Puppies are a delightful addition to any family, so it's best to avoid life-threatening situations like baths for the first few weeks of your puppy's life.
Yes, you read that correctly, bathing your puppy too early could have fatal consequences. The reason for this is that newborn pups can't regulate their own body temperature well at all.
Their internal temperature is very delicate and any kind of sudden change could end in tragedy. So read this guide carefully to find out when your puppy's first bath should be.
How Old Should a Puppy be Before Bath Time?
A cautious veterinarian will tell you that four months is how old a puppy should be before bathing. This is because the puppy should be finished with its vaccine schedule by then.
Giving a puppy a bath where it is fully or partially submerged in water before then can cause them to get cold. Puppies can get so cold that they get hypothermia and possibly distemper as well.
If your puppy contracts distemper before it gets all its vaccines, its immune system will be weakened. This weakened immune system is bad news for puppies since their immune systems are weak and undeveloped as it is.
What's more, is that distemper can cause a delay in your puppy's vaccine schedule, making it susceptible to other preventable diseases for an unnecessary period of time.
Meanwhile, your newborn puppy will have to fight off a disease that will require more trips to the vet and even more specialized care.
Also, bathing your puppy a lot and at an age while it's so delicate can disturb the balance of skin oils that your puppy needs to maintain its coat.
Completely submerging your puppy is also risky because it can get water in its ears, which can be difficult for new pet owners to get out.
If you don't notice that your puppy has water stuck in its ear, you run the risk of the poor creature getting an ear infection. Play it as safe as possible and just wait for your puppy to turn four months old before its first bath.
How to Clean a Puppy Without a Bath
It's natural for puppies to get dirty while they're exploring and don't know what scents to avoid yet. Fortunately, puppy moms will often lick their young clean to get off any unwanted dirt or grub from the outside world.
If your puppy is not in contact with its mother and you can't find another dog to give yours a puppy bath, there are still steps you can take.
All you have to do is get a lukewarm washcloth and gently wipe away any dirt or dust that's in your puppy's fur. Make sure to provide plenty of affection and even treats during and after cleaning.
That way, your puppy won't get fussy or try to run away whenever it gets dirty. Once you've wiped your puppy down, you should dry it off with a good towel just in case there's any water still left in its fur.
You can also consult your veterinarian about how to bathe a puppy with dry cleaning options. Not the dry-cleaning like what you do with silk shirts, but special cleaning products you apply directly to your puppy's fur.
You can also check your local pet shop to see if they have pet wipes, which are great for cleaning dogs of all ages. Pet wipes are great for spot cleaning dirty paws or noses and are a great option for puppies that have allergies.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Puppy?
Before the four-month mark mentioned above, you shouldn't be bathing your puppy at all unless it gets dirty. Once your puppy does reach the four-month mark, however, it depends on your dog's breed, coat, and lifestyle.
A good general rule is that you should bathe your puppy every four to six weeks. If your puppy is an outside pet that spends a lot of time rooting around in the dirt and mud, you'll need to bathe it more often than that.
Be careful about letting your puppy out too often though. Even if it is just to remove mud, puppies aren't supposed to bathe very often.
Their skin and coats are delicate, and bathing them constantly will irritate the skin. This is especially true for any puppies that are prone to having dry skin, and excessive bathing will make dry skin worse over time.
What To Do During Puppy's First Bath
When the time finally comes, bathing a puppy will still require a great deal of care and effort. For one, you'll want to wear some old clothes since your pup is going to jump around and shake in his new watery playhouse.
You'll also want to keep the temperature of the water at or near the temperature of your puppy. This is usually something like 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once you've got the temperature of the water at a reasonable level, gently scrub your puppy all over with water. Then, rub in the right shampoo and conditioner. Each dog breed will have different needs, so get the right one.
Make sure you avoid getting water or shampoo in your puppy's eyes, ears, or mouth. After you've scrubbed the shampoo in, wash it out with water and you're done.
Bathing is Just One Part of Pup Care
After Puppy's first bath, you might think you're out of the woods, but you aren't quite there yet. Knowing how to give your puppy a bath is just the first step in knowing how to keep your puppy happy, healthy, and clean.
To maintain that health, you'll have to know how to maintain your puppy's coat in and out of the bath.
Luckily, it's pretty easy to do once you've got the steps down. After you've learned how to give your puppy a bath, the only thing you'll need is a good towel to dry them off with, so get one today!