How to groom and bathe your puppy

short-coated white dog

Grooming your puppy and any dog in general involves at least bathing, brushing, ear cleaning and, if necessary, nail trimming. The great advantage of doing it regularly, in addition to keeping it clean, is that you will be able to closely examine its skin and fur, so you will notice any abnormalities in time such as scratches, infections, parasites and/or tumors, being able to treat the problem in advance and accordingly. more effective way.

It is recommended that you get him used to this activity from a very early age, since a puppy is easier to handle than an adult and, if you turn it into an enjoyable experience, you will strengthen the bond you share with your furry friend and you will condition him to feel confident. and comfortable when a veterinarian or groomer handles it, for example, when checking its mouth, ears, etc.

But… When and how can I start bathing him? Broadly speaking, we will take into account that…

Bathing with water is not recommended until at least 10 days after your last vaccination.
It is preferable to do it with dry shampoo without rinsing.
During this period, you must teach him, little by little, the objects and articles that we are going to use in the toilet.
Also start brushing him gently and reward him with positive reinforcement.
As long as your vet authorizes you, it is recommended to bathe him every 4-6 weeks.
Use exclusive products for puppies, other products could hurt their skin.

Now let’s take a closer look at each section.
Since when can I bathe my puppy?

Do not bathe him before 8 weeks of age for any reason, as your puppy will not have the ability to self-regulate his body temperature. If it’s really dirty, you can wipe it with a warm cloth.

After this period, although “it is possible”, it is not recommended to bathe with water until at least 10 days after your last sextuple vaccination since your immune system will be weakened and it would imply a very high risk if you become cold or wet . For the rest, if you are not used to it yet, the stress of the bathroom can further affect your immunity. If you can’t tolerate its smell, you can use dry shampoo without rinsing.

However, it is extremely important that, during this period, you gradually teach him the items that we are going to use in the toilet such as the shower, the comb, brushes, etc., and that you start brushing him with positive reinforcement, as a reward, to make it a very pleasant experience.
How often should I bathe him?

Once you have permission from your vet to bathe him, the frequency will depend on various factors such as coat type, breed, lifestyle, etc., but generally speaking, bathing every 4-6 weeks is recommended unless in between gets very muddy, bathes in salt water or your vet tells you to.

It is not recommended to bathe it every week because it can alter the pH of the skin, its microbiota and/or remove its natural oils, making it more vulnerable to skin problems and infections. What you could do between baths if it smells really bad is to apply a dry shampoo.
What can I bathe my puppy with?

Use products exclusively formulated for puppies. Do not be tempted to use human shampoo because it will also alter its pH and, if it gets in your eyes, they will burn and you will not want to bathe again. You could only use baby shampoo in an emergency, but don’t abuse it, their skin has less acidity than ours and, as we mentioned before, its alteration would expose it to skin problems.

Tips for your first baths

1. Get him used to grooming products in a positive way.

To achieve this, follow the following steps that, as an example, we will explain with the brush:

1. Show him the brush, and immediately reward him with something he really likes. Hide the brush and stop rewarding it. Repeat this several times.
2. Then touch his back with the brush and as you do so, reward him. Repeat this as many times as necessary.
3. Gradually and very delicately, extend the touch times with the brush until you can brush as long as you need. All this always without struggling and with positive reinforcement.

This procedure must be done delicately with all the items that you are going to use such as shampoo, hair dryer, cotton that you will put in their ears, the bathtub and even with the noise of the shower. Remember that your puppy has much more sensitive hearing than yours, so loud noises can easily scare him.

The first time you brush and/or bathe it should be a short, simple and delicate session and gradually increase the time. Realize that you are teaching them about an experience that they will have for the rest of their lives. Make him an accepting dog and enjoy being bathed and brushed!


2. Have everything you need to start the bath on hand.

Specialized shampoo for puppies, brush and/or comb, cotton to put inside their ears, towels, suitable or waterproof clothing, because you will surely get wet, hair dryer and treats.

3. Place a non-slip mat in the bathtub.

You will avoid slipping, especially when putting it in and taking it out. If you don’t have a mat, you can use an old towel.

4. Brush him and remove knots before bathing him.

Before you start with the bath, comb or brush your dog. This will remove dead hair and knots that are more difficult to manage when wet. This will also make it easier to work with the shampoo.

5. Put cotton plugs in their ears to keep water out.

Dogs’ ear canals are “L” shaped so if water gets on them, it will get trapped and could cause ear infections.

6. Make sure the water is lukewarm.

Test the heat on the back of your wrist before getting your pup wet, as this is a very sensitive area for us. Warm water will make the process more comfortable for your furry. Dogs don’t like cold water, but if it’s too hot you could burn them. Remember that body temperature is higher than ours so your experience with it is different.

7. Take your puppy and carefully put him in the bathtub.

Right after coming into contact with the water, it is likely that he will try to jump out of the tub. Try to reassure him, but hold your ground and don’t let him get away. Remember to give treats and caresses between each step. A good technique to keep him calm is to leave a LickiMat with wet food stuck to it in the tub so he can lick it off while you bathe him.

8. Wet your puppy from the back to the front, leaving his head for last and only if necessary.

9. Put shampoo on your hands, dissolve it a little with warm water and distribute it over his body with smooth movements.

Don’t rub roughly, this could stress him out. Do not wash your puppy’s face with shampoo unless absolutely necessary, and keep it away from his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.

10. Rinse well in lukewarm water, making sure to completely remove any soap residue.

It is said that a dog is not clean until the soap is completely rinsed off, so a good rule of thumb is that when you think the soap has been rinsed enough, rinse some more. Your pup is likely trying to shake himself off at this point and you are bound to get wet.

11. Take him out of the bath carefully, allow him to shake and dry him.

When you get him out of the tub, wrap him in a dry towel and give him a good massage. Most puppies will find this amusing so be ready for him to start playing with her. You can use the hair dryer, but on the lowest setting (gentle on heat and strong air). Be sure to leave it completely dry, especially if it has a double coat, because leaving it with wet hair can encourage fungal infections.

12. Take the cotton plugs out of their ears and clean them.

Take the opportunity to check your fingernails and give it a final brushing to make it perfect.

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By Lee Chun Hei