How often should you bathe and groom your dog?

Good question, and probably one of the most popular questions we get.   The short answer is…it depends.   Below is a brief outline that will hopefully point you in the right direction.

Curly coated dogs like Poodle or Goldendoodle, or dogs that have hair that continues to grow, like a Shitzu, Maltese or Cocker Spaniel, should see the groomer at least every 6-8 weeks to make sure the coat stays tangle free and clean.  Their fur is prone to matting, and if you wait too long between grooming sessions, your groomer may have no choice but to remove the tangled and matted fur with a very short haircut.  Matted fur is very uncomfortable and unkind to the pet, and to even attempt to brush through heavy matting, is very painful to the dog.  Most groomers do not offer the service of brushing out heavy mats.   Unfortunately, the only humane way of removing the matting is to cut below the knots.  This will require the finished hair length to be very short.  Not always the customers favorite look, but it’s the haircut that will remove the knots in a non-painful manner.  In other words, the kind and necessary haircut.  Matted fur also traps moisture and bacteria, and can be a breeding ground for little critters like fleas and ticks.  Please remember to get your dogs groomed before the hair begins to mat.

Double coated dogs like a Malamute or Samoyed, are also at risk of matting. They have a very thick undercoat that sheds heavily and if left unwashed and brushed, can get trapped below the guard coat and become matted.  Also, extremely difficult to brush these matts, and leaves the dog at risk of needing a shave down to remove the matting.  (on a side note, these breeds should not be shaved for the sake of keeping them cool.  If their fur is well kept, their skin will breathe and they will stay cool.)  Double coated breeds should be groomed every 6-8 weeks at a minimum.

For most shorthaired dogs with normal skin, you will be fine bathing your dog as much as every other week, or waiting as long as 8 weeks.  A thorough shampoo, hair brushing, ear cleaning and nail trim typically competes the package for the short haired dog.  Much of the shedding hair will come out during this process, but there is no magic way to stop the shedding entirely.  There are deshed treatments that help a bunch, but there is always more shedding on the way.

If your dog has sensitive skin or dryness, you may need to spread it out every 4-8 weeks.  Certain skin conditions require regular treatment and a medicated bath, and may need to be done weekly or even more frequently while treating the condition.

There is no precise answer for everyone, but every 6 weeks is a good guide for most dogs.  If they roll in mud, definitely sooner ? .  Hope this helps.

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