Bathing Puppies

Bad hair day after a bath.
Bad hair day after a bath.

What Age to Bathe a Puppy

You should not bath puppies younger than 8 weeks old.

Puppies under 8 weeks can be rinsed with plain water and puppy wipes, but I would stay away from puppy shampoos. And, definitely stay away from any flea and tick shampoo.

If older than 8 weeks old, you can bath the puppy with a gentle puppy shampoo. Make sure to stay to keep the shampoo away from the puppies eyes and ears.

If you choose to use a flea and tick shampoo on your puppy, you should really wait until the puppy is at least 3 months old. If your puppy is suffering from fleas and, or, ticks, you can speak with your veterinarian about Capstar, a pill used to kill fleas and ticks on dogs. Otherwise, he may have another suggestion.

Puppy Bath

Get your pup used to baths

You want to start slowly. Get the puppy used to the bathtub or other bathing place that you will use when the puppy is an adult. If you plan on using the bathtub to wash your dog, place the puppy in the tub and offer him a treat or a toy. Make sure to make it a fun and exciting experience.

Once the puppy is used to sitting in the bath tub, and he realizes that nothing bad is going to happen, begin wiping him with a wet towel while he's still in the tub. Remember to offer treats as you do so.

After you puppy is used to the towel, bring in a small container of water that you've already filled. Pour the water over the puppy, slowly. Don't saturate him at once. Get the puppy used to being wet in the bath tub. And, once he's used to this, you can add the running water.

This procedure may take longer than one bath time experience, so be prepared to continue working on getting the puppy used to taking baths.

Bath Time Preperations

Before bathing the puppy, comb his hair and brush out any mats and tangles.

You can use a drop of mineral oil in the eyes to protect them from soap suds and appropriately sized cotton balls in the dogs ears. But, I prefer to just be extra careful around these areas.

If you're bathing your puppy in the bath tub, go ahead and fill the tub to the level where the puppy's knees will be. You can have the dog in the water if you wish, just make sure that the water's not too hot. You want the water to be around 102F, which is the average dog's temperature.

The Puppy Bath

If you have a bathing tether, attach one end to the puppies collar and the other to the bathtub. Using a cup, pour the clean water over the puppy; you can you the shower nozzle, but make sure that its on gentle.

Once the puppy's wet, apply the shampoo, working it gently through the puppy's coat for an average of 5 to 10 minutes.

Make sure not to get any soap suds in the puppy's eyes or ears. Use a washcloth to clean the pup's face and a soft brush to clean his paws.

Drain the tub before rinsing the puppy. You don't want to pour the dirty water on him. Make sure to rinse the puppy twice, just to make 100% positively sure that you've gotten all the soap off.

Drain the tub again, so that the puppy isn't standing in the water while he dries. It kind of defeats the purpose of drying the puppy if he's up to his knees in water. ;-)

If you decide to use a hair dryer, keep the heat and force on low. Make sure to condition your dog to the noise before you try to use it on him. (You can do that by having him in the bathroom with you when you're drying your own hair.)

Keep the puppy away from any drafts until his coat is completely dry.

How often should I bathe my puppy?

Puppies should not be bathed anymore than once a month. If you over bath a puppy, or a dog, you can dry out his skin.

As the puppy ages, you can increase the bath frequency to twice a month and then once a week, if you choose to. I would recommend bathing an adult dog no more than twice a month.

In order to cut down any excess odors that your dog may have in between bath times, you can use dog wipes or even baby wipes. When using dog wipes, gently rub the dog's coat with the wipe. The wipes tend to work better on short haired dogs.

You could, also, consider a dog spray. Do not use your perfumes and body sprays. Find sprays that are approved for animals.

Waterless bath sprays work wonders in between bath times, as well. You spray the product on the dog and wipe it off. Some waterless bath sprays contain conditioning and moisturizing ingredients which enhance the dog's skin and coat.

