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In the summertime, you may be tempted to bathe your pet more often, especially if you’re seeing sweat and dirt accumulate in their fur. However, bathing your pet too often can cause skin irritation for some animals, particularly ones with lighter and less dense fur.

Here’s how often you should bathe your pet, and what you may need to consider before getting the tub ready.

For your dog

In general, dogs should be bathed a minimum of once every three months. Not only does this give you the opportunity to give your pooch a good scrub, it’s also the perfect time to check them over for bumps, scratches, fleas, and even ticks. Giving your dog a thorough check will help to determine if they have any conditions that need to be assessed by a vet, or if they require treatment for any unwanted pests.

In addition, your dog’s hair length, activity level, and existing skin condition will also determine how often they should get a good scrub. Dirt and sweat is more likely to accumulate in dogs with longer hair, which means that they should be bathed more often than shorthaired breeds. The same goes for a dog that is more active and thrives in the outdoors: more activity will typically lead to more build-up in their fur, and will likely require more frequent washes.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that bathing your dog too often can have negative impacts on their skin health, especially if they have an existing skin condition. Similar to humans, the natural oils in their skin can promote healthier hair and skin cell growth. As a result, over-bathing your dog can often cause irritation and dryness. Moderation is key!

For your cat

Most people don’t know that you can actually bathe your cat. Although most cats groom themselves, a bath can still remove access oil, dander, and shedding hair. However, cats will need to be bathed less frequently than dogs, and in some cases, not at all.

Every six weeks is the absolute maximum frequency for bathing a shorthair cat. With this in mind, it’s important to gauge your cat’s reaction to bathing, as some cats, regardless of their hair length, may feel stressed by the process. If your cat experiences too much anxiety in the bathing process, it may be better to leave the grooming to them. This is especially true with older cats, as they can experience significant health hazards from the “shock” of the water.

For your other furry friends

Smaller pets such as guinea pigs and other rodents can also benefit from a bath, but on a less frequent basis. Most guinea pig owners will bathe their pet once a month in the summer, and once every two months in the winter. Since guinea pigs are prone to being more “smelly,” regular bathing can cut down the possibility of an accumulating odour.

Conversely, rabbits should never be bathed. A rabbit can go into shock if it’s immersed in water, and should not be bathed unless it has gotten excessively dirty. Rabbits are actually very good at keeping themselves clean, so generally speaking, you shouldn’t worry about bathing them.

Since many animals aren’t overly enthused about bath time, it can be particularly helpful to find out exactly how frequently you need to subject them to a cleaning.

For more pet-related tips, and to find out more about what you need to prepare your pet for travel or relocation, check out Worldwide Animal Travel’s blog.