How to Give Your Puppy a Bath

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
fast facts


Bath time doesn’t have to be messy or stressful- if you start off on the right foot, baths will become a way to strengthen your bond with your pet while you’re getting them squeaky clean.

Everyone loves puppies- fun, goofy, and endlessly cute, these little blobs of joy are a wonder to have around. But even so, puppies can be fragile, gentle, and sensitive, and that requires special attention and care. Puppy food, plenty of warmth, and good hygiene are imperative – baths included. But just how do you give your puppy a bath? You should not be disheartened and afraid to tackle this task – it can be a great test of your skills in care and patience. Here’s what you need to know.

Assess the Situation

Pups can be sensitive, and you naturally want to do everything you can to make their first bath as comfortable and as simple as possible. The first thing you want to address is your pet’s breed and coat type. It is only logical that puppies with smooth coats and shaggy puppies will provide different results – and often require different shampoos and conditioners. Based on your dog’s coat, you want to get the proper bathing supplies. Longer coats – for example – might require more oil and a special conditioner.

Make It Fun

The next thing you want to ensure is plenty of cuddles and encouragement. Your puppy needs to learn early on that baths are not a scary thing – but something positive that will yield plenty of praise and a treat or two. That’s a sure way to make the whole process simpler and faster. Making your pup feel safe and taken care of is imperative even before the bath begins. After this, you want to make sure that the bath water is at the right temperature. Aim for a lukewarm, relaxing temperature. Make sure that the water is not boiling hot or icy cold – this is never good and can cause issues! Different dog breeds experience temperature differently than us, and that is why lukewarm is often ideal.

Step by Step

Until your puppy is around three months old, you can gradually transition from simple rag washes to a proper bath – with shampoo and conditioner. Always look for an approved pH balance and safe, non-toxic ingredients. It is always good to take the advice of your vet – they can recommend the perfect care products for your puppy. As for the bath, the main thing is to be gentle. Use soft and slow movements in order not to frighten the puppy, and avoid vigorous rubbing. Instead, you want to pour small streams of water with your hands and brush in the direction of their hair growth. Avoid shampooing around the mouth and the eyes, and instead, focus on the rest of the body.

The bath is complete only when all of the shampoo is rinsed away. If need be, replenish the lukewarm water to ensure that all shampoo is thoroughly rinsed away. After that, blow-drying is all that remains. It is important to use a small handheld dryer and a low heat setting. Once again, be gentle and cover all the wet areas until you are certain your dog’s coat is dry. Leaving your puppy to run around while wet can be a source of several health issues. Doing these steps carefully will leave you with a fresh-smelling, cuddly puppy – ready for new adventures.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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