How to Bathe a Puppy in the Least Stressful Way Possible

Whether you have adopted, found, purchased, or received a puppy as a gift, you are lucky to have one new addition to your family! Of course, puppies do not come with an instruction manual, and you may be wondering how to bathe your furry friend. Here a few tips on how to bathe your puppy without any stress.

Getting Started: How to Bathe a Puppy

Bath time can be nerve-wracking for all puppies, especially those who are new to the experience.

To get started, you should gently introduce your dog to the bathtub, sink, or area in which you intend to wash him or her. Offer treats to your puppy and put him in the tub. It is a good idea to applaud him for this successful step. This will help ease his mind and demonstrate that this is not an area to be feared and that it is not a punishment.

You’ll want to turn on the water. Make sure it is lukewarm. Gently encourage your puppy to explore the water. He might be hesitant initially, so do not try to force him. Rather, your words of praise at every step can help boost his confidence.

You may want to partially fill the tub up until your puppy’s ankles or just barely above them. Of course, make sure that the tub is only half full so that your furry buddy does not feel stressed out.

What Type of Shampoo to Use: How to Bathe A Puppy

When choosing the type of shampoo, make sure it is tear-free. Puppy shampoo is always the best choice, with Johnson’s Baby shampoo being a close second. We do not recommend using a dog shampoo since most brands are not tear-free and usually contain a lot of fragrance that can irritate your puppy’s skin. Most puppy shampoos are gentle on your pet’s skin and do not contain a lot of fragrances that are put into dog shampoos to reduce the odor.

How to Bathe a Puppy:  Washing Your Puppy

When wetting your dog, never place him under the showerhead or running water. This will startle and stress him. Instead, use a cup or detachable shower head to thoroughly wet your puppy. If using the showerhead, gently rest it against your dog’s body and praise him for his patience.

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Keep the water close to their skin to reduce the stress factor. If you are using a cup, keep it close to their skin. Never pour water directly onto your puppy’s face! The water can get into his eyes and may make your puppy anxious. When rinsing or wetting the face, always shield your puppy’s eyes, tilt the head back, and rinse with water pointing from the top of their head back.

When shampooing your puppy, always avoid using soap directly on your dog’s face. Do your best to keep it out of his eyes; even if it is tear-free. You may wash the top of your dog’s head and use the soap on your hands to gently wash around his mouth and nose, avoiding the eyes. Rub the shampoo into the fur from front to back; avoid making circles if your puppy has longer fur since this will cause painful tangles. Washing in a front to back scrubbing motion will remove dead fur and skin and gently cleanse your puppy.

When rinsing, make sure you rinse your puppy thoroughly. You do not want any soap residue left behind that your puppy may accidentally lick and ingest. Remember to tilt your dog’s head back when rinsing the area around the face, and you can use your hands to work the shampoo back up to the surface while rinsing. Continue to keep the cup or shower head close to your dog’s skin.

How to Bathe a Puppy: Drying Off

Gently squeeze your puppy’s legs, ears, tail, paws, and around the body to remove extra water. Never squeeze your puppy hard or pull on the fur to wring it dry. Transfer your puppy to a towel and rub him or her all over with the towel, making sure that you dry his face thoroughly. He might be slightly damp after toweling, and this is fine as long as the puppy is not dripping wet. Now, reward your puppy with lots of praise and some treats. You can even make him some tasty homemade dog biscuits for this special occasion.

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