How to Bathe a Puppy

A puppy being bathed in a bucket

Have you noticed that your puppy is getting a little stinky? It’s natural! He’s running around, playing and exploring, which means he’s getting sweaty in the process. If your puppy’s smell makes your nose crinkle, it may be time for a bath. 

When can I give my puppy a bath?

Before you bathe your puppy, remember that if your puppy is younger than seven to eight weeks, you should wait until giving him his first bath. This is because his little body isn’t yet ready to self-regulate his body temperature. However, if your puppy is getting a little dirty, you can wipe him down with a warm cloth to give him a quick clean.

How often should I bathe my puppy?

How often to bathe a puppy depends on a variety of factors. Is it winter or is it summer? Does your puppy spend a lot of time outdoors? Does he have a longer coat that may get dirty quicker than short-haired breeds?

A good rule of thumb is that you should bathe your puppy once a month. However, this can vary depending on your puppy. If you find your puppy has sensitive skin, you can wait longer between baths. Just be sure to choose a puppy shampoo that is gentle on the skin! Otherwise, if you find your puppy likes to roll around in mud, you can choose to bathe him more often.

How should I bathe my puppy?

Follow these tips on how to bathe a puppy for a bath that will keep you and your puppy happy:

  1. Start Early. Get your puppy used to bathing by starting early, and praising him as much as possible.
  2. Pick a Place. Sinks are great places to bathe puppies. During the summer, hoses and kiddie pools work great too. Make your puppy feel more secure by giving him something to grip on to, like a rubber mat. Assemble all of your bath supplies beforehand, you never want to leave your puppy unattended and chasing your wet puppy around the house is no fun for anyone involved. Use lukewarm water, and test it by spraying in on your wrist. Wash your puppy’s head last to minimize his desire to shake.
  3. Make it Fun. Your puppy is more likely to enjoy bath time if he’s having fun. Toss his favourite toy in the tub, or just give him lots of love!
  4. Rinse Well. After you’ve massaged specially formulated puppy shampoo into your puppy’s coast, be sure to rinse thoroughly. Just like humans, leftover shampoo can leave your puppy’s skin dry flaky and itchy. Make sure that you don’t get any water in his eyes or ears!
  5. Avoid the Shake. After a bath, puppies love to shake dry. To avoid water on your walls, toss a towel over your puppy before taking him out of the bathtub or sink and dry thoroughly. If it is cold outside, keep your puppy indoors until he is fully dry. If you’d like, you can speed up the process with a hair dryer on a warm or cool setting.
  6. Brush it out. Brush your puppy regularly between baths to keep his hair from getting tangled or matted.

Bath time can be easier if you teach your puppy basic commands and good behaviour. To learn more, check out our article on how to train your puppy. Happy bathing!

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