Pet owners often ask how often they should bathe their pets. Unfortunately, many people still believe the old wives tale that says you shouldn’t bathe your pet more than once or twice a month. According to some, more frequent bathing might harm your pet’s skin or coat.
However, this old wives tale is nothing more than an urban legend, and is not based upon any medical fact. While some shampoos, typically those made of harsh chemicals, can dry out your pet’s skin or coat if used too frequently, organic shampoos containing natural oils are safe to use whenever needed.
And how do you know if your pet’s shampoo fits the bill? Simply read the label. Organic shampoos contain organic (not “natural,” which is not a legally recognized term) oils (such as coconut, olive, and jojoba) and extracts of organic essences which have healing properties (lavender, peppermint, etc.) Chemical based shampoos contain a variety of chemical names describing additives such as artificial fragrances, colors, foaming agents, and bulking agents. These are not ideal for your pet’s skin health and should be avoided in favor of the milder, organic shampoos.
I recommend bathing your pet at a minimum whenever the pet gets dirty or smelly, on average at least weekly.
Some pets should be bathed more frequently. For example, those pets with skin diseases (allergies, infections, ringworm, mange, etc.) should be bathed more often, even daily if necessary. I have discovered that when my patients with skin diseases are bathed frequently, they usually do not require conventional medications in the treatment of their skin diseases. When they do require conventional medications, they usually require much less medication due to their frequent bathing schedule using a high quality organic shampoo.
And don’t forget about the important health benefits to you and your family members when you bathe your pets frequently….Pets that are bathed frequently are cleaner and less likely to cause you and other members of your family to suffer unnecessarily from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems.
Think of it this way. Your pet’s hair acts like a rug, trapping dirt, bacteria, fungi, and allergens. Allergens are foreign proteins such as dander, house dust mites, saliva, bug droppings, molds, and tree and grass pollens. These allergens stay on your pet’s skin and hair until they are washed away.
The longer they stay on your pet’s skin and hair, the more likely they are to cause your pet to itch. And if you or any family members suffer from allergies or chronic respiratory problems, your pet’s skin and hair serve as an important source of your discomfort until these allergens are washed away. Therefore, I recommend bathing your pet frequently if your pet or any of your family members suffers from allergies or respiratory problems.
Finally, don’t forget your pet’s ears. Regular use of an organic ear wash will keep ears clean, healthy, and smelling great and can reduce the incidence of ear infections. And an organic ear wash can often be used in place of traditional medicated ear drops to treat bacterial, yeast, and ear mite infections.
Dr. Shawn Messonnier
Author, Unexpected Miracles-Hope and Holistic Healing for Pets