The most precise answer possible for frequency of dog baths is, it depends. Your dog's coat, natural skin oil production and outdoor playtime all contribute to the number of baths your dog needs, and the frequency they are given. A good rule of thumb is to bathe your dog at least once a month, or whenever they feel dirty or smell.
Knowing the specifics of your dog's breed and health will help determine how often to bathe him. Certain breeds require more frequent bathing to keep their hair manageable and remove excess oils, while others may suffer from dry skin and damaged hair if bathed too often. Dogs with skin allergies or rashes may require more frequent baths to keep their skin clean and help it heal. If your dog plays outside often, he should be bathed at least once a week to remove dirt or hidden parasites that may not be obvious.
Gather your supplies before bathing your dog so you don't have to search for them while your pet is dripping wet. Use dog shampoo or a gentle baby human shampoo, and a dog conditioner if necessary to help control dry, flyaway hair. Have a brush or comb on hand to help work out tangles, and at least one large towel. Cotton balls work well to keep water out of your dog's ears during the bath, and help wipe away tear stains on his face.
Technique and Safety
If possible, start bathing your dog as early and young as possible, so the experience isn't scary or traumatic to him. Brush him before bathtime to remove loose hair, and break up any mats or tangles before they get wet and become harder to remove. Place a towel or other non-slip material in the tub or sink to give him traction and keep him steady. Gently massage the shampoo into his hair, working from the shoulders to the tail, and rinse thoroughly to remove all traces once done. Apply conditioner if desired and rinse thoroughly.
Avoid getting the shampoo onto your dog's face, and use water to rinse thoroughly should any drip into his eyes. Use a washcloth to wipe his face. Do not use cat shampoo or regular human shampoo on your dog, as their formulas are designed specially for different body pH's. Keep your hands on him at all times to prevent him from running away or falling. Be ready with the towel once you've done the final rinse, as he'll want to give a good shake to dry himself!
- German shepherd dog enjoying to be sprayed with water. image by zenshot from Fotolia.com