How to Give Your Puppy a Bath

In this video, Andrew will be teaching you how to give your puppy a bath at home, in your kitchen sink!

common mistakes

There are several mistakes that we see people making when it comes to bathing and blow drying their pups, and some of these mistakes can actually be damaging to your pup’s overall wellbeing, so we want to address those.

BATHING TOO FREQUENTLY

Unlike humans, puppies do not need to be fully shampooed and bathed all the time. You should only bathe your puppy every month at the absolute most. The typical recommendation is every 6-8 weeks. Washing your puppy on a weekly – or even daily – basis is incredibly damaging to both their skin and their coat and can cause excessively dry skin and breakage within their coat. Puppies, and dogs in general, have incredibly sensitive skin, so constantly shampooing them and stripping their skin of any natural oils is very harsh and irritating to them.

USING HOT TEMPERATURES

For both the bath itself as well as the blow dry afterwards, you want to use a lukewarm to cool temperature. Puppies overheat very easily because they already run pretty warm, so you don’t want to make them sick by making them too hot. Also, as mentioned before, their skin is sensitive and you don’t want to burn them! This is especially important when blow drying your puppy, because using a hot temperature makes it very easy to burn their fragile skin and cause them both pain and potential damage.

PRESSING THE BLOW DRYER AGAINST THEIR SKIN

With humans, we typically see that the nozzle of the hair dryer gets pretty close to our scalp, and is always held directly against our hair when blow drying. This is not what you want to do with your puppy! Keep the blow dryer a good distance away, and make sure you are constantly hovering it and moving it around. Do not press the nozzle against your pup’s skin or fur, or you risk burning them and even causing “hot spots” which require ongoing prolonged treatment, and are very painful for your pup.

NOT MOVING THE BLOW DRYER

As mentioned before, be sure to always move the blow dryer around while hovering over your puppy. You never want the blow dryer to be stagnant and remain in one spot.

Materials needed

To bathe your pup, you will need:

  • Puppy Shampoo 
  • Cup to dilute shampoo
  • Cup to rinse puppy (optional)
  • Plate of treats (optional, but highly recommended!)

To dry your pup, you will need:

steps:

The very first thing you want to do is turn the sink on to get your puppy used to the sound of the sink. You can also get the water to the perfect temperature while doing this. 

Once you have the temperature right, set your pup in the sink, but do not have the water hit them just yet.

Once your puppy seems comfortable, you can start to drizzle water over them until you’re able to use the actual faucet to get them fully wet. You want to focus on the body first, don’t worry about their head or face just yet. 

Once your puppy is fully wet, pour some of the diluted shampoo directly down their spine. Then, begin to massage it in all over their body. 

Be sure to get the underside of your pup, as well as all of their legs and paws, and their tail!

Once you have thoroughly massaged and shampooed your pup, you can rinse them off. Be sure to rinse all of the shampoo out of their coat, because leaving any behind can be incredibly irritating to their sensitive skin.

Now, it’s time to wash their head and face. Puppies are much more sensitive when it comes to this part of their body, which is where the additional cup may come in handy. First, you want to tilt their head back to avoid any water or shampoo getting directly in their eyes or nose.

Then, use a cup of water to get your pup’s head thoroughly wet, and then slowly & gently pour some shampoo onto the top of their head, being extra cautious to avoid getting any in their eyes.

Just like with the body, massage the shampoo all over their head, neck, and ears. Once done, thoroughly rinse the shampoo by tilting your pup’s head back and using the cup of water to rinse away any and all of the soap.

Now that your pup is done being bathed, gently squish and squeeze any excess water from their coat to help prepare them to be dried. 

Once you’ve squeezed out the excess water, wrap your pup in a towel and start to towel dry them. At this time, you’ll also want to turn the blow dryer on. Similar to what you did with the sink, you want them to get used to the sound of the blow dryer before actually using on them. Blow dryers can be especially scary for pups, so take your time with this process!

If your pup seems comfortable, you can start to actually use the blow dryer on them. Using a cool setting, hover the blow dryer around their body a minimum of 6 inches away. Continue to move the blow dryer around, and massage their fur while doing this. This will help speed up the drying process since you are fluffing up their hair and allowing the air to flow from root to tip.

*If your puppy is still incredibly uncomfortable by the dryer, you can set it on the counter and hover them around the air flow. Sometimes being farther away from the dryer, as well as having both of your hands on them can make it a less scary experience!*

Once your pup is about 80-90% dry, you can start brushing them. So, turn off your blow dryer, and grab your slicker brush. Gently brush through their entire coat, not forgetting places like their ears or their tail, to get rid of any mats that may be beginning to form. This will also help get your pup the rest of the way dry.

That’s it! Now you know how to safely and properly give your puppy a bath at home!

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