how often should you bathe a Pitbull

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Pitbulls are lovely single-coated dogs known for their trustworthiness and loyalty to their human caregivers. These muscular dogs have unfortunately been negatively labeled as aggressive.

Pitbulls have a weather-resistant single coat which can easily be cared for by simple brushing and routine grooming.

But, how often should you bathe a Pitbull?

Bathing your Pitbull should be an essential part of their regular grooming, but you need to strike a balance between efficient and excessive washing.

Regular bathing is good for keeping the dog clean, while excessive bathing can cause more trouble by stripping off the natural oils from the dog’s skin.

In this comprehensive guide, we will outline the ideal times you should take your Pitbull to the shower and some of the factors that influence the bathing frequency.

Understanding Pitbulls and Their Coat

Pitbulls are known for their energetic nature and active lifestyle. They are easy-going with their human companions and they can also make good friends with kids.

Pitbull is a general term used to refer to the dog breeds; American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, and the American Bully.

These dogs have a single layer of fur, which means they do not have an undercoat like other breeds such as the Labrador Retrievers.

The single-layered fur in Pitbulls is generally thinner and less fluffy than those with double layers. This helps Pitbulls to counter the warm weather by regulating body temperature.

Adult American Bully
Image Credit: Yohan Cho from Unsplash

As single-furred breeds, Pitbulls experience moderate shedding throughout the year and they are not hypoallergenic dogs.

The moderate shedding in Pitbulls can be attributed to the single layer of fur which generally fall out without getting trapped on a top layer.

The common coat colors in Pitbulls are red, brown, chocolate, white, tan, black, or fawn, and their combinations or shades.

Pitbulls require regular brushing, bathing, and a proper diet to keep their coats soft and shiny.

Factors To Consider for Bathing Frequency

Pitbulls, just like all other dog breeds, require regular bathing as part of their grooming schedule.

Bathing your dog helps to remove dirt, bad odor, and parasites from the coat to keep them looking clean and fresh.

However, dogs don’t need to get a shower every day. Washing your Pitbull in excess may be counterproductive.

A deficiency of natural oils on the dog’s skin may lead to dry skin, hotspots, and certain skin conditions that may cause pain to the dog.

As a Pitbull owner, you need to know the frequency of washing your dog without causing harm to their skin or coat.

The following are some of the specific factors that may affect how often you take your Pitbull to the shower:

1. Coat type and condition

Short-haired dogs like Pitbulls may need less bathing than double-coated dogs with long hair.

While it may be easy for some pet parents to presuppose that dogs with short fur may not need to bathe at all, the truth is they need a shower, although less frequently.

2. Activity level and lifestyle

Dogs who live an active life with lots of physical actions both indoors and outdoors, may require more frequent baths than docile ones.

Pitbulls are particularly high-energy dogs who thrive on being very active compared to other breeds. They find lots of pleasure in walking, running, jumping, and playing to expend their high energy levels.

3. Seasonal considerations

The frequency of bathing your Pitbull is also dependent on the weather season.

Your dog may need very little time in the shower during the winter, but the summer heat comes with an additional bathing requirement.

This is because during hot weather, apart from your dog’s temperature being high, they are also likely to get into dirt while outdoors.

Fewer activities are normally witnessed during the wintertime. We recommend bathing your dog indoors during the cold. Summertime baths can always be conducted outside in a convenient place.

4. Skin conditions and allergies

Dogs with skin issues such as infections and rashes need caution when it comes to grooming and coat care. Some problems can be made worse when the affected part of the skin comes into contact with water.

If your Pitbull is suffering from a skin condition, we recommend taking them to a professional groomer for personalized services.

5. Outdoor exposure

If your dog loves running outdoors and accumulating dirt while playing, then they need more frequent baths than indoor-oriented canines.

Make sure to wipe off the mud from your dog’s paws or coat when they come from mud-spattered places outside the home.

How Often Should You Bathe a Pitbull?

How many times can I shower my Pitbull? It is generally recommended to bathe a Pitbull once every 1 to 6 months depending on the various factors affecting their need for washing.

A good bath with shampoo and warm water will prevent the buildup of dirt, debris, or fallen fur on your Pitbull’s coat.

However, you may be required to take your Pitbull to the shower more times than this because these dogs tend to be very active.

It’s not uncommon to find Pitbulls rolling in mud or having dust baths during outdoor activities.

how often should you bathe a Pitbull
Image Credit: Photoboyko from iStock

An active lifestyle may make your Pittie get messy and necessitate a wipe-down before allowing them in the house.

In such cases, between the bathes, you may need to spot-clean your Pitbull instead of taking them to the shower for a full bath.

This will involve using a doggy wipe or a damp piece of cloth to clean the dirty patches on your dog’s coat, which are typically the paws, head, or tail.

