Here's how often you should be bathing your dog right now

Collier Sutter
Written by
Collier Sutter
dog getting a bath
Photograph: Shutterstock

If you’re a dog owner, you might have some questions right now on how often you should suds-up your pupper.

Of course, there is not a one-size-fits-all response—since it usually depends on your four-legged friend's coat type, health and lifestyle—but, for reassurance that you’re doing this thing right amid the current state of the city, we’ve spoken with a few experts on what the proper protocol is to keep both you and your dog safe.

First, the CDC has stated that, "In the United States, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets, might be a source of COVID-19 infection at this time." Naturally, animals can pick up all sorts of germs in general, so it's a good idea to just practice healthy habits around your pet like washing your hands after handling them, the CDC recommends.

To dig deeper than that, we’ve rounded up some questions you might be scratching your head about. Rest assured, these answers should bring some semblance of normalcy.

Should you be wiping your pets’ feet every time you walk them? 

There's no need! The CDC states, "At this time there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread to people from the skin or fur of pets." If you'd like to take extra precautions, "you can wipe down your dog's paws and face if they were sniffing around, after going outside for a walk," says Anna Lai of Muddy Paws Rescue. We can't help but grimace at the idea of a dog sniffling or licking a runner's spit while out on a walk through the park. Too far? 

How often should I be bathing my dog right now?

"It’s important to recognize that the current pandemic is the result of person-to-person transmission," says Dr. Stephanie Janeczko, vice president of ASPCA Shelter Medicine Services. "At this time we have no evidence that the virus causing COVID-19 can spread to people from the skin or fur of pets, so bathing your pets more often than you routinely would is not necessary." So, again, go about your normal washing schedule as you usually do per recommendation from their vet, whether that be once a month or even longer. 

What do you recommend I bathe my dog with? 

"Any shampoo or product that is designed and labeled for pets is appropriate," shares Erin Katribe, DVM, MSMedical Director, Best Friends Animal Society. "Be sure to avoid using any chemical disinfectants or other products not specifically designed to be used on animals’ skin and coats." You should also avoid soaps containing fragrances or other substances that may irritate your pet's skin.

Can I be around my dog still if I get sick?

Individuals impacted by COVID-19 can and should keep their pets in their homes while staying at home. However, Janeczko, of ASPCA Shelter Medicine Services recommends, "people who are sick should have another member of the household provide care for animals, if possible. Where that isn’t possible, they should limit close contact with their pets, wash their hands regularly, and wear a face mask while caring for animals."

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