Should You Bathe Your Dog After a Hike?

Should You Bathe Your Dog After a Hike

After a day out on the trail, the first thing many of us will probably do is take a shower. Washing off the dust, dirt and sweat that accumulates over the course of a hike is insanely refreshing.

But, what if your dogs were with you on your hike? Should you bathe your dogs after a hike?

The answer is, it depends, but we’re here to help walk you through how to know if your dog needs a post-hike bath.

Ask yourself the following:

  • Was the hike particularly muddy or dusty?
  • Is it tick season?
  • When is the last time your dog had a bath?

The answers to these questions can usually help you arrive at the answer to whether it’s time to break out the shampoo and rubber duckies.

Benefits for Bathing your Dog After a Hike

Dog in a Bath

In addition to the benefits that I’m going to discuss, giving your dog a bath after a hike

Removes Dirt and Odor

Let’s start with the most obvious benefit first. If you have a film of dust on you after a hike, chances are pretty good that so does your dog. And just like you, a bath will help remove all that dirt and debris from their skin and coat.

Using a good shampoo will also help keep your pooch’s skin and coat healthy in addition to looking good.

Keep in mind too, that if your dogs are allowed on beds and furniture in your house, that if you don’t wash the dust and dirt off them, then it’s going to end up on your couches, chairs and bedding.

Even if you don’t allow pets on furniture, if you have carpet you’re still going to end up with some of the same issues.

If you have allergies, all of this dust is not only going on onto all of your fabrics, but into the air in your home which could trigger your allergies to act up.

Checking For Ticks

If it’s tick season (and really even if it’s ‘not’), then checking for ticks should be something you do after EVERY hike.

Giving your dog a bathe after a hike is a great way to take some extra time to thoroughly inspect your dog for ticks. Not just ticks either. Use bath time to check for cuts, bite marks and rashes.

Don’t just stop with their coat either. Check in on your dogs eyes, ears and gums as well. Just don’t get shampoo into those areas when you’re checking!

When Was Your Dog Bathed Last?

This girl LOVES her hikes. Bath time, not so much, but she at least doesn’t hate them as much as she used to!

Can you bathe your dog too much?

Yes, you absolutely can.

How often your dog should be bathed is going to depend heavily on their breed. For instance, dogs with no hair or naturally oily skin generally need be bathed more often, all the way up to once a week.

However, most dogs should be bathed every couple months. In our house we use a very scientific method for determining bath time. When they both start to smell a little extra “doggy”, then it’s time for a bath.

In general, you probably shouldn’t be bathing your dog more than once or twice a month because frequent bathing can strip away the natural oils on your dog’s coat leading to dry skin and hair (although some vets dispute this train of thought).

If you are bathing your dog more often than that, make sure to use a shampoo and/or conditioner that will help replace the natural oils to keep your pup’s skin and hair healthy.

When in doubt, ask your vet. They’ll be able to give you the best answer on how often you should be bathing your dog based on their breed and individual medical background.

Dog Shampoo Bonus Tip

If you’re like us and like to steer away from chemicals when it comes to things like your dog’s shampoo, look for “Certified Organic” and not just “natural”.

The term “natural” can be used by anyone for pretty much any product. Essentially, it means nothing.

On the other hand, to become “Certified Organic” a product must undergo testing and meet strict guidelines by the USDA. A certified organic product must be raised or farmed without chemical fertilizers and insecticides as well as not contain any artificial chemicals.

Final Thoughts on Dog Baths After a Hike

It’s really your call on whether or not to bathe your dog after a hike. At the end of the day, if you think they need one after your outdoor adventure – then they probably do!

Use bath time to check for ticks and other skin ailments from cuts to rashes.

Finally, use bath time as a good bonding experience between you and your dog. It is possible for bath time to be an enjoyable experience!

And once your dog is all finished with bath time, don’t forget those treats for being a good dog!

Ryan H

I love hiking and being outdoors with Jen and our two rescue dogs, Chompers and Mia. I also enjoy a good weekend trail run. I'm also really enjoying sharing some of the knowledge we've learned along the way here on Zenful Hiking!

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