Risks Of Excessive Bathing

Bathing your Pitbull too often may strip off natural oils from the skin. Dogs need these natural oils to maintain healthy skin and shiny coats.

Washing away body oils from the dog’s skin may result in dry skin, itchy skin, hotspots, dull coat, and excessive shedding.

If a need arises to bathe your Pitbull more than once a month, make sure to use moisturizing dog shampoo to hydrate the skin.

You can also follow up the bath by using a moisturizing dog conditioner to help your Pitbull replenish natural moisture on the skin.

How To Prepare to Bathe a Pitbull

When the time comes to take your dog to the shower, you need to prepare in advance by gathering all the needed supplies.

Some of the common toiletries used in bathing dogs include a dog-specific shampoo, conditioner, clean towel, and warm water.

Have some tasty treats in the bathroom area to reward your lovely Pittie for staying calm during the entire process.

We suggest that you select the best products appropriate for bathing a Pitbull. Always go for a dog-specific shampoo instead of using soap or human shampoo.

There are lots of dog shampoos to choose from based on the needs of your pup. If your Pitbull is having skin sensitivity issues, we recommend choosing a hypoallergenic shampoo to help reduce the chances of negative reactions during the bathe.

If your dog’s skin is dry or appears to have a dull coat, using a moisturizing shampoo will help rejuvenate the skin and coat.

It’s always a good idea to check with your vet or groomer for professional advice if your dog has specific skin conditions.

How To Bathe a Pitbull at Home in 8 Steps

Step 1: Take your dog to the shower area

Take your Pitbull to the bathing area and place them on a non-skid mat for added traction. This will hold your dog firmly in one place and prevent sliding which may lead to injuries.

If your dog seems restless or nervous during the process, you may talk to them in a soft voice to calm them down.

Step 2: Brush your dog

Use a soft slicker brush to glide through your Pitbull’s coat to remove the mats and tangles.

Brushing the dog before a bath helps to ‘awaken’ the fur and this will allow easier penetration of shampoo into the coat.

It also helps to remove dead hair and loosen flakes on the skin for a flawless bath.

Step 3: Wet your Pitbull’s coat

Use a handheld shower to slowly wet your dog’s fur starting from the neck area and working your way downwards the entire body.

The water intensity should be manageable for the dog to prevent them from being scared or getting hurt during the process.

Avoid spraying water into your dog’s eyes or ears because doing so may irritate the delicate membranes found in those organs.

You can protect your dog’s ear from moisture by covering both ear canals with soft cotton balls. Make sure the cotton balls are large enough and comfortable for your pup.

Despite the possible irritation by water, Pitbulls are prone to ear problems, and dampening the ear canal may induce infections.

Step 4: Apply dog shampoo

Gently lather your dog’s shampoo and distribute it all around the coat while avoiding the eyes and ears.

Massage your Pitbull thoroughly using bare hands for about five minutes. Some pet parents may prefer using massage gloves to work in the shampoo evenly.

If your dog has too much dirt or mud, you can apply a little more shampoo and massage them for an extended period.

Step 5: Rinse your dog

Rinse your dog thoroughly with clean warm water to remove all shampoo from the coat. Watch out for any residual shampoo because it may dry on the skin and cause irritation.

Step 6: Wash the face

Use a damp cloth to wipe down your dog’s face and around the ears. Remove the cotton balls from the dog’s ear canals and wipe down the ears using a clean cotton ball dipped into an ear-cleaning solution.

Step 7: Drying

Squeeze excess water from your Pitbull’s coat using bare hands and wrap the dog with a clean absorbent towel.

Rub down the dog thoroughly in repeated motion to soak up moisture from the coat. You can also use a canine blow dryer to dry your dog after a shower, but make sure to use low heat.

Step 8: Post-bathing care

You can then brush your Pitbull using a slicker brush to align fur in one direction.

Reward your dog with treats and praises for remaining calm during the bathing session. This will help them associate pet-care procedures with positive experiences and make them calm during future sessions.

How Often Should I Get My Pitbull Groomed

In addition to bathing, a complete dog grooming process consists of brushing, nail grinding, coat trimming, nose cleaning, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing.

Pitbulls should undergo a complete grooming process at least twice a year, or as necessary. We suggest taking your dog to a pet salon for professional grooming service every six months.

Pitbull on a grooming table
Image Credit: Ihar Halavach from iStock

Professional groomers have expertise in cleaning dogs with pet-specific products and equipment. This helps improve your dog’s hygiene while keeping them smelling fresh.

You can also groom your Pitbull at home by following the procedures in all steps. Start by investing in a pet grooming set that includes all the tools needed for all procedures.

