your dogs? 

Comments (75)

When I had a standard poodle, I had to bathe him every eight weeks or whenever I had to clip him. Now I have a shiloh shepherd going on thirteen and she had about four baths in her lifetime. No, she doesn't smell bad. She gets good food and loves to go swimming. :-) My wirehair dachshund is going on four years and never had a bath. He loves to swim too. ;-)

Posted by: Sabine | November 9, 2017 11:44 AM    Report this comment

Good to hear the different ideas and views. The one thing that has been talked about by a few people, is the food that we feed our dogs is much more important than the bathing. Everyone has their own way of how they should bathe their dog, but we need to stop feeding our dogs any dry food or Kibble. The wet food is slightly better, but the best food is home cooking or organic raw food. It doesn't matter what you think the brand. Every bag of dog food has about 45 t0 50 teaspoons of sugar in the bag. That's what cancer feeds on. Stay on top of both their teeth, and making sure that their ears are clean. Love to every animal owner and animal lover.

Posted by: SenseiDennis | November 8, 2017 8:30 PM    Report this comment

I bathed my dog a few times when I first got her, and she just hated it - shook the whole time. She has a short, very smooth coat and doesn't stink. So when I need to, I wipe her down or spray with hose and occasionally use grooming wipes and that's all!

Posted by: maiziedog | November 6, 2017 4:47 PM    Report this comment

I have 3 dogs -- all GSD crosses. One, who has the typical GSD coat with the thick undercoat, gets bathed in the fall because she loves going in the ponds all summer and she gets very smelly! The other two also like the ponds, but lack the thick undercoat so are never bathed, except for spot cleaning when they roll in something disgusting, or get sprayed by a skunk.

Posted by: sharonh | November 6, 2017 3:43 PM    Report this comment

I have a Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix who is a Therapy Dog and she gets groomed once a month. She sheds like crazy so it is nice to get her back with that coat thinned, nails trimmed and smelling wonderful!

Posted by: sherrieswim | November 6, 2017 10:25 AM    Report this comment

My Golden loved to roll in dead things- frogs, fish, or animal feces. He got hosed down, a shampoo using a zoom groom to make sure the soap etc was out of his skin care is and a skin and coat conditioning rinse, twice a month in the summer, no blow dry and rarely in the winter.

Posted by: lclass003 | November 6, 2017 6:33 AM    Report this comment

My Golden loved to roll in dead things- frogs, fish, or animal feces. He got hosed down, a shampoo using a zoom groom to make sure the soap etc was out of his skin care is and a skin and coat conditioning rinse, twice a month in the summer, no blow dry and rarely in the winter.

Posted by: lclass003 | November 6, 2017 6:33 AM    Report this comment

My wheaten gets a bath every other month and a full groom three to four times a year. High maintenance breed but it's worth it to keep him comfortable and mat free.

Posted by: Monisa | November 5, 2017 9:22 PM    Report this comment

I am not a fan of bathing my dogs. I have always used a soft gummy rubber on my hound's and they are really pretty clean and have unbelievably shiny coats....they lose that shine somewhat after a bath. That always worked well for them. Now, though, I have an English Cocker whom I bathe about every 6 to 8 weeks just because her slightly longer coat (which I keep trimmed short and thinned) tends to pick up dirt. Frankly, I don't think it is good for their ski to be bathed often.

Posted by: Mel Blacke | November 5, 2017 6:31 PM    Report this comment

We have 5 German Shepherds; they are raw fed, 3 are vaccine free, only 1 has received sponge bath due to encounter with a skunk. Ages 14, 13, 11, 11 and 5 - no baths, no smell due to wild game raw diet year round.

Posted by: K9Baron | November 5, 2017 4:17 PM    Report this comment

I give my dog, a Golden Retriever, frequent baths--usually weekly. Why? He is a registered therapy dog and our program requires a bath within 24 hours of a volunteer visit.
His skin is not dry and he has no dandruff. In fact, we often get comments about how good he smells and how soft his hair is. In my opinion, the key is not in the frequency of bathing but in the type of product used. I use a homemade combination of about eight ingredients including aloe Vera juice, liquid soap and witch hazel which has worked beautifully for us for the last five years.

Posted by: dlforst | November 5, 2017 3:01 PM    Report this comment

I have 4 dogs, 2 of which are currently Therapy Dogs (meaning we go together to hospitals and critical care rehabs as well as libraries to visit folks and offer comfort), 1 is a puppy and 1 is an older girl who prefers to be at home. The therapy certified dogs get bathed every 4-6 weeks and the oldster every quarter. I think the most important thing is the type of shampoo you choose. I purchase a high quality oatmeal shampoo that states that you can use it "daily if needed". Always rinse and dry their coat really well. Even my puppy has learned to enjoy his bath because I work hard to make bathing fast and fun. We put on music sometimes and I am always in the shower with them so that they aren't trying to "jump out to me". I suggest getting a pair of shower shoes and an old bathing suit to make the bath easier on the human. Premix the shampoo with warm water in a sports drinking type bottle so that it really lathers quickly and you can use far less shampoo. This makes rinsing faster and easier too.

