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Here’s The Trick To Figuring Out When To Give Your Dog A Bath

The Dodo logo The Dodo 9/18/2020

a dog looking at the camera Is your dog stinky and you’re wondering if you should give him a bath? DO IT.

According to Dr. Andrea Y. Tu, medical director of Behavior Vets NYC in New York City, there’s no exact formula to determining when to give your dog a bath — but she does recommend one handy trick.

“Many dogs can go by the sniff test — if you're smelling funky or you just had a big day in a muddy park, you probably could use a bathing,” Dr. Tu said. 

It’s important to note, though, that some dogs with skin conditions may need a different bathing schedule.


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“For some dogs who have dermatological conditions, they may need to be bathed as frequently as once a week to help their skin stay healthy and infection-free,” Dr. Tu said. “The best way to determine what is best for your pup's individual needs is to speak to your veterinarian, as she or he will be most familiar with your dog's specific needs and can provide a recommendation that is tailored to you.”

The same idea can go for shampoos. “There are many types out there, and depending on what your dog's skin condition is (e.g., is his skin on the oily side or the dry side, is he prone to yeast infections or is he more likely to develop bacterial infections, or does he itch a lot), there are different shampoos that would be best suited for each condition,” Dr. Tu explained. In these instances, it’s best to consult your veterinarian to determine which shampoo would be best for your pup.

“If you luckily have a dog that has fairly normal skin, it is still a good rule of thumb is to use products that are made just for dogs and to double-check any over-the-counter shampoos with your vet before using it,” Dr. Tu advised. “Some of the stuff available online may contain irritating ingredients or have had recent recalls, so your vet can help you avoid something that might harm your dog.” 

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