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When Can Puppies Take Baths

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Puppies can be bathed about four times a year, depending on their breed.
  • Puppies with dense or thick coats should be bathed every two months to prevent debris and dirt from getting trapped in their fur.
  • Dogs with double coats that shed twice a year should be bathed during the fall and spring to remove excess hair.
  • Puppies with water-repellent coats only need a bath once every four months if they are dirty.
  • Puppies should be at least eight to twelve weeks old before they are bathed in order to avoid chilling or traumatizing them.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Taimoor is a well-traveled practicing veterinarian performing duties related to pet care, staff supervision, laboratory work, and diagnoses.
Published on
Wednesday 2 August 2023
Last updated on
Wednesday 2 August 2023
When Can Puppies Take Baths
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While your furry friend can get active, you cannot avoid it getting dirty from playing around all day. So, you may wonder, when can puppies take baths, and how often can you bathe a puppy? If you have these questions running through your mind today, worry not because this article will guide you to the answers!

When Can You Bathe a Puppy?

Puppies need baths like humans, but frequently taking them into the shower is unhealthy. Doing so can deprive their coat of essential oils, leading to dry, irritated skin. In that case, when can a puppy takes a bath, or when can a puppy be bathed?

Your furry friend can enjoy soapy water an average of four times a year, depending on its breed. Yet, you will need to wash it more frequently if it is filthy. If it has a dense or thick coat, you need to bathe it every two months. It prevents debris and dirt from getting trapped in its fur.

On the other hand, dogs can also have double coats with a short undercoat and a long outer coat. You can notice that these canines can shed twice a year during fall and spring. So it is better to wash them during these seasons. Aside from the fact that it will keep them clean, it will also remove excess hair as they shed. 

In addition, puppies can also have water-repellent coats. If they are dirty, it leads them to require baths once every four months. We advise washing them less than possible because the soapy water can enter their undercoat and trap moisture.

Aside from understanding the answer to when can I bathe my puppy, you may also wonder, at what age can you bathe puppies? During those circumstances, it is best to wash your dog once it reaches at least eight weeks to twelve weeks old. Since they can get chilled or traumatized from showering at a young age, it is advisable to wipe them using a damp cloth or wipes instead.

Puppy Bathing Checklist

We have already answered your question, when can puppies bathe, but what materials and items do you need for the bathing process? Read ahead to know more!

Puppy Treats

Since bathing your young puppy can be a scary experience, especially when it is the first time, you can give it treats to help it overcome the situation. It will also allow your pup to associate showering with obtaining rewards. It will learn that it will receive treats if it behaves well during baths.


A thing you must never forget when bathing your furry friend is the towel. In this case, you can get one depending on your puppy’s breed and coat, whether it is quick or slow to dry. Consider bringing one to dry yourself afterward, for you can get wet once your dog flaps and moves around while showering. 

Dog Shampoo and Conditioner

Grabbing a dog shampoo or conditioner is crucial when discovering the answer to when can puppies get baths. However, since dogs’ skin and fur have different pH balances, it is advisable to use a shampoo that suits them. Hence, remember to choose something other than one for humans because your four-legged friend can have irritated, dry skin from human shampoo. 


Dogs of different breeds can have varying hairs, including short, long, coarse, and curly ones. Therefore, getting a dog brush depends on this factor to ensure you effectively remove loose hair and tangles after washing. It is also better to comb your puppy’s fur slowly to avoid hurting it by forcing the tangled hair to straighten up.

Bathtub, Sink, or Container

You can choose from different places to take a bath, including a bathtub, sink, kiddie pool, or any other container. Whichever one you prefer, you must expect your puppy will likely flap around and splash water. So, with that said, ensure that the surrounding area can get wet. Remove any appliances or non-waterproof things before washing. 

Hair Dryer

After bathing your puppy, it is also necessary to provide a hair dryer to dry its fur and skin. Nonetheless, we advise using it carefully because your pup can overheat if exposed to the dryer for too long or hold it too close to its skin. Also, the loud noise can scare your friend, so try rewarding it with treats to calm it and turn the situation into a positive experience.

10 Steps on How to Bathe a Puppy

So, when can you bathe a puppy? The process will only be complete if you know how to bathe a dog. Nonetheless, worry not because we have written everything you need to know below!

1. Gather All Supplies

Before starting bathing, you must gather all necessary supplies, including puppy treats, towels, dog shampoos, a brush, a bathtub, and a hairdryer. You can create a checklist to ensure that you will remember everything. Moreover, double-check if these materials suit dogs because your pup can experience unwanted consequences otherwise.

2. Make Your Puppy Comfortable

Since puppies can get stressed taking a bath at a young age, the best thing you can do is provide them comfort and gentleness. For instance, you can grab a brush and slowly graze it into your puppy’s fur. While it can remove dirt, debris, and tangles from their hair, it will also help them relax to prevent unwanted behaviors during the bath. 

