Young puppies get rather messy when weaning from their mothers milk onto puppy food and also when toilet training, which makes hygiene washes and baths a very important part of caring for a young and developing puppy.
Your breeder will have started this type of care for so many reasons, as washing and bathing a litter helps with human contact socialisation and is important for general hygiene care. Your puppy will get used to human handling, water, drying, combing and possible trimming if required for the breed of dog.
Your puppy or growing dogs coat requires natural oils to help it stay in good condition which keeps it soft and healthy, so therefore a guideline of approximately every 4 weeks to bath a dog gives owners a guide. Bathing guidelines also depend on your dog’s coat type, so always ask a professional groomer or find out about caring for your breeds coat as some coats require more or less care and maintenance than others. A puppys coat will get messing in the early days, so more frequent bathing may be necessary.
Consider using quality products when bathing your puppy and also consider your breed as some breeds suffer from allergies, skin problems and have more delicate coats. Its wise to consider the type, length, texture and skin type of your puppy when purchasing dog shampoos and conditioners.
Keeping your puppy clean is important to avoid germs, bacteria and unwanted odours, although puppies do get dirty and this is all part of their learning and investigating when young.
There are two methods of keeping your puppy clean which include a hygiene wash or a puppy bath, and whichever method carried out needs to be a good experience for your young puppy as this type of care is on going with puppy and dog ownership.
A hygiene wash may be all that is needed for a young puppy when house training, especially if your breed of dog has a longer length or growing coat then urine or possible faeces may get onto the coat after toileting, plus paws may get dirty from outside play or possibly from walking in things they shouldn’t do such as their toilet mess or lots of mud.
This type of freshen up wash may include washing the rear end, inside back legs and possibly the undercarriage of your puppy, along with washing their paws. This method of washing can be carried out using a lukewarm bowl of water or in a sink, depending on the size of your puppy. It’s a freshen up wash to ensure your puppy is kept clean in certain areas without having to give your puppy a full bath too often, as frequent bathing is not always necessary, plus may not be good for your puppy’s skin or coat and would be continuous theefore very time consuming for you as an owner.
Bathing your puppy should be a nice experience for both owner and puppy, and a great trust and bond will come out of this essential part of puppy care. The aim of bathing your puppy is to get your puppy fully washed and clean as smoothly as possible, whilst concentrating on any especially dirty areas. Not all breeds need a full bath regularly so please do speak to your vet and groomer about your breeds coat type to ensure you are caring for your puppy in the best way possible.
Puppy Bathing Tips
- Introduction to puppy bathing should be calm, confident and a hassle free experience, make it enjoyable and relaxing for your puppy with lots of praise and reassurance throughout bathing and drying.
- Being prepared will help speed up the bathing and also make it a smoother experience for you and your puppy. Get a towel, shampoo, possibly a beaker or cup to pour water over your puppy’s back and possibly a hair dryer ready in advance.
- Consider the size of your puppy as you may be able to bath your puppy in a sink, plastic baby bath, in your bath or shower.
- Prepare lukewarm soapy water by adding a quality puppy or dog shampoo into the water or ensure your shower is set up and ready for your puppy’s wash.
- A slow and confident introduction to water may be needed.
- Apply shampoo and massage well into you puppy’s coat and always rinse well.
- Ensure shampoo does not get into your puppy’s eyes as this may cause irritation and take much care when washing around your puppy’s ears.
- Your puppy may shake off the water from their coat when out of the water, which is a natural reaction for canines.
- Consider the best method for drying your puppy’s coat, either a warm towel rub or using a hair dryer. A dog hair dryer or dog blasters may be worth considering as your puppy grows into an adult dog.
- If using a hairdryer ensure the heat setting is on a low to moderate heat to avoid too much heat or potentially burning your puppy. Keep the hair dryer some distance away from the coat and remember your puppy may be sensitive to having around the face and muzzle area dried.
This may be a new experience for your young puppy therefore it may be a little bit scary at first, or seem like a game to an inquisitive puppy, but overtime it will be all part of your puppy’s care routine. If your puppy seems nervous then much reassurance may be needed, keep an upbeat happy tone to your voice, make sure he/she feels secure and make the experience as calm as possible. If your puppy thinks this is a fun time to play such as trying to play or chew with the towel, shampoo bottle or hair dryer cable, remember you are in control and with patience and guidance your puppy will soon learn this is fun but not necessary a time for playing.
Most puppies experience bathing from a young age and learn very quickly. If as an owner you don’t feel comfortable with bathing your puppy then do take them to a professional groomer to have exposure to this experience from a young age, as each visit will slowly reassure and socialise your puppy to puppy bathing and grooming.
Puppy Hygiene Trimming
Some long hair breeds have rapid hair growth from a young age, therefore to help with hygiene a puppy hygiene trim may be needed which may include trimming the hair around the anus, inner legs and possibly undercarriage.
For some long hair breeds paw pad trimming may also be necessary and young puppies may need their growing claws cut too. Around or over your puppy’s eyes may require a small amount of trimming which allows some breeds to see clearly as they be growing a fringe if they have a fully or longer coat type.