Can I Bathe My Dog at Night? 5 Pros and Cons

Bathing dogs is tricky, and most owners are confused by the basic bathing rules and principles. For example, a past study shows that 56% of pet parents bathe their dogs less frequently than they should, and a whopping 60% decide whether it is bath time using the sniff test. With so many conundrums, it is not surprising how owners do not know whether night bathing is better than day bathing. 

So, can I bathe my dog at night? Depending on the bathing practices and your dog’s habits, bathing at night can be both beneficial and risky. Simply put, the bathing timing does not matter – what matters is how you arrange the bathing and which steps you practice. 

In this article, we will talk about the pros and cons of bathing your dog at night. We will review each side thoroughly. Then to make sure you bathe your dog correctly in terms of technique and frequency, we will cover some dog bathing 101. 

What Time Should I Bathe My Dog?

You should bathe your dog when it works best for you and your dog. Everyone has a different schedule, and all dogs are different. Therefore there is no right time to bathe. Namely, the “when” does not matter as much as the “how.”  

Both day bathing and night bathing have their pros and cons. Therefore, there is no universal one-timing-fits-all rule. You can bathe your dog once in the morning and then at night. Afterward, you will be able to determine which timing is better for you and your dog. 

Why Should I Bathe My Dog at Night?

Bathing your dog at night comes with several benefits – from having more time to dealing with a tired (and calmer) dog. To explain why bathing at night is good, let’s review the different pros. 

Reason number 1: Investing more time

Considering the hectic modern lifestyle, it is no secret we have more free time at night. Therefore, for many pet owners bathing their dogs at night is convenient and more practical. This is particularly true for owners whose dogs are long-haired or require extra grooming care (extensive brushing, applying different skin and coat care products, or simply dogs prone to tangles and mats). 

Reason number 2: Skin allergy lookout 

Dogs have sensitive skin, and skin allergies are a very probable scenario, particularly if using low-quality shampoos or bathing with human shampoos (which is highly unadvisable as human shampoos are too acidic and can disrupt the dog’s protective skin mantle). Bathing your dog at night will give you more time to watch for allergy signs after bathing – excessive scratching, rashes, hives, and overall discomfort. 

Reason number 3: The dog tends to be calmer 

A tired dog is a calm dog – whoever said this was 100% correct. Regardless of whether the dog likes or dislikes baths, managing it will be much easier if tired. The chances of bathing a tired dog are much higher at night. For example, if you practice two regular walks per day, when it is bathing time, you can add an extra walk, and by the time bathing starts, your dog will be tired enough to allow easy handling and a smooth bathing session. 

Reason number 4: A clean sweep 

What is more comfortable than having a bath and then going to bed feeling clean and fresh? Okay, this is more of a human thing. However, we tend to humanize dogs, so it is safe to assume that dogs would feel similar. Although dogs are prone to do some nasty things, they are still hygienic creatures, and being clean is important to them (just not as important as it is for cats). 

Why Shouldn’t I Bathe My Dog at Night?

Bathing at night is not always a good idea. Here are some of the reasons why you should not bathe your dog at night. 

Reason number 1: Hard time drying 

If you have ever bathed a dog, you know how hard (time and effort-consuming) drying can be. Even if you have a small dog with a relatively thin and short coat, achieving full dryness is easier said than done. No matter how much you try, small moisture droplets will get trapped between the hair and prolong the drying. For obvious purposes, dogs tend to dry more quickly during the day than during the night. This is because the temperatures are colder at night and because during sleep, dogs lay on one side, preventing the moisture from evaporating. 

Reason number 2: Post-bathing zoomies 

Ever witnessed a zoomies episode? Zoomies in dogs are annoying and can be quite long, especially in hyperactive dogs. A dog in its zoomies episode will go wild and do all kinds of crazy stuff. For some unknown reasons, many dogs prone to zoomies get them just after bathing. Therefore, if you had a long and exhausting day, going through a zoomies episode can be too much. After bathing, you want to dry your dog and then go to sleep, not watching your dog going hyper. 

Reason number 3: A tiring task for you 

Dogs that love bathing are easier to deal with. However, some dogs hate water or are afraid of it. In such cases, dealing with the bathing ritual can be a handful, especially if you had tons of other tasks before the bathing. All in all, bathing a dog can be harder at night. On the contrary, if bathing your dog in the morning is task number one for the day, you will have much more energy and go through the session easier. 