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Comments 36 comments

Jacqueline 4 years ago

Dear Whitney,

I have Tearless puppy shampoo by Hartz And i have a 2 month puppy Can i give her a bath or use baby wipes? Please respond.

Cierra 4 years ago

I have a white dog. His face is very "pink" where his hair is very thin... When we go to the beach or he's outside much I use a sunblock called Bullfrog. It comes in a stick and I can easily rub it On his face. Works very well for me and my dog. Hope that helps:-))

Candice Martin 5 years ago

My puppies are 6 weeks old, and have had fleas for the past couple of days and are itching, So does the mother, If i give the mother a flea bath and treatment would it hurt the babies? the smell or anything. What do i do about the babies? they are just starting to eat puppy chow. Actually as i am writing this they are eating ha-ha.

Lisa 5 years ago

I have new 8 week old Lhasa Apso puppy... She seems to have trouble with feces sticking to all that fur on her fanny... any suggestions? I am going to try a baby wipe and see if that works.

rorshak sobchak 5 years ago

I love baby puppies!! This was a really helpful write up. I am sure I will be getting a baby puppy again soon one day.

Thank you, rorshak sobchak

john 5 years ago

thank for the info...before i bathed my pup everyday when he is 3months irealize that it is not recommended..ok ok ok

Becky 5 years ago

Hi We have a new puppy and she is 10 weeks old, today we decided to wash her, Mum thought she was too young but find your Information really helped we are giving her, her first bath very soon. Thanks :)

Jadedbayhorse 5 years ago

Hi I have a 6 month old corgi and she is outside all day in the mud right now as the snow is melting, but needs to come inside at night. I know it's not good to give her bathes every night. What else can I do?

lauren 5 years ago

Hi we just got a cocker spaniel.He is 3 months old. I was wondering how often I need to bathe him? He is not bad with baths I love him very very much

melton 6 years ago


We just got a puppy! she is a maltzu, and will be 2 months on friday 21, where they had her in was in a farm and she is very smelly, they told me all they did was clean her with wipes but it seemed not to help the smell is very bad, can i give her a bath?

Sue 6 years ago

Thank you so much for your information on puppy bathing and the do's and don'ts! I am getting my 8 week old Cocker Spaniel next week and the first thing i wanted to do was bath it! I will be using puppy wipes for now and will follow your instructions on preparing Kalli for bath-time when the time is right!

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I would more or less recommend just using wipes instead of a bath on an 8 week old puppy. Try to keep the pup away from its pee.

sheena kristine 6 years ago

we just adopted a 2-month old shih tzu a week ago, he's very playful and loves to roll over his pee, my boyfriend and is planning to give him a bath, is it okay even he's just 2 months old?

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

You can give the pup a bath with puppy shampoo.

Yorkies, generally have a fishy type smell because they are so low to the ground. That won't ever really go away.

sady 6 years ago

I have a 4 month old yorkie I doesn't smell good what can I do? I I gave her a bath but still doesn't smell good.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

At 8 weeks, there's no reason to bathe a puppy. Start simple and easy so that you can ease your way into washing/drying. I've never used a dryer on a dog, only because I've never found a dog that liked them. I towel dry as best as I can to remove as much water as possible. I don't let the dog outside until fully dried though, unless it's for a quick "Mommy I really have to go pee" trip and then back in.

As for getting the dog used to a dryer, I'd let the dryer run while the pup is near it, so that she gets used to the sound, and slowly work the dryer closer to the dog. until you're able to use it to dry her. This will take many times not just over an hour. You can easily let the dryer run while the dog hasn't had a bath just to get her used to the sounds and air blowing. Let her sniff the dryer and check it out to get used to it.

Julio 6 years ago

Hi Whitney,

I have an 8 weeks old shih-poo, she is super hairy, I bathed her for the first time a few days ago. She surely didn't like it, I was told to use a pet dryer and I did but she was crying when I was drying her. What's the best way to do this whole process?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I would not recommend Hartz. I would recommend a natural shampoo. I have some listed above. I wouldn't recommend a spray.

