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If you just got your first puppy, or you’re a puppy enthusiast, bathing can be an ‘experience’ the first few times. Some puppies take to it very quickly, others need more coercion. So, here are eight puppy bathing tips to make bath time a little less work and a little more fun. Let’s jump into it.

1. Ease In Gently

Some puppies will actually prefer a shower, particularly smaller dogs who may find being suddenly stood in water quite intimidating. Others will enjoy a warm bath and plonk straight down. Either way, don’t throw them in or just hit them straight with the shower, work up to it.

For more tips on how to do this check out our other post on introducing your puppy to the bath for the first time.

2. Get The Right Shampoo

Before your dog even gets wet, you want to make sure you have the right shampoo. Human shampoo, even baby shampoo, has a different pH for our skin versus a puppy. This can strip them of their essential natural oils and dry their skin out, especially in the colder months.

You can check out specific shampoos for your puppy breed, just make sure to follow the instructions. If your pup has sensitive skin, ask your vet about a therapeutic shampoo instead.

3. Check The Temperature

Probably one of the most self-explanatory puppy bathing tips, BUT we’re going to mention it anyway, always check the water temperature. Too cold and your dog won’t thank you for it, and too hot you can burn their skin or paw pads.

So, what’s the perfect temperature? Think of puppies as babies, so if you would put a baby in that temperature, it’s find for your puppy.

4. The Three Towel Rule

There is said to be a three-towel trick when it comes to washing our furry friends. You use the first towel on the floor of the tub to give your puppy more traction and less of a chance of slipping. The second towel is used for you to drape over the dog or hold up between you and the dog whenever you see that they’re about to shake off water between rinses. The third, of course, is to dry off your pup when they come out of the bath.

It might be worth buying a specific bath mat just for your puppy, because as they grow they’ll still have a little mud or dirt here and there, and you don’t want to be sharing your linen with them!

5. Use The Lead

Use a lead. In the beginning when you’re getting your pup used to the idea of a bath or shower, the lead can really help keep them in place. Trust us, they are slippery when wet!

6. Wet Dog

This tip has nothing to do with that oh-so-loved wet dog smell, but more on making sure your dog is completely wet. When you bathe your dog, you want every inch – down to their skin – wet, while also avoiding their face and ears. This makes sure your shampoo is reaching down and getting everywhere.

Note: For breeds with double coats, you’ll need to make sure you work it in!

7. Avoid Big Scents

Keep in mind that smells that are pleasant to us while bathing, such as mint, citrus, or an ocean smell (whatever that is), may not smell that great to your puppy. When choosing shampoos, soaps and even bathroom products, keep in mind their sensitive noses so that your puppy isn’t overwhelmed when coming into the bathroom.

8. Rewards

Bathing can be extremely stressful for a puppy. It’s not as normal to them as it is to us. Giving them a reward like a treat or a new toy after a bath is a good idea. If your puppy is noticeably anxious during the bath, consider bringing in treats or one of their favourite toys during bath time to calm their nerves.

You can also look at puppy bath toys to encourage play and fun as part of the process, just like you would a child!

Hopefully these puppy bathing tips will make your baths a much more enjoyable process for both you and your pup!


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