how often should i bathe my puppy?

How Often Should I Bathe My Puppy?

Puppies don’t come home to you smelling of roses. If you choose to rescue them from a shelter, it’s very unlikely that they are getting regular baths.

There is no guarantee that a breeder will bathe and groom the puppy often, and if your new pup needs to embark on a long journey to get to you from a different part of the country or even the world there is a very high chance that he will have soiled himself ar sometime along the way.

We completely understand that you need to bathe your new pup if he’s made a mess, but can you do it, or will regular bathing strip your pooch of essential natural oils used to protect the coat?

We’ll find out more details about it and how often you can bathe your new family member.

Bathing Your Puppy – How Much Is Too Much?

bathing your puppy – how much is too much?
Image by liilxliil on Pixabay

We’ll start by answering the very pressing question of whether you can bathe your new puppy. The short answer is yes, you can. The long answer includes how to do it and how often. The breed and coat type will also affect how often you wash your pup and the shampoo you pick.

Bath time should not have to be longer than 20 minutes (we mean the actual washing) around once a month for many dogs.

We all know that puppies are mischievous and can get up and into lots of gross places and things. If this is the case, of course, it’s okay to have bath time more often than that, but don’t do it a lot and only if you have to. Most dogs get bathed once every month or every other month.

How often should you bathe your dog?

How often should you bathe your dog?
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As said, most people bathe their dogs once a month on average, but puppies may need less than that, especially if they are still confined at home until they are up to date on all vaccinations.

We mentioned that the breed and coat type will also affect the bath-time frequency, so let’s take a more detailed look at what to consider before bathing puppies.

Factors to consider:

In general, healthy dogs do not need to be bathed frequently, and this goes for puppies as well. There are exceptions to the rule, say if your dog has skin problems or allergies.

Bath time is a good time to also check your puppy’s skin for any sores, wounds, and other issues that may be a signal of an underlying health condition.

Here are the factors to think about before determining how often to bathe a healthy dog or puppy.

Your dog’s activities

If your dog is often at the daycare, on doggy dates, and on excursions with you in the great outdoors, then he will most likely need more baths than one that doesn’t.

A pup’s fur is much softer than an adult’s and won’t require as much bathing unless he gets really dirty. Sometimes just a quick wipedown will do.

Skin and coat type

Your dog’s skin type, coat type, and length are great indicators of washing frequency. Long and curly-haired dogs will require more grooming, but not necessarily more washing.

The grooming and coat maintenance help prevent knots and mats, which eventually become so tangled they need to be cut off, and you’ll be left with a hack job.

Long-haired dogs generally need to be bathed every 4 to 6 weeks, but if your pup’s fur is considered dry, thick, and double-coated like a husky and other Spitz breeds, then you can push that timeframe for a little longer. This is because they have water-repellent coats that also repel dirt and once you brush them out, the debris is pretty much gone.

Short-haired dogs need to be bathed more frequently as they have oilier coats and can be washed every week, every other week, or every month. It keeps their skin from absorbing dirt and debris, protection that thicker-coated dogs have.

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Skin and coat problems

Then comes the need to wash much more frequently with medicated shampoo if your pooch is suffering from something such as alopecia or other skin conditions. Of course, you would only do this under the advisement of your trusted vet.

Your Puppy’s First Bath – Puppy Bathing Tips

your puppy's first bath - puppy bathing tips
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Some puppies like the warm water and the relaxing water jets from the showerhead or bathtub, but you will quickly find that a lot of other puppies run for dear life when they know it’s bath time. We have some tips to make bath time easier and ones that will prevent tangles.

  • Comb your puppy out first

By combing your pooch out first, you greatly eliminate the chances of knots when you scrub your puppy’s fur.

  • Choose a controlled space

Where you choose to wash your pup can make your time easier. Since puppies are small, we would suggest the kitchen sink or even a baby tub. You can stick a lick mat, which is a non-toxic plastic pad with nubs on it where you can put some peanut butter on top for your dog to lick during the wash.

It acts as a distractor and gives your dog a healthy snack! We’ll take a deeper dive into what places are most suitable and what shampoo to use below.


Definitely use puppy-specific shampoo. Do not use human or adult shampoo because baby shampoo is much gentler and suitable for your pup’s baby fur and skin. You can consider following up the shampooing with a moisturizing dog conditioner to keep your dog’s fur silky smooth.

  • Make sure they stay warm!

Use warm to lukewarm water. Make sure it’s not too hot and definitely not too cold because it’s easy for pups to catch a cold. When you’re done scrubbing and rinsing, wrap your puppy in a warm and soft towel and pat him dry.

  • Dry them off well

As we mentioned, you have to dry your puppy off well or he may catch a cold. Towel dry them first and then use a hairdryer on a warm and low setting. Puppies are usually not accustomed to the sound of the dryer, so try to comfort them while you do it. He will get used to the sound once you start bathing your puppy regularly.

What kind of dog shampoo should I use for puppies?

what kind of dog shampoo should i use for puppies?
Image by alektas on Pixabay

Human shampoo can contain chemicals and fragrances that can irritate your puppy, which is why we recommend always using a puppy shampoo, which has a gentler composition.

Where can I bathe my puppy?

We would recommend the bathtub, but bathing your puppy in the kitchen sink, which is smaller, will give you more control. Your pup won’t be able to run around, slip, or get into the soaps and shampoos.

You can also choose to do it in your backyard on a good day in a kiddie pool, but only if you have some sort of control over your dog’s movements. You don’t want him to take you on a sprint around the yard.

Bottom Line

Bringing a new puppy home requires a ton of work. Puppies don’t need to be bathed much unless they make a mess of themselves or get into dirty places. When you do shower them, remember to use shampoo for puppies and always dry them off completely so they don’t catch a cold!

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