Posted by: TherapyMom | November 5, 2017 2:34 PM    Report this comment

We have two rescuees, and the larger one hardly ever smells and seems to have a dirt repellant coat. So she gets a bath about once a quarter (more, if she rolls in something or she's been playing in a lake). The smaller one, however, stinks to high heaven after just two or three weeks. I mean her coat REALLY smells, even though she's a short hair mix of something and a high shedder. So we bathe her much more frequently, generally at least every other month, which is more than we've bathed any other dog. She seems to enjoy it, and licks/scratches much less when she's clean. The frequent washing hasn't made her skin dry or unhealthy. In fact, in the five years we've had her we've learned that one of the 'tells' that she needs a bath is when she starts scratching, which always occurs when she's smelliest.

Posted by: TrekkerChick | November 5, 2017 1:40 PM    Report this comment

I forgot to add that they are seven years old!

Posted by: bublynski | November 5, 2017 1:24 PM    Report this comment

I gave up bathing dogs when the spot of flea/tick preventative came in. Before that the dogs got baths regularly as they needed flea/tick wash. (I tried the 'collars' once, and the whole family got serious headaches from them.) If they've been to the beach they will get a hose down, and if they are going somewhere where they 'must' be bathed, they get a chamois down with a drop of tea-tree oil in the water.
Dogs generally do not need baths -- not good for their skin.

Posted by: Jenny H | November 5, 2017 1:19 PM    Report this comment

I find a need to seasonally open the canine salon for a refresh on all 3 of mine; with the occasional extra bath in the event of run-ins with various foulness not appropriate for house-living. My border collies rarely develop a rank smell without assistance of excess river time (in algae dense areas especially), cow pies or sheep droppings. However, my short coated collie, who neither swims nor rolls (his choice!), has allergies and when I see his eyes get even a little runny, soon after, his skin gives off a ripe stink. A bath will rid the stink for a week, maybe 2, but paying close attention to his dietary intake and making sure he’s not sneaking in allergens (i.e, he can’t snack on those cow pies or sheep droppings the others roll in) is most effective.

Posted by: The Collie Crew | November 5, 2017 12:56 PM    Report this comment

I live with 3 rough and tumble double coated white dogs in red clay country. The clay sticks. Big time. Even with brushing. If the weather is nice enough for them to go on their run lines for a bit, one or two will usually roll. I try to ignore the orange tinge for a while but. . . There comes a point of my not even wanting to pet the orange dog, much less let him sit on my lap. That's when it's bath time. It might be a week since his last bath, a month or more but when running your hand on the floor brings up less dirt than petting your dog does, it's time for a bath.

Posted by: Cindie M | November 5, 2017 12:48 PM    Report this comment

My 3 dogs never get a real bath unless they roll in a dead animal body, bird poop or mud - which is seldom. Two are short hair & one is medium hair. I’ve practiced this with all my dogs over many years. The rain takes care of exterior dirt & they never seem to be dirty. And they have seldom needed flea meds. Only this past year have they needed tick preventative. So 6 previous dogs plus the 3 I have now without much bathing has never been an issue. But none of the dogs were hounds or retrievers or those types that seem to have more of an odor.

Posted by: Multi-K9 | November 5, 2017 12:38 PM    Report this comment

While a human may bathe daily, I'm not convinced that dogs need to be bathed on a particular schedule. Seems to me that the frequency of baths should depend on the dog and the situation/living conditions....not because the human doesn't like the "doggy smell" or thinks the dog should be bathed frequently....just because.

Posted by: bgarbarino | November 5, 2017 12:35 PM    Report this comment

We have two short-haired littermates (born at our house to a foster dog), and they've never been bathed. They have beautiful coats, never smell, and rarely shed. They are on a whole foods, home-cooked diet.

On the other hand, 10 years ago we had a dog who loved to swim in the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries and got herself FILTHY - she had to be bathed every couple of weeks.

Posted by: bublynski | November 5, 2017 12:33 PM    Report this comment

I have had golden retrievers for the last 20 years and I only bathe them if they roll in something nasty (i.e. dead and decaying fish). They are on the raw diet and have a wonderful life in the mountains with a lot of hikes and summertime swimming in the alpine lakes. I firmly believe food and lifestyle have a huge impact on the condition of their coats. My 13.5 year old Harley, who left us last year, probably only had 3 baths in his life and he had a wonderful sweet smelling coat.

