When do I bathe my dog?

What do you do if...

Your dog rolled in something dreadful and smells.

If your dog has a habit of seeking out something that pongs, then loves rolling in it, then he will need a bath right away, otherwise you won't be having any visitors round for months. Use a specially formulated canine shampoo and don't be afraid to wash him twice.

Your dog has a pungent "doggy" smell.

An odour on the coat can often be traced to a problem with the ears, mouth, feet, or anal glands. An odour coming from the skin is often a sign of disease, such as a yeast infection. Any dog with more than a "doggy" smell should be checked by a vet.

Your dog has flaky dandruff.

Dandruff may be caused by dry, irritated, or oily skin, but all of these conditions can be helped by the appropriate shampoo and a good bathing. Check with your vet or groomer to determine the cause of your dog's skin condition and then choose the right shampoo.

Your dog has allergies.

Bathing a dog with itchy skin from allergies can be soothing and help reduce itching. In most cases, a soothing oatmeal shampoo, or a gentle hypo-allergenic or hydrocortisone-based shampoo should be used.

Your dog has fleas, mites, or lice.

Shampooing is an excellent way of getting rid of external parasites. Make sure to work with your vet and get the appropriate diagnosis and corresponding treatment.

Final tips

Once you determine the primary purpose for the shampoo you will need - for instance, if your dog always gets an unpleasant doggy odour three weeks after bathing - then choose an appropriate shampoo and have it on hand for when you need it. Always use a shampoo formulated for dogs. Human shampoos have a different pH level and often use harsher detergents than pet shampoos. You can do more damage than good if you use a human shampoo on pets.