It’s a question we get asked all the time.
It’s a hotly debated topic but in the end (like most things) it really is your choice.
In Singapore and other parts of Asia dogs are generally washed weekly. Pampered dogs in China usually get to enjoy a twice weekly bath. I once sent a bar of Horse & Hound to someone who lived in an apartment in Japan and she washed her medium sized dog every day. Compared to other parts of the world, New Zealand and Australia are infrequent washers – with the average period between baths being around 4 to 6 weeks, and in winter months even less frequently.
In New Zealand I often meet people who take great delight in letting me know that they never wash their dog. These are generally working dogs or dogs that permanently live outside and whilst it’s their choice I can almost guarantee you’d need to wash your hands after giving one of these dogs a pat, and you certainly wouldn’t want to cuddle one.
Some people believe that washing strips the natural oils from a dogs coat and a wash once or twice a year is all that is required. Those of us with allergic dogs will tell you that all that scratching will ultimately lead to a not so delightful smell. (It’s disrupted oil glands over-excreting oil which goes rancid – yuck!) When Maxine (the WashBar Spokesdog) was at her allergic worst, we washed her twice a week and her coat had a healthy gloss that people often commented on.
In the end, how often you wash your dog is entirely up to you, and probably influenced by your lifestyle. I’d strongly suggest that if you are washing regularly – use a natural product – because the ‘nasty’ ingredients found in many shampoos will have an even bigger impact on your dog’s skin.