Your easy guide to washing a puppy

Many puppies freak out at the sight of their first bath. As a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to make it as relaxing and stress-free as possible for them.

The first step in washing a puppy is to ensure your fur pal feels calm and loved. After all, you want bath time to be an enjoyable experience for them and you. Give your fur baby a treat and a little cuddle or rub while talking to them in a relaxed and kind voice.

Remember, dogs aren’t supposed to be washed too frequently. Bathing your dog too often will strip away his or her natural oils, which cause lead to skin irritation. To avoid this, only wash them when they are very dirty or particularly smelly. (Such as when they’ve been rolling in rotten, washed-up fish at the beach!)

Tips for washing a puppy

Now that you’ve made the decision to give your fur pal a bath, here are a few tips that should help make washing your puppy easier.

  • Firstly, select a location to wash your puppy based on its size and the time of the year. For example, the size of your dog will determine whether you wash them in the bath or laundry sink. If it’s summertime, you might choose to wash them in a tub in the garden. Either way, ensure you have an area that is confined, such as a bathtub or an area where you can tie your puppy to make it safe. A laundry sink, bathtub or a shower with a hose is ideal for puppies.
  • You can use a rubber mat in a bathtub to stop your puppy from slipping and help make them feel more secure.
  • Be prepared. Before starting, ensure you have everything you need. Puppy shampoo, towels, collar, lead and treats close by to reward your puppy after the wash.
  • Always ensure the water is lukewarm to keep your puppy from feeling the cold.
  • Wet the puppy’s coat, avoiding their eyes and ears. Sometimes it can be best to wash their head last, as dogs tend to dislike this bit the most!
  • Massage the shampoo into the coat, soothing puppy as you go.
  • Rinse well with lukewarm water to remove all shampoo from the puppy’s coat.
  • NOTE: Using a low-irritant shampoo that’s specifically designed for puppies may help ensure a positive bath experience for your puppy.
  • Allow your dog to shake to remove the water from its fur. Towel-dry your pup to get rid of the excess water and dry its coat. If you want to avoid too much shaking after the wash, quickly placing a towel over the puppy may help reduce shaking (or at least help prevent you from getting completely soaked!).
  • Reward your puppy with positive reinforcement through a treat or your current training method.

Be aware that washing a puppy can sometimes send them a little crazy, so prepare to have some play time until your little puppy calms down.

Washing a puppy is a great opportunity to give them a general health check. Look over your dog’s skin to check for any signs of dryness or irritation, as well as lumps. Check that its gums look healthy and his or her eyes and ears look fine.

While you shouldn’t wash your dog too often, make sure you do regularly groom them by brushing his or her coat to prevents knots and matted hair.

By making bath time fun and relaxing your dog shouldn’t be too phased the next time you decide he or she needs a wash.

Grooming is important too

Washing your pooch is an important part of maintenance, but taking care of your pet requires quite a lot more.  Grooming includes hair cutting and stying, nail trimming, cleaning out ears, brushing and so forth.  Whilst you may want to give it a go at home (read about the pros and cons), a professional groomer may be a better option if you are busy and don’t have the confidence.  Find out why grooming is an essential part of your puppy’s maintenance! 

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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals

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