Puppy’s first bath: Making it a paw-sitive experience
by Ontario SPCA and Humane Society | Dog Care | August 27, 2021
When a new puppy enters your life, it’s a delight to watch them as they learn about the world around them! Giving your puppy their first bath is one of those important milestones and sets the tone for future baths as he or she matures.
Before the bath
A calm and patient pooch will make a lifetime of bathing easier, which is why it’s important to make their early introduction a positive experience. Talk to your veterinarian to determine how often your dog should be bathed. Typically, dogs only need a bath when they are dirty, otherwise a bath every eight to 12 weeks should be enough.
Begin by familiarizing your puppy with the tub. Using a non-slip bathmat, place them gently into an empty tub, with lots of praise. Repeat this process until they are comfortable.
When ready, allow them to explore shallow water in the tub, and turn on the tap to acclimate them to the noise of running water. It can be helpful to use small treats or toys to distract them, such as smearing peanut butter on a lick mat (which can be purchased at a pet store).
Be sure to keep their skin and coat healthy by using animal-safe shampoo/conditioner. Always plan to give your puppy lots of breaks. You’ll also want to stop if they become agitated or upset during their bath. Keeping the experience positive is the key.
Make bath time fun and easy by following these simple steps:
- While running the bath water, adjust the temperature to lukewarm.
- Wet your puppy’s coat with a handheld showerhead, or a jug with a handle. Start at their back/feet, then move upwards to familiarize them to the water. Avoid getting their face, eyes, or ears wet. Use a damp washcloth around these areas instead.
- Gently massage the shampoo into their coat and follow the instructions on the label. Always check with your veterinarian first before using any products.
- Once thoroughly shampooed, rinse your puppy beginning at the neck and working backwards towards the tail.
- Follow steps 3 and 4 for conditioner.
- Once the bath is finished, towel them off (or use a blow dryer on low heat if they will allow it).
- Be sure to offer praise and positive reinforcement throughout the experience.
Click to learn more about pampering your pup!
Hats off to you
To all kind-hearted and hard-working people at SPCA: hats off to you. I love animals and admire the work you do.