Bathing your dog helps keep him/her free of fleas and ticks, and also helps to keep your dog’s skin healthy. If you use a harsh shampoo, or shampoo designed for humans, you are counteracting the whole purpose of the bath because harsh shampoos actually harm your dog’s skin rather than help it. Using a gentle shampoo specifically designed for dogs is best for cleaning and improving the skin, removing irritants, and moisturizing dry, flaky skin. Most importantly you should bathe your dog on a regular basis; depending on your schedule, the baths can range from weekly to bi-weekly to once a month.

Skin is one of the most mistreated parts of your dog’s body because it takes a beating from both the inside and the outside. Inside, the body uses the skin to rid itself of toxins, and occasionally skin problems will precede a greater, internal problem; therefore, if you notice hair loss, abrasions, or other abnormalities on your dog’s skin, and the problem is incurable, you should visit your dog’s veterinarian as soon as possible. On the outside, your dog’s skin is battered by parasites, foreign objects (such as sandburs), and histamines. Dogs with sensitive or dry skin may have more skin problems because their skin is already weaker than normal dog skin.

The most obvious reason for bathing your dog is to remove dirt, parasites, and the “dog smell” odor from you dog. However, if you have the parasite situation under control, and your dog is neither overly dirty nor smelly, there are a few other reasons to consider bathing your dog. For dogs with allergies, especially to dust, pollen, or grasses, baths help clean and remove the allergen that gets stuck in the fur, which can work their way onto the skin and cause minor to severe skin problems. Outside dogs and inside dogs that spend long amounts of time outdoors need to be bathed at least twice a month because in most cases they have foreign grasses or other objects buried in their fur.

Baths also provide an opportunity for you to examine your dog for other problems. While rubbing your dog’s body with shampoo, you can feel around for abnormal bumps or lacerations, check for sensitive areas (your dog may whimper or pull away if an area is sore), and do a general check up of your dog’s eyes, ears, and teeth. Bathing using a gentle shampoo improves both the inside and outside of your dog’s skin and helps prevent larger health problems.