9 Easy Steps for Bathing a Puppy
Have you got a mucky puppy on your hands? If so, you may be thinking about giving them their first bath and looking for some simple, easy steps for bathing a puppy.
Currently, veterinarians recommend that you should only bathe your dog when necessary because frequent bathing can cause dry and itchy skin, but when the time comes for your puppy’s first bath you will want to be prepared to ensure it is a stress-free and comfortable environment for both owner and puppy.
Managing and following these easy steps for bathing a puppy will help to create a positive bath experience from a young age. So, what are the steps?
Step 1 - Preparing
There are a couple of things you need to do before you bathe your puppy for the first time. The first is to ensure your puppy is fully vaccinated so you know their immune system is strong enough. If your puppy hasn’t been fully vaccinated, you should wait until they have and only wash them with wet wipes.
Brush your puppy to remove any loose hair which will also help them feel calm. Make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing because you will get wet! And remove anything from the bathing area that you don’t want to get soaked.
The last is to make sure you have all the essentials for bathing a puppy ready. This includes;
- Dog-friendly shampoo
- Bath/Kitchen Sink/Tub
- Hair Dryer
- Puppy Treats
Step 2 - Positive Environment
Letting your puppy get used to the bathroom environment is very important in helping them feel comfortable. If you will be using a countertop to dry your puppy after their bath, let them sit in the unfamiliar place and make sure a towel is on the table so they don’t slip off. It would be a good idea to put the hair dryer on a low setting as well so they can get used to the sound for when you dry them later on.
Let them explore their bath or where you will be bathing them. Give them the ability to sniff and investigate which will convince your puppy that the bath is a good thing - making them feel comfortable and safe.
Lots of praise and affection should be given to your puppy all throughout their bath so they know they are in a caring environment.
Step 3 - Slowly Introduce Water
Now that your puppy is familiar with their environment, slowly run the water while your puppy is not in it so they can get used to the sound and you can find the perfect lukewarm temperature for them. The water should never be too cold or hot, only lukewarm.
Drip a small amount of water on your puppy so they know there is nothing to be afraid of and place them in the tub with the small amount of lukewarm water that only submerges their paws.
Once in, play with your puppy with the water and reward with puppy treats. If your puppy is particularly hesitant or frightened, let them take their time and never force them in.
Step 4 - Wash
Use a jug to gently and slowly pour the water over the dry parts of your puppy, starting with their back. If you are using a shower head, make sure this is introduced before and place it on the lowest pressure setting so it doesn’t scare your puppy.
Talk soothingly and always have one hand on your puppy so they feel safe or you can pick them up slightly from the belly as you bathe them. You should never pour water completely over the face because it can be very scary for them and always avoid there eyes, inside of ears and face.
Step 5 - Shampoo
Always read labels of shampoo bottles before you start bathing a puppy because some may need to be diluted with water. Apply a small amount of shampoo to your hands and rub into your fingers. Then work the shampoo into your puppy’s fur, always avoiding the eyes and inside of their ears.
Lather the shampoo all over the body, including the tail, legs, belly and neck. Using circular motions while talking to your puppy will help them feel calm and relaxed. You’ll be surprised that a small amount of shampoo will go a long way, be sure not to use too much because it can be very difficult to get it out of their fur.
Step 7 - Rinse
Now that your puppy is all lathered up, it’s time to rinse. It is very important to get all the shampoo out of the fur because shampoo residue will cause itching and dry skin. Using a jug or the shower head and pour the lukewarm water over your puppy’s body, similar to when you introduced the water in the beginning, body first and rub with your hands.
Take special care not to rinse any shampoo or water into the eyes, face or ears. Use one hand to cover their eyes and the other to pour water.
If your dog has folds on the face, do not clean with shampoo or water. Instead, after bathing a puppy, wipe the areas with a clean, damp cloth or pet friendly grooming wipes like the Earth Rated Pet Grooming Wipes and dry thoroughly.
Step 8 - Drying
A clean but wet puppy! Lift your puppy out of the bath/cleaning area and wrap them in a clean towel with their head exposed and gently rub them down to remove excess moisture. Lots of praise and treats should be given to let them know what a good, brave job they have done.
It’s a natural dog’s instinct to shake which will also help to get rid of most of the water, so place them down after you have wrapped them in a towel so they can shake the water away. Dry them a second time with a towel, especially on their face which you can’t get to with a hair dryer.
Put your hair dryer on a low and lukewarm setting, NOT on high heat because it will burn your puppy’s skin and make sure the dryer is not too close to their body. Start with their tail and work your way up so you don’t scare them. Make sure you thoroughly dry all of the fur, especially under the legs.
Step 9 - Treat Time!
Reward your puppy with treats and cuddles to show them that they’ve done a great job which will help them be less frightened of the bath in the future. It is also recommended that you should place your puppy in a warm room after their first bath because they will get cold.
Remember, if your puppy is nervous, let them take their time with lots of praise and reassurance. You should never tell them off for shaking off water when they get out because it’s a dog’s instinct.
We hope that you find these 9 easy steps for bathing a puppy helpful and if you want to know more about puppy related tips, have a look at our previous blog on Top Tips and Toys for Teething Puppies.