First-time puppy owners find the experience of taking care of their furry, cuddly pets both exciting and challenging. There’s a lot they don’t know about taking care of pups, so they ask a lot of questions. And one question often asked is ‘when should one start bathing their new puppy?’ This article will answer this question by sharing the insights of the top puppy training experts at Spectrum Canine Dog Training.
When Should You Start Bathing Your Puppy?
It will help if you start bathing your puppy when they’re at least eight weeks old. Unlike older dogs, young puppies find it difficult to regulate their body temperature. So, bathing your puppy might significantly reduce their body temperature as the water evaporates. And if your puppy can’t regulate its body temperature, it might die due to hypothermia.
So, what should you do if your puppy gets too dirty when playing? You should use a dry cloth or soft brush to remove the dirt stuck on them. And if it’s dirt that needs water to remove, use a warm wet cloth to clean your puppy. Alternatively, you could opt to use dog wipes. They’re suitable for puppies over the age of six weeks.
If you’re still living with the puppy’s mother, you shouldn’t be too worried about cleaning the puppies. Like cats, adult female dogs regularly lick the fur of their pups to clean them.
Pro Tip: Build up trust with your puppy first before bathing them because first-time baths can be a traumatic experience for the young dog.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Puppy?
Now that your puppy is at the right age to start being bathed, it’s time for you to decide when your puppy should receive its bath. There aren’t any strict rules for you to follow, but there are several guidelines you should adhere to.
First, remember, like your skin, your puppy’s coat has natural oils. So too many baths will lead to a dry and irritated coat.
Secondly, rely on your puppy’s coat type to arrange the schedule of its bath time. Generally speaking, short-coat puppies require less cleaning than long coats. And that’s because long coats tend to hide a lot of dirt in their fur.
To give you a general idea of how often you should bathe your puppy, use the following rules. Puppies with dense, curly coats need a bath every two months to prevent dirt from sticking to their fur.
Dog breeds with double coats (soft undercoat and long outer coat) like German Shepherds and Huskies often shed their fur during fall and spring. Therefore, clean your puppy around the same time to remove the shedding fur.
Water-loving dog breeds with water-repellent coats like the Labradors are washed every four months. Their fur can trap moisture in their undercoat for a long time.
As for puppies with short, smooth coats, a bath every two to three months is recommended.
The third guideline is to consider the type of dirt. Dirt picked up while playing around in your house can be brushed off your puppy’s coat. However, if your puppy spends a significant amount of time playing outside, your puppy will require more than a brush down. You might have to bathe your puppy or use dog wipes.
Pro Tip: To properly care for your puppy’s health and coat, don’t prepare a bathing schedule; instead, bathe your puppy when necessary. We also suggest visiting your veterinarian or puppy trainer and asking for their advice if you’d like more information.
What You Should Expect During Your Puppy’s First Bath
If you’re a first-time puppy owner, your puppy’s first bath is an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about your puppy.
Each puppy’s reaction will be different. There are puppies who love water and will obediently take a bath. And some puppies will be restless and stressed and will try to resist your attempts to bathe them.
Other puppies will start trembling a little too much. Trembling is a sign of anxiety or creeping cold. If this happens, use a dry towel to dry them up and give them a rubbing to calm their nerves.
You should also expect that you might end up getting soaked yourself. Bathes aren’t natural for dogs. Therefore, your puppy will likely shake itself to dispel the excess water on its coat.
Your puppy might also get excited and start playing around. And others will prefer to lie down to sleep off the stressful experience.
You may notice that your puppy immediately licks its coat. It does this to restore its doggy smell. And in other cases, your puppy might start to aggressively scratch its coat or lick its paws, a sign the pet shampoo you used wasn’t the right one.
Pro Tip: Keep an eye on how your puppy reacts to its first bath. What you learn on your first try will help you make future baths enjoyable for you and the puppy.