Kelly Bowman 6 years ago

Hi Whitney

thanks this is very helpful. I was wondering what brand of shampoo do you recommend. I was using Hertz. And also what kind of fragrance for puppies I have pro pet salon. My puppy is 14 wks.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Just make sre that you thoroughly dry the dog before puttng it outside.

Melissa and Daniel  7 years ago

I am wondering if its okay to bathe a puppy during the cold Canadian Winter... he is sooo smelly.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Yes, the bathing wipes for dogs are fine for puppies.

Kelly 7 years ago


I just got a 10 week old maltipoo, and the vet said it was ok to bathe it with puppy shampoo like you mentioned. However, I also picked up some dog bath wipes, do you know if they're gentle enough to use on a puppy?

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

I would look for a baby sunblock, but I'm not 100% sure, as I've never had a solid white dog but am perfectly aware that they can get badly sunburnt on the belly, nose, inner leggs, and pretty muh wherever hair is thin. You really only need to use it, if the dog is outside 24/7 or if you take the dog outside for extended periods of time.

Reyhana-Cape Town, SA 7 years ago

Hi Whitney,

I have a boxer pup (8 weeks old), I was told that white haired dogs suffer from or gets sunburnt quite easily, which sunblock or lotion should I get for him?

Coraline09 profile image

Coraline09 7 years ago

Hi Whitney,

Wow, I'm hooked on your hubs! :) So true, It's been awhile since I researched "bathing your pups", it refreshed my memory. And it will come in good use with all four of my pups! ;)

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

There's really no way after the fact to tell whether you go water in the dog's eyes, ears, or nose. I just wouldn't suggest doing it again.

sy 8 years ago

i bathed my 12 week old pup in the shower with me. she is a 3 1/2 pound yorkie-poo. she put her head under the stream several times. how can i tell if she got water in ears, eyes, etc???

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

No. You should really just wait until you have puppy shampoo.

miss renee 8 years ago

I just wanted to know was it safe to use bubble bath for my puppy because I haven't had a chance to get any dog shampoo

market solution profile image

market solution 8 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

This brings back memories! We used to have a Yorkshire Terrier and bathed him in the kitchen sink. I never thought of 'breaking him in first!" We just put him in the sink and away we went. It's a good idea though. I might try it if we get another dog.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

I do hope that I've helped and congrats on the new puppy. As for ears, definitely avoid getting soap and water in the ears, eyes, nose, and mouth.

You can use the baby wipes, but I wouldn't use them as frequently as the dog wipes. In regards to any other baby products. Avoid them. Ha. Use puppy shampoo, not baby shampoo. Even baby shampoo will dry out the puppy's skin. Use a gentle, puppy shampoo. Avoid flea and tick shampoos and avoid Hartz shampoo.

China Doll 8 years ago

Whitney, Thanks for confirming we can use Baby Wipes on our puppy. My husband suggested this after we tried Puppy Wipes that are just too dry to do any kind cleaning at all (even with added water).

What other baby product can I use on him? Tearless Baby Shampoo perhaps?

China Doll 8 years ago

I just adopted a puppy 3 weeks ago, and he's sure not as clean and white and smell-free as when I brought him home... so we are looking for info on what NOT to do, like not getting water in their ears etc (he's got floppy ears)...

REALLY GLAD I stumbled upon this while looking for car info.

Thanks for putting this out here for all us inexperienced new "parents"!

Stacie Naczelnik profile image

Stacie Naczelnik 8 years ago from Seattle

I don't have a puppy, but these are such great tips. When we do get a dog, some day, I'll have to pull this up.

Cinnamon profile image

Cinnamon 9 years ago from Baraboo


This is actually a very informative and well written hub. I don't have a puppy and was just searching through hubs during some free time and came across this one. You did a great job and it is very thorough. Well done. This is why I am giving a thumbs up for you on it.


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