How Often Should I Bathe My Labradoodle? [Expert Advice]

You love your dog, but do you know how often you should bathe a Labradoodle? Can you bathe a Labradoodle too MUCH?

As a Labradoodle owner and Poodle Mix expert, I get asked all the time about grooming and bathing. There is so much confusion out there and also conflicting advice. If you are confused – you are not alone!

By the end of this article, you will know

  • How frequently you should bathe your Labradoodle
  • The optimal steps in the bath 
  • Consequences of overbathing a Labradoodle coat
  • And a bunch of helpful quick tips for a calmer bath time experience
how often should i bathe my labradoodle
How often should I bathe my Labradoodle?

How Often Should I Bathe My Labradoodle?

Labradoodles need to be bathed every two to three weeks. This will help clean their fur and allow you to check their skin.

Dogs can get dirty really easily, and they need regular grooming to remove dirt and dust from their coats. If you don’t brush them regularly, they’ll start to look shaggy and unkempt.

Bathing your Labradoodle is not only essential to keep them clean and healthy, it helps to prevent hair knots and matting As a single coated (and low shedding) breed, Labradoodles will require deep rinsing when they are bathed.

doodle puppy having a bath
A small Doodle puppy having a bath

Regular brushing, bathing, and groomings are all different things.

  • Grooms include the trimming of the fur, and is usually done together with bathing (or directly before). But it doesn’t need to happen quite as often. Groom every 6-8 weeks for most Labradoodle coats
  • Bathing helps with both aesthetics, coat health, and prevention of skin conditions
  • Brushing for a wavy or curly coat LAbradoodle should be at least every few days (the more the merrier)

If you own a straight coat Labradoodle (shedding) you should consider how much shedding is happening. If it is a higher shedding season, you should bathe and groom your dog more frequently to assist in shedding.

Also, if your dog spends a lot of time outside, he gets dirty with sweat, mud, pollens, or sticks. He needs a more frequent grooming routine.

Bathing too often can cause your dog’s skin to dry out, stripping the healthy oils and causing him to itch. 

Bathing too often can cause your dog’s skin to dry out, stripping the natural oils. This causes your dog to itch. There are products that are 100% doggie-safe for sensitive skin, but this extra step isn’t necessary if you don’t bathe your dog too often

puppy beach grooming
Grooming for Labradoodles like Max after the beach means thorough rinsing with fresh water, followed by a Gentle Shampoo and brush at home.

Do Labradoodle Puppies Need More Bathing?

Labradoodle puppies need bathing just the same as full-grown Labradoodles. However a spot clean here and there is usually more appropriate for a puppy. They frequently make messes so a full bath is overkill and can hurt the coat.

  • Puppies love playing in the dirt. This is normal behavior. 
  • Puppies often also struggle with potty training
  • Puppies make a beeline toward bad smells and messes

So expect a lot of spot cleans and mini baths for your Labradoodle puppy.

How Old Should Labradoodle Puppies Be For Bath?

In terms of a full bath, you can start bathing your puppy when he or she is old enough to understand what is happening. Make sure you do this in an appropriate place, such as a bathtub or sink. Puppies need to learn about water before being bathed, so try to teach your puppy to enjoy baths. Do this by slowly introducing the concept, making it seem fun, and minimizing background distractions.

Bathing dogs in a smaller container makes them feel more comfortable. You should also make sure the water isn’t too hot or cold. A treat should be given once they’ve completed a task well. These small gestures all work well together to create and reinforce a positive experience.

Instead of using adult Labradoodle shampoo – go for a gentle puppy shampoo (or even some baby shampoos if they are Vet and Groomer approved).

a straight hair doodle dog that needs a bath
Straight hair dogs still can have some Poodle-esque snout furnishings. This one needs a bath!

How Often Should You Groom Your Labradoodle?

A Labradoodle needs to be groomed and trimmed about once every two months. Trimming the hair around the face, butt, and ears is important because this is where most dirt accumulates. Grooming sessions should occur when the dog’s coat starts getting too long or tangled.

Our detailed grooming guide for Labradoodles gives 11 tips for DIY grooming. It is very possible to confidently groom a Labradoodle, but it takes preparation and practice.

fresh haircut Labradoodle with ball
Labradoodles need regular grooming to maintain a healthy coat. (Image: Instagram/@thatdoodlehudson)

How to Bathe Your Labradoodle?

Bathing your Labradoodle takes longer than bathing many other breeds because of their thick coats. You should set aside some time before you bathe your Labradoodle so you can prepare everything you need beforehand.

Don’t expect to finish quickly.

Prepare your bathing supplies ahead of time so you’re prepared when you get there.

labradoodle swimming in pool with ball
Some Labradoodles LOVE the water and playing fetch

At Home Labradoodle Bathing Shopping List

  • A decent shampoo that suits Labradoodle coats (does not need to be crazy expensive) 
  • Towels (many, many towels)
  • Scissors (even though we are not grooming, in case of knots or surprises)
  • Rubber gloves (I do not use but many do)
  • Dog brush (optional) – I suggest a metal comb as well
  • Small bucket (for rinsing)
  • Tear stain remover if your Labradoodle has a light coat

The Process in the Bath for your Labradoodle

Acclimate your Labradoodle to the bath by putting some water in the bottom of a tub and allowing him to stand in it.

Turn on the showerhead or hose attachment while petting him. Make sure he sees it is not harmful and allows him to get used to the sound and feel.

Rinse first before adding any product. Sand, dirt, debris. Make sure the water gets to the skin level through the long coat.