3. Pick the Right Spot

Choose an appropriate place for your furry friend to bathe. For example, sinks apply best to small puppies, while kiddie pools are perfect for larger breeds. Still and all, regardless of the spot, it will be safer to ensure the surface has a non-slip rubber mat to avoid slipping on the wet floor. Furthermore, please do not leave your pup while it is still wet because it can splash water around the house.

4. Prepare a Warm Bath and Rag

Canines, especially young puppies, cannot control their body temperature. So, prepare them for a warm bath. You can fill the bathtub or sink with around 39°C or 102°F water and slowly place your pup in it. The recommended water level must be up to your dog’s armpit, for you may not want to fill the area with too much water and let your dog swim while showering.

5. Continue Petting and Giving Treats

Giving rewards and praises is one of the best ways to make bath time more enjoyable for you and your puppy. You can continue gently petting its head and body or hand out delicious treats to maintain calmness and good behavior. In that way, it will also get excited about taking showers because it knows there will be treats for doing so.

6. Start Bathing Slowly

Once your dog becomes calm, you can begin the bathing process slowly. Remember that your pup can be afraid of moving water, so try to pour some using a cup of water instead of spraying it all at once. Moreover, keep water out of your dog’s ears and eyes. You can place cotton balls in the ears and cup your hand over its eyes to protect these body parts.

7. Apply the Shampoo

After gently pouring some water into your dog, you can get your dog shampoo, add a dollop into your hand, and rub it until it gets bubbly. Carefully hold your pup by the scruff of the neck to apply the shampoo easier. You only need to ensure you clasp it gently and refrain from pulling it too hard.

8. Avoid the Face Area

As explained earlier, your pup’s eyes, ears, nose, and mouth can be sensitive to water, especially when cold. Accidentally applying shampoo to these areas can also lead to irritation, dryness, and more severe consequences. So, with that said, it is best to avoid these parts when bathing your pup and wipe them with a damp cloth or wipes instead.

9. Rinse Well

You can rinse your furry friend once you have finished applying shampoo. However, you should repeat the rinsing process if it has a thick or dense coat. Remove all leftover bubbles to avoid itchiness, dryness, and flaky skin. Also, if your pup gets stressed with water, you can give treats and many praises to comfort it.  

10. Dry Them Properly

You can notice that your dog will shake to dry itself after bathing. It may be partially dry because some parts can still be wet. You can get a towel and rub your pup thoroughly in that case. If it has a thick or dense coat, you can grab a hair dryer to speed up the process. You only need to ensure it is not too hot to avoid overheating.

How to Get Your Puppy Used to a Hair Dryer

A hairdryer after every bath is necessary since dogs can take too long to dry their hair, especially those with long and thick coats. Nevertheless, small puppies can find these things loud, scary, and confusing. They will require you to introduce it to them at a young age to make them get used to using it.

For instance, you can use the hairdryer to produce noise in the room before moving it toward your furry friend. You can also provide treats and rewards while giving calming encouragement. However, remember that this process can take a long road to be successful, so prepare with patience and kindness.

When Can Puppies Take Baths: FAQ

Can I use baby wipes to clean my puppy?

No. Humans and canines have different pH balances, so using baby wipes or any human-moist hypoallergenic wipes with your furry friend is not advisable. It only will lead to irritation, acidity, or dry skin. Nevertheless, since you only need damp cloth or wipes to clean young puppies, we suggest choosing brands suitable for their fur and skin. 

Can you give a 2-week-old puppy a bath?

No. Aside from young puppies being scared of the water at that age, these canines can fail to regulate their body temperature, leading to getting chilled or cold quickly. So, if you ask when puppies can take a bath, we recommend hopping into the shower after reaching the age of at least eight weeks to twelve months old. 

Can I bathe my puppy before vaccination?

Yes. You can bathe your puppy before going to the veterinary clinic for some vaccinations. It will help your dog take the shot without you worrying about it getting smelly and dirty afterward. On the other hand, you must not take your pup to the shower after the vaccine. In that case, you can give treats, plenty of rest, and care instead.

How many times should a puppy take a bath?

Puppies have essential oils in their coat, so frequently washing them will deprive them of those, leading to irritation and dry skin. So, it is best to bathe them four times a year unless they get filthy. Those with dense, curly coats require cleaning every two months, while those with water-repellent coats only need a maximum of once every four months.

Can I use human shampoo on my puppy?

No. According to the American Kennel Club, using human shampoo on dogs will cause them to suffer a disrupted acid mantle, making them vulnerable to bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Also, as stated earlier, humans and dogs have different pH balances, so applying incompatible products to canines will lead to irritation and dry skin, which can give way to excessive scratching and abrasion.

Unsurprisingly, puppies get dirty from running and playing around all day. Since they can spread mud or soil around the house, the best thing you can do is learn when a puppy can bathe. However, since your pup can be young, it is also necessary to know the answer to whether can you give puppies baths. Fortunately, you can re-read this article if you are still trying to figure out these things!

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