Owners of mammalian pets, such as cats, dogs, rabbits and rodents, do not need to bathe their animals unless it is advised by a vet.
That is according to Dr Candy d’Sa, an animal behaviour consultant and expert witness in animal law, who said that while bathing is not essential, grooming is.
She said: "Grooming removes dirt (therefore maybe preventing infection), removes dead hair (therefore stimulating new hair growth) and generally strengthens the pet-human bond. Thick-coated/long-haired pets require more grooming, often daily.
"Many pet species/breeds have been selectively bred to have long coats purely for aesthetic reasons - these coats are often not practical and grooming is essential."
If an animal's coat has something noxious on it, a vet may well suggest bathing, she explained.
Dr d'Sa added that pet birds do need to bathe, and should be provided with a large water bowl to do this. Tropical birds, such as parrots, will also need to be mist-sprayed with water on a regular basis, she said.