Posted by: truckeetree | November 5, 2017 12:08 PM    Report this comment

I rarely bathe my dogs. My 12 year old very-tight-coated pointer?x was bathed for the second time about 6 months ago. The other 3 have had only 5-6 baths in their entire lives, and they are 16, 10 and 8, all guesstimates except the 10 year old. They did get bathed a few times when first adopted to get rid of that kennel smell except for the pointer, and actually the 16 year old had a series of oatmeal baths when first adopted because she was completely bald from allergies. I fed her a raw diet and she grew a beautiful lush coat. I do rinse and use baby wipes on their feet. They do not smell and neither does my house.

Posted by: kimfatty | November 5, 2017 12:08 PM    Report this comment

I show my Gordon Setter occasionally. During those times he’s bathed and blown dry weekly. Otherwise, once a month either outside or at the local pet supply store but always blown dry. I use a unique shampoo and conditioner that gets worked into the coat then rinsed at the end. It prevents his feathering from tangling.

Posted by: Jani | November 5, 2017 11:43 AM    Report this comment

I used to show smooth coat Dachshunds. They only got baths before a dog show. They stayed very clean by themselves. I now have Papillons with an occasional Pom. Since I was in Florida at that time with the Pom I trimmed his hair shorter as he was a rescue from up north and couldn't take the heat. He got maybe 3 baths in the 3 1/2 years he lived. I bathe the Paps maybe every 2 or 3 months. I normally always bathe a rescue when it comes in as it's generally needed. Then I bathe them before they go a forever home so they start their new life smelling clean and nice.

Posted by: pap luv | November 5, 2017 11:36 AM    Report this comment

Our dogs are 25 lbs, short haired. I bath them about once a month, sometimes more often. They sleep on our bed, sometimes under the covers. I just want to remind people to examine their dog’s teeth. My vet is convinced that good, white teeth play a big part in longevity. I use an electric tooth brush for 2 mins a day because my dogs teeth don’t self clean. I started with a baby battery run toothbrush and poultry flavored paste. Once that was accepted I introduced new brushes on my own electric base. They don’t mind at all.

Posted by: jd-s | November 5, 2017 11:31 AM    Report this comment

My senior Westie (15 years stubborn) gets a bath ever 3 days or less. Otherwise his persistent skin condition not only makes him smell like mildewed fungus, but his itching increases and he develops skin infections. We bathe him with a human Tea Tree oil shampoo, apply tea tree oil conditioner and rinse with chlorhexidine. We have always bathed him at least once a week and although he does not love baths, he is resigned to his fate. He seems to understand that the baths help him because if we go longer he will roll in something foul and force the issue (mind you if he happens upon something foul he will do his best to coat himself liberally even if he just had a bath) .

Our border collie LOVES baths, but we bathe her about every two weeks. She never smells, her fur is dense and even if she gets muddy it just seems to fall off of her. During the summer if she had her way she would swim in her kiddie pool daily.

To my way of thinking, there is no hard and fast rule for dogs. With the variety of fur, skin, dog size, lifestyle, weather conditions, etc., how can there be a hard rule. But, if your dog stinks, wash your dog. If your dog's fur feels nasty, wash your dog.

The most important thing is to use warm water like you would for yourself - none of this wash the dog with a garden hose nonsense. Use a mild soap without much fragrance and rinse thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly - feel the coat with your hands to make sure no soap remains. Use a conditioner to help with coat and skin and if your dog is prone to skin irritation, use a final rinse of chlorhexidine.

Posted by: dogs%26c@s | November 5, 2017 11:28 AM    Report this comment

We rescued a miniature short-haired dachshund in January, and she has had one bath since then. Her coat is amazing, almost like an otter. She just doesn't seem to get dirty, and she really doesn't have much opportunity to do so because she's always on leash when outdoors. I'm considering giving her another bath, because I feel that I should. Haha!

Posted by: Auntpie | November 5, 2017 11:21 AM    Report this comment

We have 4 long coat chi’s & a pit bull. They go to the groomer weekly & their coats are gorgeous & silky. I don’t understand the reasoning behind “too many” baths... I shower daily...

Posted by: ChiMama | November 5, 2017 11:14 AM    Report this comment

My 8 year old Samoyed brother and sister always smell great. They have had about 4 baths. They didn’t really need the baths but I thought I was neglectful so I bathed them. Thanks to everyone’s posts - now I know my occasional brushing is enough.

Posted by: Rescued Samoyeds Mama | November 5, 2017 11:04 AM    Report this comment

My border collie-husky cross gets bathed every 3 weeks. He has long, fine hair that attracts and holds dirt and smells. He also runs around in muddy fields every morning. Luckily, he thoroughly enjoys his baths and the subsequent blow-drying keeps shedding under control. My Pembroke Corgi, on the other hand, had the weather proof coat of her breed. She could be covered in mud, then be totally clean an hour later. She gets a bath whenever the doggie smell builds up and becomes noticeable indoors, about every 8-10 weeks.