Once you are able to get the dogs completely rinsed off (so that there is no visible dirt left on the fur and their coats are entirely wet), you will then want to lather them up with the product of your choosing.

labradoodle in a towel
Labradoodle Max enjoys a cuddle in a towel after a shower and bath

Make sure that this product is safe to use on your dog by checking with a veterinarian or by using products that were specifically designed for your furry friend. Do NOT use human shampoo (apart from some baby shampoos)

When you are lathering them up with the suds, make sure that you’re using your hands to do this because you’ll be able to feel around underneath the coat on the skin to see if there are any problems such as bumps,  itches, or parasitic tick infestations. Use this opportunity to perform your own health check.

Rinse your dog with water from the tap (or small bucket) and inspect them thoroughly before washing them again. Twice over gives a thorough and great result.

This might seem obvious, but make sure there are no more bubbles coming out of the coat. Labradoodle luxurious hair does tend to trap some soap.

Dry Time (a Challenge)

Drying a Labradoodle is hard work! You need to use lots of towels, and you need to be careful not to scare your puppy too much.

Use a hairdryer if you like, and be careful when turning it on. Also, take extra care to dry their eyes and ears. Most dogs find the noise of a hairdryer overwhelming.

You should not brush your dog’s hair when it is very wet – it will tangle and cause discomfort. Brush a dry dog only. A wet dog can be combed (blunt steel comb) though, these are so helpful.

When brushing your dog’s hair, make sure to use a soft slicker brush and a firm grip.

Brushing dogs’ coats with a thin bristle comb before they’re dry can cause their hair follicles to become irritated and may cause hair loss. Trimming dogs’ coats can help prevent this problem – but being patient and brushing once dry (or before the bath) is ideal

At What Age Should You Start Bathing Your Labradoodle?

You should bathe your dog fully when he is 3 months old. Use quality puppy shampoo and conditioners designed for puppies. (You can skip the conditioner really – but some owners like this extra step).

Before 3 months, you should get him used to being wet and having been washed. Do mini baths or fast baths for the puppy coat until this age.

This helps make future baths much easier. Even getting used to the running water and towel dry will help your dog be happier as an adult doodle during a grooming session.

Labradoodle taking a bath outdoors
A Labradoodle enjoyed taking a bath outdoors. (Image: Instagram/@ralph.the.labradoodle)

The Consequences of too Many Baths for Labradoodles

If you wash a Labradoodle too frequently, we risk damaging their adult coat. The coat needs time to grow and develop properly. If you wash your dog too often, you could damage its natural protective oils and leave it feeling rough and scratchy.

The likelihood of skin irritation or reaction to cleaning equipment also increased with an over-washed coat. Dry skin, loose hair, and irritated skin need to be monitored.

Realistically this will not be a concern for most of us. Our Labradoodle Max does visit the beach often, so he gets washed in Summer FAR more frequently than the other times of the year. We try to efficiently wash him using safe and gentle shampoo – but cut down the repeat lathering.

When winter comes round, he bathes far less frequently – but we use more shampoo and later more when he does wash.

happy poodle and a labradoodle
A happy gray Poodle and Doodle dog.

Does my Labradoodle REALLY Need a Bath?

If your Labradoodle has a lot of hair, it’s easy to see why they might require bathing more frequently than other breeds. But if you’re not sure whether your Labradoodle needs more baths, here are some signs that indicate you should consider giving them one:

  • They seem dirty after playtime.
  • Their fur looks dull and lifeless.
  • The entire coat has an odor

If you have a sedentary, indoor Labradoodle – do NOT feel obliged to bathe your dog every 2 weeks. Extend the timeframe to match your dog’s lifestyle.

muddy Labradoodle needs a bath
A muddy Labradoodle needs a thorough bath. (Image: Instagram/@ rocco.the.labradoodle)

Tips for Getting Your Labradoodle Used to Bathtime

Dogs usually don’t like baths. But if you get them used to bathing as a young pup, they’ll be happy about it later on.

That said, you can help make bath time easier for your Labrador by starting early and introducing him to water gently. Don’t force your Labradoodle to be bathed. Instead, go about doing it slowly and at your dog’s pace. Use treats and praises to introduce him to all elements of the bathing process.

A dog needs to learn how to take baths, shampoo, conditioner, wash rags, brushes, and blow dryer. It takes time and effort to teach a dog everything he or she needs to know about bathing.

  • Start with a few short baths then gradually increase the frequency.
  • Don’t forget to reward your dog while he’s learning.
  • Be patient. Dogs and puppies can take many different attempts to understand and learn a new concept.
  • Don’t forget that studies show that sometimes dog memories can be as short as 2 minutes!

Should you blow-dry a Labradoodle coat?

Blow drying is NOISY – and your Labradoodle has very sensitive ears. If you want to blow-dry your dog’s hair, start slow and work up to it.

Start by using a gentle hairdryer setting. I know this sounds ridiculous as even the quiet settings are often very intense. But as possible, build up the settings slowly.

  • Start with the outside of the legs – most dogs tolerate this the most.
  • Then dry the legs. Save the head, chest, and face for the very last.

A grooming table is an expensive but really helpful investment if your dog just HATES to blow dry. The restraint is calming (a bit) and safe and makes maneuvering around a displeased Labradoodle much easier.

mini f1b labradoodle
A mini F1B Labradoodle wearing a bow tie

Washing a Labradoodle Face [The Hard Part]

The most important area to wash on a Labradoodle is its ears. It is the only area that requires you to have a little extra knowledge and to be cautious.

We have a guide specifically about ear cleaning. A big number of issues that Labradoodles have with health and odor all relate to the ears. Ear infections are common, as are grime and mites caught in the ear hair. The Curly coat type is particularly prone to this issue.

I strongly encourage you to read more about how to wash a Labradoodle’s ears – the narrow ear canal needs special navigation and sometimes a cheap ear cleaning solution. It was the most surprising area of grooming that I have encountered with Poodle Mix breeds.