Here’s how often you should actually be bathing your dog, according to a veterinarian

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If you have a dog, you probably want them to smell fresh and clean (especially if they sleep in your bed every night). However, like humans, dogs have skin that needs to be properly cared for, and bathing them too often could make their skin dry and more prone to diseases, allergies and inflammation. That’s why you should only bathe your dog every four to six weeks or skip the bath altogether, according to Australian veterinarian Dr. Lisa Chimes.

For poodles, doodles, and other fluffy dogs whose hair continues to grow, Dr. Chimes recommends taking them to the groomer for a proper haircut every four to six weeks and avoiding the bath between visits. A good wipe-down or rinse with water will do for short-haired dogs like dachshunds and dalmatians.

More importantly than a bath, Dr. Chimes recommends brushing your dog every day. Brushing your dog removes dead hair, skin cells, and surface dirt. In the long term, with regular brushing, their coat will be shinier and fluffier, and they’ll even smell less, she says.

In addition to being an emergency veterinarian, media personality and dog owner, Dr. Lisa started her own luxury pet skin care brand called DOG by Dr Lisa. She founded her company after she realized that many pet hygiene products contain harmful ingredients we wouldn’t use on ourselves. However, she also wanted to solve a real issue: Skin diseases are one of the most common conditions in pets. Dogs’ skin has immune cells, oils and, of course, produces hair, and if we disrupt their skin barrier by washing them too often, we will harm their skin. Thus was born DOG by Dr Lisa.

DOG by Dr Lisa makes conditioners, brushes, washes, wipes and even cologne. Everything features all-natural, plant-based ingredients and is scented with essential oils to smell like a real spa. (FYI, the brand also makes grooming accessories, supplements and products for cats.)

My dog is a small toy poodle puppy who usually goes to the groomer every five weeks. However, in between, his puppy fluff can get a little greasy-looking. For him, she recommends the DOG Wipes, which are 100% bamboo, mainly water-based and have a refreshing coconut, vanilla and lavender scent. I recently gave them a try, and they’re wetter than regular baby wipes. Plus, they don’t irritate his sensitive skin and are gentle enough to use daily to clean his paws after walking outside in NYC (it’s gross out there!).

DOG Wipes, $17

Credit: DOG by Dr Lisa

In addition to the wipes, if he happens to roll around in the dirt at the park, she says a good brushing afterward should do the trick. But if he’s especially muddy or dirty, I could rinse him off with water, spray him with a little leave-in conditioner to keep his coat soft and tangle-free, brush his hair, blow dry it and give it a final brushing.

DOG Slicker Brushes, $22–$25

Credit: DOG by Dr Lisa

DOG Leave in Conditioner Spray, $37

Credit: DOG by Dr Lisa

However, I’ve taken her advice to heart and started gently brushing the little guy every day with a slicker brush. After about two weeks, I’ve noticed his hair is extra fluffy and shiny. Not to mention, he started to really enjoy it — it’s like a little massage.

If you want to try DOG by Dr Lisa on your furry friend, you can get it on the brand’s website. However, remember that you don’t need to bathe them all the time. A good brushing will usually do; if you want them to smell extra fresh, the DOG Cologne comes in three great-smelling scents.

DOG Cologne, $30

Credit: DOG by Dr Lisa

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