Reason number 4: Wet fur skin issues 

So far, we have focused on subjective issues. Now it is time to discuss the objective reasons bathing at night can be a bad idea. Namely, when bathing the dog at night, chances are the drying part will be incomplete. Dogs tend to dry more slowly at night due to the cooler ambient and trapping moisture when sleeping on the side. In such cases, the trapped droplets of water increase the dog’s risk of developing a skin infection. Remember, dark and moist places are ideal for bacterial and yeast overgrowths, which evolve into serious skin infections. Plus, the fur tends to tangle more if not properly dried. 

Reason number 5: High risk of colds 

A dog that goes out or goes to sleep after bathing without being thoroughly dried (which is harder at night) is at high risk of developing a cold. Contrary to popular belief, dogs are sensitive creatures, and being exposed to cold or even cool temperatures puts them at risk of becoming sick. This is pretty similar to what happens in people after going out or to bed with wet or poorly dried hair (the chances of getting a cold or best-case scenario and painful headache are high). 

My Dog Sleeps After a Bath

Unless your dog is thoroughly dried, going to bed immediately after having a bath is not a good idea. Namely, as explained in the cons section, bathing at night (and before bedtime) is troublesome because of two reasons – it increases the risk of skin infections due to trapped moisture and can make your dog sick because of the cold. However, if you use a hair drier or special dog dryer unit, there is no need to prevent your dog from going to sleep after bathed and fully dried. 

Is it bad to bathe my dog at night?

Bathing your dog at night can be bad in two cases first if you fail to thoroughly dry your dog or practice the air-drying method, and second if your dog sleeps outside and needs to go out just after having a bath. If your situation fits one of these scenarios, then you must avoid bathing your dog at night and start doing so in the morning or at least (if the weather is warm) in the afternoon. That way, your dog will have enough time to dry before going to bed or going outside. 

Bathing Dogs 101

Knowing which time of the day is best for bathing your dog is not enough. You also need to know how to bathe your dog – which techniques and products to use and how often to practice the bathing ritual. To make sure we have you covered and you know everything you need, we will next provide some helpful bathing tips. 

The bathing process – technique and supplies

The bathing process can be simple as long as you follow the basic steps and respect the order of actions. In case you are puzzled about what is first and what is next, just follow these simple steps, and you will have a clean and bathed dog before you know:

  • Step number 1: Shop for bathing supplies (shampoos, conditioners, brushes, and cotton balls for ear protection)
  • Step number 2: Brush, brush & brush (brushing is essential for smooth bathing – dealing with tangles is impossible on wet fur)
  • Step number 3: Prepare the setting (you need to find the perfect bathing spot and make sure your dog agrees with your choice)
  • Step number 4: Gather everything (make sure everything you need is within easy reach – you do not want to leave your dog alone in the middle of the bathing session)
  • Step number 5: Get the right water temperature (the bath will be much smoother if your dog’s needs agree with the water temperature)
  • Step number 6: Shampoo your dog (use circular motions and make sure you apply the shampoo thoroughly and evenly)
  • Step number 7: Rinsing is a must (thorough rinsing is critical as leaving shampoo residues can make your dog itchy and uncomfortable)
  • Step number 8: Dry as thoroughly as possible (as already explained, proper drying is more than vital). 

The bathing frequency 

As for bathing frequency, there are no set rules. The exact bathing frequency depends on several factors, including:

  • Lifestyle and activity level – obviously, dogs that take daily hikes in the wood need more frequent baths than dogs that spend their days snoozing on the sofa. 
  • Coat length – dogs with longer coats are more prone to matting and likely to get debris stuck in the hairs, requiring more frequent bathing, while short-coated dogs can go without bathing for longer.
  • Skin allergies and conditions – dogs suffering from certain skin conditions require daily bathing to soothe skin problems and speed up recovery. On the other hand, certain conditions prevent frequent bathing. 

Summing Up: Is Bathing at Night Good for Dogs? 

Bathing your dog is a lengthy and often challenging process. When it comes to bathing, the timing does not matter as much as the bathing rules do. Namely, any time of the day is good as long as you follow the basic bathing principles and steps. 

Since bathing at night comes with both its pros and cons, and there is no universally fit answer to whether it is good or bad, the ultimate decision is up to you and your dog. 

If bathing in the night works better for you, feel free to do it – just make sure your dog is dried before going to sleep. On the other hand, if your dog’s bathing routine fits better in the morning, avoid night baths. The bottom line, you and your dog have the final word. 

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