Posted by: Bluetree | November 4, 2017 11:07 PM    Report this comment

I've been a Belgian Shepherd owner for 19 years. Their coats don't retain typical offensive dog smell and I love walking into the house and smelling nothing. This breed's double coat helps repel dirt. So I'll take fluffy tufts of longer hair over required baths any day.

Posted by: Annab | November 3, 2017 3:11 PM    Report this comment

I do not bathe my dogs, I stopped doing so years ago. The only dog I have needed to bathe in recent years was a diabetic dog and she was a magnet for fleas. I have found that healthy dogs who do not live in sooty cities do not need bathing -- their coats stay fresh and clean-smelling without bathing, just like healthy humans theoretically do not need to bathe. If your dog gets skunked, there is a no-bath solution: Confine your dog in a room with open bowls of white vinegar set around the room, and leave your dog overnight. In the morning you can still smell a faint odor of skunk if you put your nose right into your dog's fur, but otherwise skunkiness is gone. If you feel you must bathe the dog, do so with white vinegar (forget that idiotic tomato juice routine).

Posted by: Dogtowner | November 3, 2017 2:26 PM    Report this comment

I love and live w/ a 12yr young Chihuahua, who has been the recipient of a bathe 6 times her whole life. They were due to her rolling in something nasty. I trim her nails, clean her eyes and ears periodically and am constantly petting and combing her. She smells wonderful and every chance I get I snuggle and sniff her(often!). She even sleeps w/ us. Have never notice any offensive smell, other than the aforementioned rolls. Maybe it helps she eats a predominately raw & home cooked diet?

Posted by: Sarah | November 3, 2017 10:28 AM    Report this comment

Coat not costs

Posted by: chrisdame | November 3, 2017 9:20 AM    Report this comment

Just to add they are short cost rotts and 3 quarter rotts.

Posted by: chrisdame | November 3, 2017 9:20 AM    Report this comment

I bath my 7 dogs every 3 or 4 weeks. I usually give them a very diluted amitraz bath. They all have shiny coats.

Posted by: chrisdame | November 3, 2017 9:18 AM    Report this comment

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Posted by: elizabethwmcglone | November 3, 2017 9:11 AM    Report this comment

I rescued/fostered/adopted a tiny Maltese male who was dirty, matted, eaten up with fleas. They shaved him at the Shelter which really irritated his skin even more than it had been. I rubbed him down with coconut oil, massaged it in and rubbed gently with a towel. I didn't give him a bath until his skin was healed and hair had begun to grow out. He is on a grain free diet which I prepare myself. Once his skin was healed, I gave him a bath - he gets one now as needed. He has healthy skin and a beautiful coat which I keep in a puppy cut. I groom him myself and he is a happy little fella. There is no bath schedule but he does love his bath. We live in Florida and during the summer he will run to the tub when he wants a bath.

Posted by: Casper'sMom | November 3, 2017 8:13 AM    Report this comment

I have a Maltipoo. He gets a bath twice per week, usually after he’s been to doggy day care where he gets very stinky. He gets a full groom every 4 weeks. I use conditioning shampoo and conditioner and spray leave in tea tree oil conditioner and mink oil. I have a pet dryer and completely dry his hair after a bath. I also give him a little freshen with deodorizing spray between bath, and brush his teeth and clean his ears and eyes and brush his fur. He does not have any skin problems.

Posted by: Vivcioffi | November 3, 2017 7:44 AM    Report this comment

My two Malt-Tzu pups have been bathed once a week their either lives. They see the groomer every 4 weeks. Our vet insists on the weekly baths.

Posted by: muriel33 | November 3, 2017 3:58 AM    Report this comment

I have washed my dogs weekly for 30 years. Partially because of my allergies, however I do love the soft feel of their clean hair. They get hand made diets, have beautiful skin, live indoors and love showering with Mom. I do not blow dry. I used to blow dry. They swim 6 months a year 5 times a day in a pool. I realized that if I didn't blow dry them after swimming it was silly to do it after a shower. My patients also always love to pet them because they are sooo clean and soft. They like that, too.

Posted by: Juliepurple | November 3, 2017 1:19 AM    Report this comment

I have a rescued full bred golden retriever. She’s 7.5 and has been a therapy dog since she was 2. That said she has to be bathed before her therapy visits
She gets bathed every 7-10 days. I use a groomer grade hydrating shampoo. It’s diluted and lathers well and rinses beautifully.

