I wish I got asked this question more often. Because I feel there is an epidemic of overwashing dogs in the UK. Dog parents are so concerned over muddy paws and sweet smelling cuddles that they’re not aware that over washing is actually likely to make your dog smell worse!

Dog skin and fur have natural oils that help to disperse dirt if they are functioning correctly. Meaning that by the time you return to the house, all that mud has slid off their shiny, oily coat.

My pup and my dogs before him have had remark upon remark on how good they smell. “Like biscuits!” Said one 12 year old boy. “I wish my dog smelt like that…”

At the moment I live by the sea in a low rainfall area of England. So I hold my hands and Merlin’s paws up, it is easier for me. Merlin gets a shower and shampoo about every two months. The recommended average is once a month. But even if you live in a muddy place, a simple water only shower should do the trick to dislodge mud and dirt on those in-between washes. It’s only if they’ve rolled in something of the whiffy nature that you’d need to use a shampoo. And then you can also target the wash to a particular area…

A bit about dog shampoo: A lot of dog shampoos are full of chemicals that strip their coat of these natural oils. Human shampoos are even worse. Causing potential irritation and itchiness to their skin. I even had a case where the parents were cleaning their dog with washing up liquid. Head slapped against my hand! Unfortunately it’s my head and not theirs…

My recommendation for dog shampoo is to go with “all natural ingredients”. Earth Bath – oatmeal dog shampoo is the one I have used for years now. And beware of the fake naturals on the market.

What if you are reading this and you’re thinking. Nuts! It’s too late. My dog has a shampoo every time I do!

It’s never too late…

You’ll need to help your dog rehabilitate their skin and coat by switching shampoos to an all natural one. Brush/comb your dog regularly (if your dog hates brush time, email me for help), brushing stimulates natural oils and demats and removes dirt all on its own. Making it less of a need to wash your loved one. Wash your dog every week to two weeks and work your way up to a month to help your dog recover and give their fur some breathing time. Essential oils – (make sure they are animal grade (www.doterra.com) aso help to rehabilitate the coat such as lavender oil. The oatmeal in the dog shampoo I recommend is great for their skin and don’t forget a boost of omega-3 fish oils. Yum! More sardines!

At the very least, switch to a natural dog shampoo.

Also try to avoid over use of the hair dryer. (Curly dog? See below for advice) A natural dry off on a warm or windy day, out on a walk should do the trick nicely and keep your dog’s coat in tip top condition. Of course, if your dog is ill or elderly keep them warm at all costs to the coat.

Curly coats are an exception as if you don’t hairdry them matting can occur. This advice comes from Erin at The Little Dog Company who also uses natural shampoos at her dog grooming spa in Denton. Contact her for advice on other dematting preventative products.

A dog who is overwashed and whose health is affected by chemicals in their grooming products and food (read my blog about a dog’s diet:) also tend to be smelly dogs. Their glands and pores get clogged and unable to naturally eliminate smell.

I hope this advice has helped. Write and tell me about your dog’s bath routine nicky@chilledoutdogs.com

If you’d like to know more about the chemicals in most dog shampoos have a read of this article about carcinogenic, cancer causing, poisons that can enter your dog’s blood stream.

Keeping Bath Time Safe for Your Dog

Many people don’t realize that their dog’s skin is part of the body’s integumentary system, which includes the three layers of the skin – epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. The skin is most absorbent organ of the body, human and dog.

The integumentary system is also the gateway to the bloodstream.


-shampoo wash your dog maximum once a month
-use a natural dog shampoo. I recommend EARTH BATH DOG SHAMPOO
-if you use a groomer, take your own shampoo and ask them to avoid any chemical products
-brush your dog minimum every two days. Merlin gets brushed every night before bedtime. We literally “brush away the day”
-use lukewarm water and no shampoo if your dog gets particularly muddy or smelly and needs regular bathing

All dog breeds and coats are different so if in doubt email me for more advice nicky@chilledoutdogs.com

This is his post shower dazed face!


Nicky and M x

Written by Nicky