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Ask The Vet - Natural VetCare

We know many of you don’t just have horses at home, but dogs and cats too, so the vets at NAF’s pet brand Natural VetCare have the answer to this smelly question !

How often should I bath my dog? He rolls in stuff on the yard all the time but then I read dogs shouldn’t be bathed. Help!

Great question! Vets get asked this all the time because there is a lot of different advice out there on bathing dogs, so let’s look at a common sense approach.

Dogs are not humans, and anyone who expects a dog to smell of perfume is fundamentally mistaken. Dogs smell like…dogs! And of course some dogs love to roll in the most disgusting thing they can find (a behaviour designed to disguise their doggy smell from prey, they’re hunters after all) meaning sometimes you have to bath them just to live with them! (Our family’s dog loved nothing more than to roll in a dead worm… sigh…).

Often dogs are bathed too frequently and with the wrong shampoo which can lead to skin health issues. Dog’s evolutionary ancestors (wolves etc.) would not have been nipping to the groomers for a quick shampoo and blow dry and most dogs now don’t need bathing to maintain healthy skin and coat because nature takes care of it for them. But years of selective breeding now mean many dog breeds have a vastly different skin and coat to that of the wolf. Some breeds benefit from regular grooming to keep their skin and coat healthy and in breeds where the coat does not shed, grooming can be essential from an animal welfare perspective. So the key thing is to ensure:

Why is my dog smelly? Why is my dog smelly?

You bath them only when they truly need it. Ask yourself -

“Do they stink or do they just smell like a dog?”

When you do bath your dog, you use a doggy shampoo.

So of course if they roll in something smelly bath them, but after muddy walks just rinse your dog down with tepid water and no shampoo, to simply remove the dirt and debris without the need for a full wash.

Choice of shampoo is important because a dog’s skin and coat is different to a human’s in terms of pH, microbial balance and more. So use a dog not human shampoo as you know this will be safe. And opt for:

  • Gentle dog shampoos without harsh detergents that strip away natural oils
  • Shampoos that actively moisturise after cleansing and support the skin’s microflora
  • Deodorising not perfuming shampoos. Dogs have a powerful sense of smell. You may enjoy it when they smell of perfume but they do not, much like sitting next to someone wearing too much aftershave!

So if they roll in smelly things, use a deodorising shampoo and avoid strongly scented options.

One final point. We all know someone who has used human shampoo to bath their dog and they’ve never had a problem... But using human shampoo can disrupt the skin’s delicate microflora and lead to skin problems in some dogs, so as anyone with a dog with skin issues will tell you, it’s just not worth the risk!

Natural VetCare products for smelly dogs Natural VetCare products for smelly dogs
Contact Natural VetCare
Contact Natural VetCare

In the same way that you have come to know and trust NAF's Five Star products for horses, Natural VetCare offers the lorry dogs and yard cats in your life Five Star products to help them feel good! NAF understands how important your whole fur family is to you, so we’re here to help. To ask a question please email or for more information on NAF’s pet range Natural VetCare, visit


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