When Can Puppies Have Their First Bath: A 7-Step Process

“Bath time!”

While some doggies may wag their tail eagerly upon hearing those words, others may be far from excited about getting wet.

So if you are a new puppy owner wondering when can puppies have their first bath, our guide takes you through the topic step by step.

Time to roll up our sleeves!

When Can Puppies Have Their First Bath?

If you are keen to start bathing your puppy, especially if it makes or gets into all kinds of messes, you should still wait for a number of weeks before doing so.

Why? Because your puppy’s natural immune system takes about eight weeks to fully develop to fight off bacteria and viruses that could make them sick.

Therefore, groomers advise dog owners to start bathing their puppies as young as two months old but take it slowly and reward them as they develop this lifetime routine.

In the meantime, you can still keep your puppy smelling fresh by using a damp, warm cloth or pet-safe wet wipes to eliminate bad odors since grooming is one of the essentials of dog care. Also, keep an eye on their potty habits to prevent any accidents in the house.

Puppies First Bath: How to Bathe a Puppy?

We recommend that you have someone help you out with this, especially if it’s your first time, as bathing a puppy can be quite a handful! But don’t worry, we’ll walk you through it.

First things first: get everything you need within reach so you’re not running around while your poor pup is shivering in the bathtub or sink. All in all, you’ll require:

  • A brush or a comb,
  • A makeshift tub, such as the sink,
  • Coat-specific conditioner and shampoo,
  • A cup or pitcher for pouring water,
  • A clean towel and a hairdryer,
  • An extra set of hands (optional but helpful!).

Finally, get some tasty treats as a reward for a job well done and follow these steps:

Step 1: Brush the pup

To get your pupper ready for its bath, you should first brush off any excess dirt it may have collected and untangle any knots or mats in its fur at the same time.

Step 2: Put your pup in lukewarm water

Fill up the sink or tub with water that is not too hot or too cold so you don’t startle your puppy and make it feel comfortable. Next, gently guide your pup inside the sink or the tub while wetting it with the pitcher.

Avoid getting water in the puppy’s ears and nose to avoid infections, and if you accidentally do, you can use an ear cleaner to dry out these sensitive spots.

Step 3: Shampoo

Time to add the shampoo! First, build the lather on your hands before applying it to the pup’s coat. Then, gently massage it in and work through its fur until it’s evenly distributed.

Note: The shampoo bottle will instruct you how long to let it sit before rinsing, and as for which product to get, check out our detailed reviews of several quality shampoos.

Step 4: Rinse

To rinse, pour lukewarm water over your pup until the suds are gone and its coat is clean. You may need to repeat this process a few times to ensure all the shampoo is out.

Step 5: Apply conditioner

Once rinsed off, it’s time to apply a coat conditioner since your bundle of joy deserves to have a shiny coat and look its best. The procedure is the same as when applying shampoo.

Rover’s experts recommend getting a conditioner that meets your pup’s needs, and the products they suggest are developed for all kinds of pups, from short-haired sensitive breeds to long-haired dogs that shed excessively.

Step 6: Rinse the conditioner off

Again, use your cup or pitcher to pour lukewarm water over your pup until the conditioner is gone and their coat is soft and clean. You may need to do this a few times as well.

Step 7: Use a towel and blow dry to finish off

Now that your pup is all clean, it’s time to get it out of the sink and dry it off. First, gently pat it down with a towel, removing as much moisture as possible, before using a hairdryer on a low setting to finish the job. Work on those curls, too, if your puppy is long-haired.

Note: Don’t hold the hairdryer too close to the dog’s skin or fur.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Puppy?

In general, you should bathe your pupper once a month since its fur can get clogged up with dirt and oil, thus forming knots and mats, which are detrimental to its health.

Naturally, depending on your pup’s coat type, lifestyle, and any health conditions, the regularity will increase or decrease correspondingly.

For instance, dogs with curly and/or long coats may need to be bathed more often to prevent matting and tangles. Also, if you let your puppy roam free in the yard, it will build up dirt and grime much faster, thus needing more frequent wash-ups.

Note: If you notice your pup has irritated skin, take it to the vet or contact an online veterinary service that can help you over the internet.

Frequently Asked Questions

At what age can you bathe puppies?

Puppies can be safely bathed when they reach at least two months of age, with some groomers recommending 10 to 12 weeks, depending on the puppy’s breed.

Can you give a 2-week-old puppy a bath?

No. Two-week-old puppies are still too young to be away from their mother and siblings as they don’t have fully developed immune systems yet. Therefore, bathing them could expose them to harmful bacteria or other parasites that they would otherwise repel.

How many times should a puppy take a bath?

Most puppies only need a bath once a month since washing them too often can strip away their natural oils and leave their skin dry and irritated. To clean the occasional dirt between baths, simply use a wet cloth to wipe down the pup’s coat.

Key Takeaways

So, when can puppies have their first bath? Ideally, when they reach eight weeks old. While most puppy parents are apprehensive about the experience, they have nothing to worry about since they will most likely have fun while developing a healthy, lifelong habit.


1. The American Kennel Club (AKC)

2. Rover

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