puppy bath

How to Give a Puppy a Bath: Become a Pro in 7 Simple Steps

How to give a puppy a bath: There’s nothing more adorable than snuggling with a cute pup or coming home to their sweet welcome. Puppies are such happy, joyous creatures that it’s hard not to match their energy when you’re around them, even if they’ve done something wrong!

Sometimes, a pup’s curiosity lands him or her in a bit of a mess. It’s not uncommon for dog owners to see their young pets covered in mud, dirt, or getting their nose into something inside the house.

Such occasions call for a bath.

If you’re figuring out how to give a puppy a bath for the first time, follow the steps below.

1. Gather All the Appropriate Materials

You can’t just use your shampoo or soap to wash your dog. They need their own special shampoo, especially at a young age. Make sure you buy shampoo for puppies instead of full-grown dogs and get the one that’s appropriate for your puppy’s type of coat too.

A local pet store like this company (near me inSuffolk Park!) should carry the special shampoo you need.

2. Create a Comforting Environment

Take a moment to consider where you’re going to bath your puppy.

It’s best to do this inside in a tub or even a sink instead of outside with a hose. Your puppy is going to feel more comfortable this way, and they’ll be less likely to get distracted or fidget. For small dogs, you may want to buy a special bin and create a mini tub for them.

Try to make the entire space as comfortable as possible by speaking softly to the puppy and being cautious of loud noises. Don’t get too excited about your puppy’s first bath, as this may be received anxiously rather than positively.

3. Make Sure the Water Is a Good Temperature

golden retriever bath

Photo: Autri Taheri via Unsplash

Just as humans don’t like to shower with water that is too cold or too hot, puppies are sensitive to temperature too. They’re more sensitive than full-grown dogs, so take a second to double check that the water temperature isn’t the same as when you wash your adult pet.

The temperature makes a big difference in a puppy’s first bathing experience. Water that’s too cold mixed with air conditioning is a sure-fire way to make them uncomfortable, sad, and anxious. Water that’s too hot, on the other hand, can be dangerous for your pup.

Use your hand to test the temperature, then fill the water to an appropriate amount. Your puppy should be able to comfortably stand and sit in the water without it coming up too close to their face or even their neck.

4. Avoid Getting the Puppy’s Head Wet

Part of the reason that it’s good to leave the water at a low level is to make your puppy feel safe. The higher the water goes, the more they’re going to feel like they’re in danger or some other form of anxiety.

The other reason to keep the water at a low level is to prevent the puppy’s head from getting wet. This is one of the easiest ways to cause an infection in the eyes or the ears. Not to mention, most puppies don’t like this and they’ll create a negative association with baths if you get their head wet.

Avoid this at all costs. Focus on cleaning the puppy’s body, then worry about their head (and ears) later.

5. Play a Little Bit

Although you don’t want to get the puppy’s head wet, you can splash around a little bit and make the bath more enjoyable for them.

Some pet owners and sitters even bring toys into the mix. They’ll have chew toys or tug ropes for the puppy to play with as they’re taking their bath. This does wonders for the dog’s overall experience, and it helps you bond with them, too.

6. Comfort the Puppy During the Drying Process

Keep in mind that a puppy’s first bath isn’t over once you’re done scrubbing and rinsing them. The drying step is just as important as everything else.

Wrap your puppy in a nice towel and double wrap them if you can. Hold them in your arms and comfort them with kisses and gentle petting as you rub the towel to dry them off.

Then, turn on the hairdryer at a low level. This helps you speed up the drying process without spooking your dog with a high volume.

Don’t hold the hairdryer too close. This avoids burning the puppy’s sensitive skin or harming their coat. You want to keep it a few inches away from the puppy at all times.

7. Clean Their Ears and Around Their Eyes

Once your puppy is clean from their shoulders down, it’s time to focus on the neck and the head. Hold the puppy in your lap and make sure they’re comfortable. Be sweet and cuddly with them until they relax, then start working with the proper cleaning tools.

Note: this will vary depending on the breed of dog you’re cleaning.

Dog’s with large ears have specific cleaning needs inside and outside of their ears. You have to pay special attention to this in order to maintain their hygiene but also not damage their hearing abilities and overall wellbeing.

Dogs with wrinkly faces and big snouts will have other cleaning needs. For most dogs, the eyes should be wiped carefully with a soft cloth.

How to Give a Puppy a Bath: Make It a Positive Experience!

It’s one thing to understand the steps of how to give a puppy a bath and another to know how to make the entire experience a positive one.

Your puppy may be nervous about sitting in a small tub, or they may end up hating the sound of the blow dryer. Whatever stage they get a little anxious in, stop and be there for them. Speak sweetly, give a few pets, and keep going.

When the bath is complete, give them a treat to reward them for their good behavior! Even if they fidgeted a bit or gave you a hard time, comfort them and still give them the treat. This will help correct things for the next bath.

If you really want to do something special for your pup, consider getting them one of these awesome luxury accessories!