Posted by: yellowrose3502 | November 2, 2017 8:44 PM    Report this comment

I have 2 Border Terriers - ages 4 yrs and 3 yrs - with fabulous harsh double coats and must admit they almost never receive baths. About every 9 weeks, they are hand stripped by a professional groomer who 'rolls' their coats and I provide brushing with a terrier pad at least weekly and sometimes a quick 'go-over' with a stripping knife. The female has been bathed once (!) after she rolled in fox poo (the worst), and wades into a lake once or twice each summer. The male has plunged into a small wading pool during the summer and possibly once or twice into a lake, but has never had an official bath. Neither dog has an odor, unless a possible whiff of sage or grass after a hike. My groomer pronounces them 'self cleaning' - I completely agree - and they sleep in this humans bed.

Posted by: flatiron.views | November 2, 2017 4:13 PM    Report this comment

I have a labradoodle and a goldendoodle who get groomed every 6 weeks. In between I clean their paws and ears and brush daily. My previous dog, a cattle heeler/airdale mix, got bathed every two weeks and brushed twice daily, to keep the doggy smell at bay and save my house from his excessive shedding. I think my dogs would have agreed our grooming and bathing sessions gave us quality time together.

Posted by: drlucy | November 2, 2017 3:38 PM    Report this comment

Everyone, everything, every event is unique and requires thought and attention and love. My German Shepherd female, ("Lady") born 4 years ago in Germany, has such a beautiful coat that she has received dozens if not over a hundred "such a beautiful dog" comments in Eureka, San Francisco, Marin, Palm Springs, etc. We live off the grid under very tall tan oaks, douglas firs, madrone, and bay trees on 45 acres on the side of a hill here in Southern Humboldt California where she treds on duff, doesn't run through much pulverized dirt, indulges a periodic beach run, splashes through fresh water streams on rare occasions --- she is dignified and a legally qualified and medically needed service dog I trained myself. I have washed her only once, due to an inevitable encounter with a skunk. All she needed was one encounter to figure out a skunk must be avoided. She sleeps wherever she likes having lately shared our bed as her best spot. I brush her out usually at least once or sometimes twice a week. And I have to throw this in: she is bond based educated (training should be thrown out of the lexicon for how to relate to dogs. Eventually "dog educators" will abhor the "dog trainer" moniker.

Posted by: herbivore | November 2, 2017 3:25 PM    Report this comment

I have not dealt with a long-coated dog's grooming since I was a child. As an adult we had a short-coat chihuahua who was under constant attack from fleas and often got weekly baths to slow down the fleas long enough to kill all of the ones on his skin at the time.
Next we had a mixed breed dog (boxer?, beagle?, etc.) for 12 years and only bathed him for conformation showing with the Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America (maybe 5 times in his life). He always smelled like his diet. When we first got him, he smelled like corn chips (must have been eating corned-based dog food) and later usually smelled a bit like cooked chicken. Dirt rarely stuck to his coat. We was a continual shedder and I used a shedding blade on him regularly to keep the undercoat from filling the house, but did not need to bathe him.
Then we had our border collie/Australian cattle dog mix for almost eight years after adopting him when he was 5 or 6. He occasionally shoulder-rolled in elk droppings and earned a shoulder washing with baking soda, dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. He never seemed dirty enough to need a full bath so we never gave him one. His coat was such that most filth did not stick to him and he never felt oily or smelled bad. I brushed him regularly and toweled him off after rainy hikes. His skin and fur always seemed healthy. Even in his last days, people commented that his coat was still nice.
Our new Australian cattle dog has almost no undercoat (he is only 1 year old so maybe it will develop later?) and dirt comes right off of him with a towel just like his predecessor. One of the kennel workers at the shelter we got him from told us that she gave him a bath and he loved it, so maybe we'll do it just for fun eventually.
I hate petting a dog and having oil and stink on my hands afterwards, so some dogs do need baths (or a better diet?). Dogs who don't feel and smell clean don't get to enjoy as much petting, hugs, and back rubs, as clean dogs.

Posted by: Isaac's Mom | November 2, 2017 3:13 PM    Report this comment

My 8 yr. old Irish setter lives in a city, but runs off-leash in grassy parks several times a week. She likes to roll on grass and leaves, plus her long fringe is a magnet for stickers and twigs most of which I comb or brush out as noticed. She gets a no-shampoo micro-bubble bath every three or four months at a groomer. Recently, she soiled herself during a dental (never happened before, so I’m wondering if the new vet or his assistants used some especially traumatic methods on my timid, sensitive girl), so she needed a shampoo bath as well as the micro-bubbles. She’s my second setter. I’ve read and been told by breeders they shouldn’t be bathed more than 3-4 times a year to prevent dry skin and dull coats. She’s on a raw diet and gets a daily salmon oil supplement. People stop me to compliment her shiny coat.

Posted by: califgrl | November 2, 2017 2:34 PM    Report this comment

My Lab/Staffie mix (Mea) has had 1 bath in 2 years.
Living in FLA., we go to dog beach at least once a week.
After getting salty and sandy, she gets hosed off and brushed, and has a beautiful (not just my opinion) glossy coat. She never stinks, scratches, or chews herself!

