PetDogTrainingToday is supported by readers. When you purchase through links on this site, we may earn a small commission. Learn more.

Bathing Your Puppy

Learn how to make bathing your puppy easy with this step by step guide.
a small poodle type puppy in a baby bath with the caption bathing your puppy

Check out Puppy Shampoo at Chewy.com and save 35% on your first Autoship Order.

In the initial week after you bring your puppy home, they may need a wash. Bathing your puppy if they’ve had a messy accident that needs more than wipes or a sponge is something you might just have to do.

They will require a bath at some time in their life, so early exposure may be useful. Otherwise, they’ll have a horrible experience after they roll in something filthy, such as fox poo in the future. And I assure you that this WILL happen!

Here’s how to get your puppy excited about bath time!

If you put your puppy in a huge white bathtub filled with water, they will naturally be scared. Don’t do this!

Put your puppy into the empty tub for a few seconds at a time and provide them with tasty goodies to help them get used to it.

In our home, we use cheese spread or pate smeared on the side of the bath or on a lickimat stuck to the inside of the tub to make it more fun for our dogs. It’s simpler than attempting to deal with treats and allows you to concentrate on the task at hand.

After your bath, you’ll need to clean up the mess, but it’s worth it when the result is a dog who is eager to get into the tub as soon as they know it’s bath time.

You could bathe your puppy in the kitchen sink if they really don’t like the bath, but be cautious that your wet, flailing puppy doesn’t escape. It’s possible that they’d be injured if they fell from that sort of height.

Bathing your puppy in a washing-up bowl on the floor is a more secure option.

Buy some puppy shampoo ahead of time of their first bath. In an emergency, you can use baby shampoo, but human skin pH differs from that of a dog. Regular puppy shampoo is a smart investment because it helps to maintain your pup’s beautiful coat.

What you will need for bathing your puppy

Before you begin, make sure that all the equipment is within arm’s reach. You will require:

  • Treats, squeezy cheese or pate
  • Shampoo
  • Shower attachment or a plastic cup/jug
  • Towels

If you don’t have a hand-held shower attachment for your bath, use a large plastic cup or jug to wet and rinse off your dog. Be sure to have a couple of towels on hand to dry your puppy.

It can be helpful to have someone else help you bathe your puppy. That person can give the puppy treats whilst your hands are busy. To keep your puppy comfortable, use lukewarm water and avoid splashing it around. The water should be on a gentle flow so as not to frighten your puppy.

Follow the instructions on the bottle of shampoo. Many of them must be diluted in water before being applied to your puppy. To wash your puppy, start by pouring the shampoo mixture over their back and gently rubbing it into the fur with your hands and down their legs.

Keep the shampoo out of your dog’s eyes and don’t get their face wet. If necessary, add some more water in order to spread the lather to wash your puppy’s tummy and tail region. After that, simply rinse them off with clean water as directed and you’re finished.

Drying off your puppy after bathing them

After you’ve finished washing your puppy, pick them up out of the tub and wrap them in a towel for a light rubbing to get most of the water off. Even if you do an excellent job, your puppy will shake off numerous times throughout the procedure, so you’ll end up damp.

Place a towel on the floor for them to rub themselves on. Keep them in a warm environment to dry off; puppies can quickly become chilly when wet.

If your puppy is okay with it, you may use a hairdryer on a low heat setting. To persuade them the hairdryer is a positive thing and not terrifying, offer them some goodies.

If your puppy won’t eat treats, it’s likely because they are too worried, so skip the hairdryer for now or move it far away so that they can take the treat. They will eventually get used to the sound of the dryer if you do this.

Although it is not necessary to bathe your puppy very often, if they accept this as part of their routine, it will not come as a major surprise when they need a bath.

  • Before adding any water, get your puppy used to being in the tub.
  • Use goodies, such as squeezy cheese or pate, to make it a positive experience.
  • Let your puppy explore the experience at their own speed, and be prepared to get wet!

Thanks for reading and I hope your first experience of bathing your puppy goes well.

If you have a new puppy, why not check out my article on how to stop puppy biting.

Check out Puppy Shampoo at Chewy.com and save 35% on your first Autoship Order.

Save 35% on your first Autoship Order with Chewy

We’ve partnered with Chewy to offer you the best prices on your next purchase for your dog. Simply click the button below to grab your special exclusive discount. 

A variety of dog accessories including a bowl of dry dog food, a collar and leash and a ball


Latest Dog Training and Behavior Articles

Leave a Comment