Although a new puppy might be dirty, it should not be so filthy it requires a bath. If a puppy is in horrid condition at its original home, its home environment is either very undesirable (and should be reported), or the puppy could be sick. The only reason a new puppy should need a bath is if it had an upset tummy as the result of the car ride to the new home.
New puppies should be washed only with a wet wash cloth rather than given a bath. Bathing can be traumatic and they are already adjusting to being without their mom, litter mates, and familiar surroundings, they may also be on new food too, and it all adds to stress.
New puppies can be gently bathed after 1 week in their new home (only if needed). Non-shedding breeds, and those who will require regular trips to the groomers, should be taken for their first “puppy cut” at 12 weeks of age, but only after they are fully vaccinated.
Short Haired Dogs
Short haired dogs such as Labs, Pugs, and Beagles, do not need regular bathing. These dogs do shed a lot and particularly in the spring it might be a good idea to bathe them. Scrubbing in a circular motion will release and remove any loose hairs.
Long Haired Dogs
Dogs with long hair, that sheds, should not be bathed too frequently either, bathing tends to tangle their coat, so unless it is a show dog, or one that got dirty, regular brushing is enough. Again, a bath in the spring will help with shedding. If the dog is taken to a groomer the owner can request that its coat be “blown out”, to release any loose hairs.
These dogs have coats that grow perpetually. They need to be brushed regularly, even daily, or they develop painful mats. Many people take these dogs to the groomers for bathing and haircuts. This should be every 6 – 8 weeks.
Although baby shampoo can be used in an emergency situation it is always best to stick with dog shampoo. The same applies for conditioner.
Shampooing dogs too often dries out their coat and removes their natural oils. Even humans would have healthier hair if we washed it less.
There are specialty shampoos for killing fleas, these should not be used unless the dog actually has fleas. See Related Links, below, for more information on getting rid of fleas without chemicals.
There are specialty shampoos for dogs with sensitive skin, or itching problems, however it is also important to address the cause of the itching rather than relying on the shampoo as a cure. See the Related Links, below.
Dogs who itch frequently after a bath may be allergic to the shampoo or were not rinsed well enough. Other times this can be a problem if the dog is bathed too frequently.
Use caution not to get water in the dogs ear canal. This is one of the leading causes of ear infections. Always dry the ear well. This is very important in dogs with floppy ears.
Drying the whole dog is important, leaving it wet can lead to bacterial, yeast, and fungal, growth.
Dogs who swim in lakes or ponds can be washed with plain water and dried well after to prevent itch.
Bath time is also the best time to trim a dogs nails.
Dogs frequently behave better for a groomer than for their owners at bath time, especially small spoiled dogs.
For the first bath it may be easier to add 3 inches of warm water in the bath tub and put the dog in. Water can be brought up over the dog with a cup. A hose attachment works well. Baths can be given outdoors in plastic kids swimming pools but be aware that outdoor hose water will be cold.
Small dogs can be washed in the kitchen sink.
Some areas have “Do-it-yourself” dog washes.
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