Posted by: wolfie59 | November 2, 2017 2:20 PM    Report this comment

I got my Golden, Zeke, in May 2016. He was groomed when he arrived in the US from Turkey at 9 months of age. I waited 1year before I bathed him. I made sure he was completely dry. He does not have an odor (except when wet from the rain). My previous Golden Retrievers were bathed twice a year at most. The dog(s) are brushed on a regular basis and have no skin issues. Zeke is fed a good food and this helps keep his coat in good condition.

Posted by: GreatGoldens | November 2, 2017 2:16 PM    Report this comment

Our nearly 11 year old Beagle, Madison, is a Pet Partner registered, and Therapy Partner certified Therapy dog and has been for 9 years. A requirement is that they be bathed within 24 hours of a visit. Madison visits "her people" every two weeks, so has been bathed every 2 weeks for all those 9 years. We use a gentle oatmeal honey shampoo and she has a velvety soft coat that everyone loves to pet. She's never had any skin issues with this frequency of bathing... I think we're fortunate.... I think that dog's skin issues vary with breed, shampoo, etc.

Posted by: Patricia193 | November 2, 2017 1:50 PM    Report this comment

I have had poodle mixes. Go to groomer about every 6 weeks. I bathe(d) them or spot clean in between as needed.

One(RIP) had no doggie smell but had a habit of rolling in gross smelly things. She loved water and baths.

The other has mild doggie smell that becomes more noticeable a week or more after a bath. But she generally stays clean except for her paws and rectal area. The hair around her rectum grows quickly between groomings, and tends to get soiled, so I give frequent "butt washes". She hates them. She also tends to have itchy skin so gets an occasional bath when I notice her excessively licking or scratching. She really hates water. I have to work hard to reduce her stress.

Posted by: Artiemd | November 2, 2017 1:38 PM    Report this comment

We have bathed our dogs after they’ve swum in a pond or lake or gotten dirty by rolling in something disgusting, given themselves a dirt bath like chickens or birds do, or otherwise needed a full bath. That said, we generally give them frequent thorough brushings followed by a good scrub with a facecloth wetted with a bathroom sink full of warm water and a little bit of dog shampoo, and then go over their coat again with clear water. Then we dry them off with towels and brush them again. Their coats are shiny and softish (they are Rotties) and they smell great and feel wonderful. So, we bathe them when they need it and otherwise scrub them down without giving them a full bath. They’re never smelly and they’ve never had any skin issues, and they’re very healthy.

Posted by: Penny'sMom | November 2, 2017 1:26 PM    Report this comment

My Schnauzer was 6 months old when he moved in with us..That was 9 years 3 months ago...He has met skunks 2 times..He has had 2 baths.. He is brushed/combed before each walk (2 per day). His beard is cleaned after every meal & combed out before bedtime..His legs , if dirty, get cleaned with a waterless shampoo on occasion along with his heavy groom every 2 weeks...He has never had "Doggy-Odor"..

Posted by: nauzerman | November 2, 2017 1:11 PM    Report this comment

I have Australian Shepherds and i groom them about every six weeks. I blow out the under coat so they dont shed as much. I use a good QUALITY natural shampoo. I also have a poodle mix and he has to be groomed at least once a month - his fur will knot up and be a mess if I don't groom him frequently. He also loves to play and seems to love to find every muddy possible spot he can. He cleans up ok but again- he has to be groomed once a month. They are dried completely because i do not use my clippers on a dirty coat as it definitely much harder on the clippers and blades and scissors.
They have no problem with it. They get no skin conditions but I also feed them good with a lot of raw - their coats are wonderful!

Posted by: Dittoditto2 | November 2, 2017 12:23 PM    Report this comment

I have a smooth collie who was bathed once when he was a puppy but hasn't been bathed again since. He's five now. He doesn't smell bad, never rolls in anything, and doesn't have an oily coat, so I don't find that he needs a bath. I don't think it is as shocking a situation as your piece makes it sound (which unfortunately does come across as quite judgmental) since different dogs have their own individual needs. My older chow/shepherd mix loved to roll in things, so she got baths much often, but not on any type of set schedule.

