Not bathing your dog more than every two weeks is a lot like the 'don’t swim for 30 minutes after eating' rule. No-one is too sure where it comes from but we assume it’s true. But could the so-called rules be wrong?!
This is a juicy one. But essentially the worry around over-washing comes from the fear you might dry their skin and coat out too much.
After all, every dog and cat is wearing a form of body armour you can’t see. It helps their skin and coat repel water, bacteria, allergens and even odours. It’s their natural oils. It’s also what makes them soft and shiny.
These oils do a lot. In fact, if you imagine their skin is a barrier to the outside world that’s like a brick wall (with the skin cells acting as the bricks), the oils are like the mortar. They provide the seal that prevents moisture, bacteria and allergens from sneaking between the cells (or bricks in the wall) and getting into the body to cause irritations. And yes, I’m a little proud of that analogy just quietly.
But here’s where the ‘no more than every two weeks’ story comes from. Just about every dog wash up until now cleans the way most human shampoos and dishwashing liquid does - by dissolving any oil present. Thinking all oil must be bad, old school detergents in the dog wash (like sodium laurel sulphate and glucosides) dissolve that essential fatty acid layer and send it down the drain. And while dogs might appear squeaky clean at first, their coat feels frizzy, dry and harsh. The oils that provided the protection, the shine and the softness have gone.
Basically, the bricks no longer have the mortar between them. The skin surface is dry and cracked and nasties like bacteria and allergens can sneak inside the body.
But this idea that the definition of ‘clean’ is to wash all those crucial skin and coat oils away has never made sense to me. In fact, it’s worried and frustrated me. It’s the most important protection on their body’s biggest organ.
So I’ve decided to do something about it. I’ve created a wash that treasures that oil layer and nourishes it with essential fatty acids while it cleans. And guess what? When you preserve that protective layer, you can actually wash as often as you like. How modern! And because you’re working with their natural systems (like their microbiome), they stay cleaner and softer for longer.