Brushing is the most common routine grooming procedure, and it may be done outside the complete grooming cycle.

You can glide through your Pitbull’s coat once every week using a soft bristle brush or slicker brush. Make sure to polish the fur in the direction of hair growth to untangle knotted fur and straighten the coat.

Proper brushing enhances circulation and helps in the distribution of natural oils evenly on the dog’s skin.

Failure to regularly care for your Pitbull’s coat may cause dry skin, encourage shedding, and predispose the dog to various skin conditions.

It’s therefore essential to groom your dog’s coat as recommended and watch out for the signs of skin problems.

Common Pitbull Bathing Mistakes to Avoid

1. Overlooking proper drying techniques

Some Pitbull owners overlook the importance of properly drying their dog’s coat after a bath.

A wet coat is likely to mat and provide a suitable environment for bacteria growth, hotspots, and fungal infections.

While drying your dog with a clean absorbent towel, you should pay close attention to the paws, because they tend to lock in excess moisture.

2. Using harsh grooming products

Harsh grooming products such as generic pet shampoo are not ideal for bathing dogs.

These products are made with artificial ingredients with infused chemical preservatives which may irritate the dog’s skin.

You should also avoid using human-specific grooming products on your Pitbull. An example is human shampoo – because it’s made for the human skin and they have a fragrance that may irritate your dog.

Always opt for dog-specific pet care products made with natural ingredients without preservatives or artificial fragrances.

Dog shampoos are made with the right pH balance for your Pitbulls skin, which makes them comfortable on the dog’s skin.

3. Neglecting to check for skin issues

When bathing your lovely Pittie, it’s important to monitor them for any skin problem, itching, redness, or parasite infestation.

Failing to observe your dog’s skin may lead to the progression of the skin conditions and this may be difficult to treat in advanced levels.

If your dog reacts negatively to touches on a specific area of the skin, then you can suspect skin problems. Report all skin-related issues to your vet as soon as possible for prompt diagnosis and treatment.

4. Skipping regular grooming routine

It may be easy to overlook the importance of grooming short-haired dogs like Pitbulls, but as a responsible pet parent, you need to clean them too!

Failing to groom your Pitbull on schedule may lead to the buildup of dirt, bacteria growth, discomfort, or skin issues.

How often should I bathe my Pitbull puppy?

Pitbull puppies can also be bathed once every month to six months depending on their activity level. However, active puppies who like to roll in mud may need more frequent baths.

We suggest using a damp cloth or puppy wipes to clean your dog if they get into the dirt instead of giving them a full bath.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I bathe my pitbull once a week?

No! You should not bathe your Pitbull every week unless recommended by a vet. Excessive bathing may lead to the stripping off of natural oils and this may cause dryness, skin irritation, and a dull coat. 

2. Can I use human shampoo on my Pitbull?

No! Avoid using human shampoo (or any other human care products) on your dog. Human-specific products are meant for us. Using them on your Pitbull may cause skin irritation and other issues.

3. How do I deal with a Pitbull who hates baths?

Make the bathing session as comfortable as possible by talking in a soft tone to calm them down.

You can also create a positive association in the bathroom by rewarding your Pitbull every time they step into the tub for a shower.

Use a non-slip mat in the bathroom area to prevent your dog from sliding or getting injured.

4. How to keep my pitbull smelling good?

You can maintain a pleasant doggy smell on your Pitbull by having a grooming routine and sticking to it as much as possible.

Brushing your dog will help in removing dirt and other debris material lodged within the coat, which could have otherwise caused an unpleasant smell.

Guiding your dog during walks may also help in keeping them smelling good. Make sure your Pitbull is leashed to prevent them from walking into the dirt and rolling in mud during walks.

Drying your Pitbull with a clean towel or blow dryer is another way of preventing bad odor from forming on a wet coat.

Make sure your dog eats high-quality doggy food to keep them healthy with better digestion, lack of gas, and good breath.

5. Should I take my Pitbull to a professional groomer?

It’s always a good idea to occasionally take your Pitbull to a reputable pet salon for professional grooming services.

An appointment with a skilled groomer will serve your Pitbull’s grooming needs, thanks to the specialized equipment and pet care products.

An expert pet groomer can identify skin issues in your dog early.


Taking your lovely Pittie to the bathtub once every 1 to 6 months will help in keeping them clean and tidy.

Make sure to use dog-specific pet care products when bathing your Pitbull, and dry them thoroughly to prevent bacteria growth or bad odor.

Being short-coated dogs, Pitbulls don’t need a demanding grooming routine compared to double-coated dogs like Golden Retrievers.

Several factors may prompt an adjustment in the bathing frequency of your Pitbull, but in general, over-bathing may lead to other issues.

Written By

Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.

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