Posted by: thenenes | November 2, 2017 12:10 PM    Report this comment

I have a kennel of alaskan huskies that live outdoors - their short dense coat sheds water like a duck because of the high protein/high fat content food they eat - bathing them takes the oil out of their coat and leaves them unprotected from water and dirt - the only time I notice an offensive odor from them is if one is unwell - one of my old huskies had retired to living in the house with us and one day he came in covered in mud and dirt from digging - after brushing him off, I bathed the 15 year old dog for the first time in his life - I was very surprised that there was less of a bathtub ring after bathing him than what was left after bathing our frequently bathed house dog -

Posted by: Al Magaw | November 2, 2017 12:05 PM    Report this comment

Depends if dog has people hair that grows (poods, shih tzus, maltese, etc.) or a coat that sheds (hounds, sporting dogs, herding, working breeds...). My "people hair" dogs are bathed at least 1x/mo. My sheltie never needed a bath, as he had a teflon coat - dirt slid right off - and hated to step in puddles or dirty stuff. My springers were bathed prob. every 2 mo., depending how much swimming and field work they were doing. I find scent hounds to have, along with the sweetest dispositions, the greasiest and generally smelliest coats. Prob some dry shampoo type products would work for them on a maintenance basis. I'm a groomer, and dogs with hair are our bread and butter.

Posted by: Specie | November 2, 2017 11:56 AM    Report this comment

I have had all kinds of dogs with different types of coats and I find it really depends on the dog and circumstances. My Weimaraner had an easy maintanence coat but she loved to roll in anything stinky at any opportunity, and she never did learn to avoid the skunks no matter how many times she got sprayed. Her prey drive would always win over her considerable street smarts. She was bathed as often as everyday or as little as every few months (the exception). My Dane has a similar coat and is not a roller and rarely gets dirty. He gets a bath every few months when it gets to the point of having to wash your hands after lovin' him up. My Guatemalan street rescue, some border collie mix, has the type of self cleaning coat that always looks great, so she only gets bathed every few months as well. When I lived in an urban environment, my dogs would rarely get dirty and rarely need baths. I grew up with a huge majestic white German Shepard and I don't recall ever giving him a bath. Outside of the urban areas, country livin' can change the senario quite a bit.

Posted by: tmatt | November 2, 2017 11:55 AM    Report this comment

My RIP pups:
Gracie Anne, an ACD, was self cleaning. She never smelled doggy, so at most she got 1, maybe two baths if she got particularily dirty. Even if she went a year without bath, I loved the smell of her.
Murphy, mini schnauzer, little smell but his coat would get greasy looking after awhile, so maybe 2 to 3 baths a year.
Buiscuit, a Golden, when he got smelly or dirty, maybe 3 to 4 baths a year.
All got regular brushing 3 to 4 times a week.
Leya, the current princess/terrorist, an unknown terrier mix, probably 3 to 4 baths a year with lots of brushing in between. Her coat ranges from longish to short. Weird coat, can brush it into a Mohawk style from head to tail, and it's mostly very coarse. She does not like getting wet. Her feet never have even touched a puddle, though she does go (reluctantly) on dew-y grass.

Posted by: 3grrrs | November 2, 2017 11:46 AM    Report this comment

I raw feed my two dogs so they rarely need a bath. The mini poodle goes to the groomer about every 5 or 6 weeks so she gets a bath then. The Irish Hunt Terrier has a slick coat and she has gotten 1 bath this year. She is 18 months old and I guess she has gotten 3 baths total. Of course, if either got in the mud or smelled really bad I would bath them but usually if they get a doggy smell I just spray some coat conditioner or something like that on them.

Posted by: jkmasters98 | November 2, 2017 11:33 AM    Report this comment

I wash our buff color Golden Retriever in the shower stall every 6 weeks. He walks in. I washed my neighbor's rescue dog when I sat for him because he had skin problems. I was told he no longer needed his meds but not sure if his owner bathes him. My dog does't need to have his nails clipped because I walk him an hour a day so his nails are filed on the sidewalk, street or walkways.

Posted by: ptanabe | November 2, 2017 11:28 AM    Report this comment

I bathe my two dogs once a month in the summer. I have a chihuahua and a pit/Sheppard. Dogs smell and need regular baths. In the winter I bathe the little one in the washer of course I don’t let in agitate but it’s a great one shot clean for the dog and me I shampoo n rinse while machine is filling. I then take dog out and empty wipe out with cleaner put on rinse and drop the mike dog is clean n so is machine

Posted by: Nativeone | November 2, 2017 11:25 AM    Report this comment

Wow, this all surprises me! I think the need for bathing will depend on the breed (oily coat etc) and the lifestyle (swimming in muddy river, rolling in disgusting things etc) but with the exception of when my Dobe/Rotti met a skunk, I have literally never bathed my dogs (Shephard/Husky X, Treeing Walker Coonhound X, Blue Tick Coonhounds). I find them completely self-cleaning with only the occasional quick brush (more brushing if thicker coat) and they have a lovely mild, healthy smelling but not pungent odor. I do bathe my recently acquired Chinese Crested (not Powderpuff) fairly often due to her different needs though.

Posted by: lmh | November 2, 2017 11:24 AM    Report this comment

Its really important to get dogs used to getting baths at a young age . I really think dogs should be bathed around every 6 wks... to get nails trimmed.. ears checked .. anal glands managed. This regular care helps keeps them stay happy and healthy and also helps manage any skin issues that might arise ....before they get to be a big problem.

