Have you noticed that your puppy is starting to smell, but you don’t know the first thing about puppy bath time?
While bathing your dog is not as tricky as bathing cats, it’s still not an easy task.
That’s why I’ve prepared this 9-step guide to help you deal with your first puppy bath.
A 9-Step Guide to Puppy Bathing
As we all know it, puppies love to roll in dirt, mud, and puddles and can get quite messy and smelly.
Unlike kittens, puppies aren’t going to groom themselves until they’re spotlessly clean. So, you’ll have to do it for them.
The good news is that many dogs love water and don’t make much of a fuss when you bathe them.
The first time is the hardest because you’re more afraid than your puppy of what’s to occur. But if you make bathing time fun, most puppies will look forward to it.
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#1 Learn the Basics
The first thing you should know when it comes to washing puppies is at what age you can bathe a puppy.
Most specialists recommend that you don’t bathe puppies younger than eight weeks old.
That’s because young puppies can’t regulate their temperature very well and might get a chill. Instead of a bath, you can wipe the coat with a damp, warm rag if the puppy is too dirty.
Once your puppy is over two months old, you can use lukewarm water and a wet rag to wash them. After your pooch is over six months, you can start using dog shampoos.
#2 Pick the Right Shampoo
Before you bathe your puppy, you need one important thing. I’m talking about shampoo. Human shampoo won’t do the trick because it contains ingredients that could irritate your pet’s skin.
In addition to this, shampoos for adult dogs also might not be suitable for puppies because puppies have more sensitive skin than adults.
The bottom line is that you have to pick a puppy shampoo to avoid damaging your puppy’s coat. To find the right shampoo, you have to consider your puppy’s hair type.
For example, a puppy prone to dry skin needs a moisturizing shampoo. Those breeds prone to fur matting will need conditioner. Dogs with oily skin require special shampoo to reduce oil levels.
As a rule of thumb, you should stay away from shampoos that contain artificial ingredients or fragrances. Stick to those with natural ingredients such as aloe vera, oatmeal, citrus extracts, and vitamins.
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#3 Think Where You’re Going to Bathe Your Puppy
What’s the most suitable place to bathe a puppy? Usually, you’ll want to wash your dog in the bathroom because it’s the only room you don’t mind getting wet.
However, small puppies will do fine in a kitchen or bathroom sink. For large puppies or dogs, you can get a plastic kid’s pool.
It’s also possible to wash your puppy outside. But the weather should be hot enough so that your pooch can’t catch a cold.
#4 Prepare the Bath
Once you’ve decided on a location and chosen a suitable dog shampoo, it’s time to prepare the puppy bath.
Fill the sink or bathtub with water beforehand. How much you’ll have to fill the tub depends on your puppy’s size, but the water shouldn’t be too deep. Put a rubber mat on the bottom of the sink/tub to prevent slipping.
In addition to this, the water should be pleasantly warm, not hot. Dip your elbow into the bathing water to check how it feels on your skin and make adjustments if necessary.
Then gather the rest of your supplies:
- A brush
- A large cup
Put everything where you can reach them. It will be very hard to go and get something when you have a wet, slippery puppy to hold.
Check out the 7 common mistakes to avoid during puppy bath time:
#5 Get the Puppy
Now that the bath is ready, it’s time to get the puppy in it. Don’t call your puppy when you’re about to bathe them. Instead, calmly pick your pooch up and carry them to the designated area.
Before you put the puppy in the bath water, you should brush them to remove loose fur and untangle mats.
Since you must keep the ears free of water, some owners put cotton balls inside the ears, but it’s not necessary as long as you’re careful.
Talk to your puppy in a soothing voice and wet their paws before you put them inside the tub to lessen the shock. You might toss some toys in the water to make it a fun game for your puppy.
#6 Wash your Puppy
Once the puppy is in the bath and relatively calm, it’s time you get them wet. Start at the neck and work your way down.
Use a spray hose or a large cup to pour water over your pooch. Remember to talk soothingly to your puppy to keep them calm and relaxed.
When your puppy is completely wet, work the shampoo into their fur. Make sure that you don’t miss the armpits, the groin area, and under the tail. Wash the face with a rag and avoid the eyes and ears.
Rinse your puppy more than once until you get all the shampoo from their fur. If you have to refill the tub, don’t leave the puppy inside with the tap running. Get your pet out of the bath, refill it, and then put them back inside.
#7 Time to Dry
You’ve rinsed your puppy, and it’s time to get them out of the bath water. Gently pick your pooch and wrap them in a clean towel.
Dry the puppy with the cloth or use a blow dryer on the lowest setting. Keep the blow dryer at least 30cm (about a foot) away from the puppy and make sure that you don’t accidentally burn your pet.
The video below is a big help!
#8 Reward Your Puppy
Bath time is over, so it’s time to reward your puppy. Give your pooch plenty of attention and praise them for being a good dog. You should also give your puppy a special treat so that they know that bathing brings tasty food.
#9 Determine How Often You Should Wash Your Puppy
In general, specialists recommend that you bathe your puppy once a month. However, how often you can wash your puppy depends on your puppy’s coat type, activity level, and health.
For example, bathing a Labrador puppy once every few months is enough, but you might have to bath a Basset Hound weekly.
That’s because dogs with oily skin need frequent baths. But dogs with dry skin or water-repellent coats don’t. If you wash these dogs too often, you’ll strip the hair from its natural oils and make the skin dry and irritated.
Some of you will probably say, “I never bathe my dog.” Well, your dog might be one of the cleanest dog breeds, but sooner or later, the circumstance will force you to wash your dog.
So, you should get your puppy comfortable with baths so that it will be easy to wash them once they’re older and come home covered with mud.