When can you bathe a puppy?

As soon as you start to take your puppy out and about in the world, you will probably notice they love to get dirty! They also love smelly things to roll in. Chances are, you will need to give them a bath at some point.

How early can I bathe my puppy?

You mustn’t bathe your puppy before the age of 7-8 weeks. At this age, they cannot control their temperature and will not warm themselves up after a bath. It could make them ill.

From 8 weeks onwards, the general rule is to bathe your puppy once a month. But, there are some other factors to consider when thinking about when can you bathe a puppy:

  • How warm is it? Is it Summer or Winter?
  • Does your puppy have a thick coat already, and do they get very dirty?
  • How much time is your puppy outdoors?  

You need to keep them warm and get them completely dry before they go outside, especially in winter. Keep bathing to a minimum when it is cold or if they spend a lot of time outdoors.

Top Tips for puppy bath time!

The earlier you start teaching your puppy about bath time, the better! Remember, they need to be at least 8 weeks old.

Think about where you will do this. If your puppy is small enough, the kitchen sink is ideal. Or you can use your bath. If it’s hot weather, a kid’s paddling pool in the garden can work really well.

Get everything ready in advance. Until your puppy gets used to being bathed, they may find the whole process quite traumatic. Make sure it goes as smoothly as possible by being prepared. Get the towels and puppy shampoo ready (never use human shampoo). Put something grippy in the bath or sink to help your puppy stand up - a rubber mat or even a towel will work.

Use lukewarm water and wash the body first and the head last. Try to avoid water going down their ears. This is when they start the entire body shake, soaking everyone and everything!

Choose a good-quality puppy shampoo. It is designed explicitly for puppy skin and shouldn’t cause any dryness or irritation. Rinse your puppy well and avoid getting water in their eyes and ears.

Give them a good drying off with an old towel. You can use a hairdryer at a low setting. Some dogs like it, some don’t! See how your puppy reacts.

Last of all, make it fun! Use their favourite squeaky toy and treats. You want bath time to be a positive experience and not something to be feared. 

With an Agria Pet Insurance policy, you can access the free Pet Health Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The veterinary-trained team will advise on any concerns or queries that you may have over your pet’s health – much like the NHS 111 service for people. Call free on 03333 32 19 47.