Posted by: GRlady | November 2, 2017 11:20 AM    Report this comment

I bathe my GSD Gracie in the summer about twice a month, because she is itchier with allergies. The soothing shampoo makes her feel better. She is clean in the winter, in the snow, and I rub her down in it every day.
I don't want her skin to dry out and I worry about too many baths having that drying effect. So less bathing and a tablespoon of coconut oil plus Vit.E every day!

Posted by: LoveGSDs | November 2, 2017 11:07 AM    Report this comment

Dog baths over the years:

RIP Dogs:
"Fluffy Corgi:" went to groomer for everything, about every 3 months.
Shepherd/Lab mix: bathed her at home when she got greasy/doggy smelly (about 4-5 times a year)

Current dogs:
Border Collie/sheltie mix: about twice a year, when she looks dirty. She does not smell doggyish at all; her fur is actually kind of sweet-smelling. Her coat needs a lot of brushing to avoid mats and get the ticks out. Just bought a dremel for the nails, which I have to teach her and her rescue brother (below) to enjoy.

American Bulldog: smells like doggy corn chips almost right after his bath! We've been bathing him with Burt's Bees gentle dog shampoo about once a month from the outside rain barrel, as I bring him to work regularly and don't want the place to get too doggystinky. We will have to wrangle him into the tub for this pre-Thanksgiving bath.

Posted by: Janice Z | November 2, 2017 11:03 AM    Report this comment

Exhibitor of corgis here. Dogs that are being shown are bathed at least weekly, sometimes daily. Retirees or puppies or others not showing at least monthly. I, too, like fresh smelling and clean feeling coats and there's no better way to get dead coat out than with a bath and a forced air dryer. Puppies learn the bath/blow routine starting at 6 or so weeks. Done with skill, with quality shampoo and conditioner, and well WELL rinsed, and blown completely dry, no harm will come to the skin.

Posted by: imacorgimim | November 2, 2017 10:56 AM    Report this comment

It's probably been a couple of years since I bathed my dog, a short haired pit mix. It's difficult due to medical issues on my part so I'm not inclined to get him in the tub unless I have to. I have done spot cleaning when he has been walking in the rain and gets mud on his legs and belly. He doesn't get that doggy smell.

Posted by: DebbieJRT | November 2, 2017 10:52 AM    Report this comment

I bathe Tango (he is 50% American Foxhound & 50% Border Collie, but looks more like Foxhound) at least 4 times a year as standard practice. Of course any type of rolling around in something might cause more baths but usually not. He actually gets more smelly from the dogs he plays with at the park. Tango usually does not smell on his own but some of the other dogs stink!

Posted by: TangoEliott | November 2, 2017 10:43 AM    Report this comment

I have Samoyeds and during summer or she'd at least once a month, in winter only if they find mud under the snow. Otherwise I use dry shampoo and smell good coat spray...

Posted by: Amberjay61 | November 2, 2017 10:42 AM    Report this comment

Once every couple months or if he gets super muddy. Often I just rinse him off between actual baths. My dog has a "self-cleaning" sort of coat too, which seems to repel dirt but I have found that is deceiving. While the dirt's not visible and his coat looks shiny & white, if I use soap there is a lot of dirt hidden in there, believe me!

Posted by: amyc | November 2, 2017 10:38 AM    Report this comment

Poodle mom here. Standards only. Valentino gets bathed, groomed, and clipped every 5 weeks. I used to do it every 4 weeks, but it's an expensive proposition. Of course, poodles don't have the usual doggy body odor and mine never gets muddy. Now my bitches got in to everything, including killing baby bunnies and getting mighty messy in the process. But my boys... pristine. Won't even dip their paws into puddles. Worst thing is being left off at the groomer's. But they get over it when I am out of sight.

Posted by: Valsmom | November 2, 2017 10:14 AM    Report this comment

Every 1-2 weeks, because they are therapy dogs. I keep them clean for patients, and also because of patients. I use soap free shampoo that rinses out easily. I also have started using a conditioner with avocado oil to add some of the oils back into their skin and keep them from drying.

Posted by: Pmm | November 2, 2017 10:13 AM    Report this comment

I send my dog to the groomer once a month for the works. She’s short haired, so doesn’ t need a clip, but she sleeps on my bed and I find after about a month she starts to smell “doggy”. She comes back from the groomer with a shiny coat , short nails and smelling good.

Posted by: Lizhull | November 2, 2017 9:52 AM    Report this comment

If my dog gets dirty and muddy from playing with other dogs, she gets a shower right away. But in general, I shower her once a month in the summer, and once every other month in the winter. She has a medium-short coat.

Posted by: Selenazhang27 | November 2, 2017 9:51 AM    Report this comment

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