Ask Twin City Paws
Dear Twin City Paws,
How often do you wash a dog?
— Keaveney Magennis
of Memorial Middle School, Fitchburg
That is a great question and one with a number of answers that all depend on the dog in question. Some dogs are never bathed, and are fine, whereas others may get smelly after a few weeks. (The ASPCA recommends bathing at least every three months, for example. Baths aside, you should be in a grooming routine with your dog in terms of brushing. This allows you to remove dander and spread natural oils through the coat, as well as to allow you to check for “flea dirt” (small black particles that could indicate fleas). Washing your pet with a damp cloth is another way of cleaning your dog. The breed of dog and the type of coat also makes a difference. Harsh-textured coats don’t attract dirt so quickly (Shelties, Collies and Labs), whereas dogs with soft-coats may need more frequent bathing (weekly, versus monthly, for example). There is no “one size fits all” answer, and you should see what routine works best for you and your dog. Too-frequent bathing can remove natural oils, which exposes dogs to infections, or dry out their skin. Infrequent bathing might result in itchiness and smelliness. The good news is that dogs are much more relaxed about getting a bath than cats are!
Twin City Paws is a fellowship for pet support, advocacy and education. This column is written by Sally Cragin. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and visit “Twin City Paws” on Facebook or tcpaws.blogspot.com.