when can puppies have their first baths

When Can Puppies Have Their First Baths

Small, cute, and delicate puppies bring so much joy to our world, and it is great to have a puppy running around the house. However, they are clumsy, curious, and sloppy as well. Hence, they require you to spend a considerable amount of time cleaning. Whether it’s a potty training accident or them jumping in the mud, some parts of having a puppy are not all joyful experiences. 

To keep him cute, clean, and healthy, you need to bathe your puppy. Yet, it’s not possible when they are too young for several reasons. You should wait for the appropriate time for your puppy to take baths and do it with the proper method. Thus, you can ensure not to risk your puppy’s health and bathing time is a joyful experience for him. In this article, we’ll explain when and how you should bathe your little friend.

When to Give Your Puppies Their First Bath

puppies having their baths
Image by jenniferhoule on Pixabay

In general, dogs younger than two years of age are considered puppies, and they need tender care and nurturing. However, you don’t need to wait two years to bathe your puppy. The American Kennel Club suggests waiting at least 8 weeks before giving your puppies their first bath. The reason is that younger puppies are not capable of regulating their body temperatures yet. Therefore, they are very likely to get sick if you give them a bath before they are eight weeks old. However, not all puppies are the same. Hence, the right time for their first bath can vary depending on their growth and health condition. 

Also, the timing is crucial not only for your puppy’s first bath but all of his baths. Although baths are an essential part of caring, baths can damage his skin when given too frequently. The chemicals in soaps can strip the vital oils from the puppy’s skin and cause dryness as well as irritations.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Puppy?

frequent puppy bathing as often as needed
Image by liilxliil on Pixabay

Although the bathing frequency is similar for most, there are dozens of breeds with different needs. Generally, a puppy needs to have a bath around four times a year, but you can give them extra baths if they get dirty. Also, depending on their coat and fur type, some breeds may need more frequent or rare baths. 

If you have a puppy with dense fur and a long curly coat, you should wash them every two months. Long hairs and curly coats attract more dirt and debris than other types, and it traps unwanted particles in there. Those particles can create skin irritation and cause itching not only on your puppy’s skin but also on yours. Similarly, double-layer coats composed of a soft undercoat and an outer jacket can trap dirt a lot easier. These breeds need baths more frequently than four times a year. 

On the other hand, some breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, and other Water Dogs, which have waterproof coats, need fewer baths than four times a year. Their water-repellent undercoat keeps water and dirt from getting and clinging to their skin. Hence, their skin stays clean for a more extended period.

How to Bathe Your Puppy

this is how to bathe your puppy
Image by kengkreingkrai on Pixabay

First baths are generally a nightmare for the puppies. It’s an experience they know nothing about, and therefore they usually find it scary. However, baths are essential to keep them clean and away from harmful bacteria. As their owner, you can take some measures to make bathing time safe and enjoyable for your puppies. 

First of all, you should create a comfortable environment for your puppy and ensure he is not physically disturbed by ensuring the bathing area is warm and cozy. Afterward, certainly check the temperature of the water as well. Keeping them warm is crucial since puppies are not that good at regulating their body temperature even after eight weeks. 

Additionally, ensure being gentle and not frighten your puppy during his first bath. You should slowly introduce him to water and show him that he is safe. Since it’s not a very pleasant experience for him, your puppy will move around a lot during the bath. Hence, having someone to help you keep him calm and steady makes it easier for you and your puppy. However, if you are doing this all by yourself, you can gently hold the neck’s scruff and get the job done. Also, to keep him in place, try calming him down by petting him or giving him treats.

A Step-by-step Guide

1. Prepare the environment

puppy getting ready for a bath
Image by Pexels on Pixabay

Before bathing your puppy, ensure to put together all the necessary supplies and set the place. It would be best to wash your puppy in the shower or bathtub. However, you can use the sink if your dog is a small breed. After deciding where to bathe your puppy, you can start with warming up the room. Afterward, get your puppy’s towel, comb, and shampoo ready.

Since the pH levels and needs of the puppies’ skins and ours are different, you should use specialized shampoos specifically made for puppies. The regular shampoo you use can make the puppy’s skin dry and irritated. Also, you should get a special comb suitable for your puppy’s fur and coat type to make sure not to hurt him while combing the hair. Put all these supplies where you can reach them quickly, and ensure there’s enough space for you and your puppy to move around comfortably.

2. Comb your puppies coat

comb puppies coat
Image by alektas on Pixabay

Combing the coat before bathing your puppy is essential. First, it eliminates any tangling that will get much more difficult to detangle when the fur is wet. Secondly, it helps smooth the outer coat so that the water and shampoo can reach every part of your puppy’s fur and skin. Consequently, washing requires less effort and takes less time. Additionally, combing before introducing to water makes your puppy feel calmer and more comfortable.

3. Prepare the bath

preparing bath water temperature for the puppy
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

After making the required preparations, you can start bathing your puppy. The first thing you need to do is adjust the water temperature. The water should be mildly warm and around 102 Fahrenheit. You can test the water by pouring it into the inner side of your arm. It shouldn’t be too hot. Also, if your puppy starts to shiver after being in the water for a minute or two, it means that the water is not warm enough.

After setting the temperature, get your puppy ready to get into the water. That means covering the ears to prevent water from getting in them. Puppies have very sensitive ears. If water enters them, your puppy may get an ear infection. You can keep their ears safe by placing cotton balls in them. However, be careful not to place them too deep into the ears.

4.Get your puppy into water

soaking puppy with warm water
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

The fundamental thing to pay attention to while introducing your puppy to water is not to suddenly pour or spray water on your puppy. You should slowly get the puppy into the water, starting from the paws. Afterward, carefully move toward the body and the head. Even though the ears are covered, you still need to keep them from directly contacting water. Additionally, you should be careful about your puppy’s eyes and not get water in them.

5. Shampoo and rinse 

puppy shampoo and rinsing afterwards
Image by alektas on Pixabay

After getting your puppy’s fur thoroughly wet, you can start shampooing him carefully. You can get a little bit of shampoo on your hand or pour it directly on your puppy’s body. Then slowly massage and lather up all over the body, including his tail and under his paws. After carefully shampooing your puppy, start rinsing. You should rinse your puppy’s fur a couple of times to ensure no residue is left. If there is any shampoo left on your puppy’s skin, it may cause rashes or irritations. While rinsing your puppy, you can give him a few treats. Hence, he would be more cooperative and more willing to take a bath the next time.

6. Dry your puppy

drying puppy after bathing
Photo by Alexander Puffer on Unsplash

Before you get to dry your puppy, he will start shaking. It is in all dogs’ nature to shake themselves when they are wet. Hence, you should be ready for that and keep him in the bathtub or shower until he’s done shaking. Afterward, you can proceed with drying him with a towel. You should gently rub the towel on your puppy’s body and pay special attention to his ears under his paws to ensure they are not left wet. 

Also, drying with a towel is not enough in most cases, so you need to use a hairdryer, which can be scary for your puppy. Set the hair dryer to the lowest heat and slowly dry your puppy without getting too close to his skin. Giving him treats at the same time might ease your job.


Even though it’s not frequent, bathing is essential for puppies. Puppies can have their first bath when they are eight weeks old. Since they are still very gentle at that age, you should pay attention to specific points and show some extra care during their first baths. After the first bath, you only need to bathe your puppy three or four times a year, depending on the breed and coat thickness. Make sure the baths are warm and cozy, and your puppy feels comfortable during them.

Similar Posts