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02/02/16

Bath time: How often should you bathe your dog?

If you're dog is like mine, he loves to be outside. But how often should I be giving this lovely, yet smelly dog, a bath?
We live in the northeast and often times we tend to take advantage of those rare nice days in the winter or use fall to its fullest when it comes to letting the dog outside to play. Even when the winter days don't cooperate with a plethora of snow and ice, freezing temperatures and just miserable weather altogether (including getting dark by five at night), we still make it a point to walk every night above and beyond anything else we can do in the outdoors, no matter the weather quite frankly.
The other aspect of our dog, a black pit bull, that we take into consideration is just the duration between baths even if we don't do anything out of the ordinary than walking every night.
Should you bathe them more if they are spending more time outdoors or is there a good rule of thumb no matter what they're doing? I always worry about giving the dog a bath too often, simply because if you do so, you'l strip the dog's coat of its natural and essential oils. The flip side of course is bacteria and potential parasites that can rear their ugly heads.
So what is a dog owner to do for man's best friend? 
The truth is there's a rule of thumb that is good for most dogs, and that is a bath once per month. Some breeds tend to be a little more needy, while others are a little less. Such as the case with thick coats (they need less baths), while some dogs with more oily coats of fur need to be bathed at least once every two weeks since the washing does strip oils, but they have plenty to spare and you don't want that to build up over time.

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Another important aspect of dog washing relates to not so much just how often but where. Small dogs should be bathed in wash tubs in a laundry room for instance, and you want to avoid the sink if you can (again the bacteria element). I tend to shy away from putting the dog in the tub or my shower, and instead invest in a relatively reasonably priced doggy tub. This allows you to let that be there place to be washed, preferably outside or in a garage with a drain. If it's too cold, then the shower tub works, too.
Keeping your pup clean is paramount, but do so with breed and size in mind (along with location) so that bath time is doing everything it needs to do for your dog's health and well being.

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