It is a common question from most owners, especially when they have a puppy: When can I start bathing my dog? Find out when and how to transform the bath into something positive in our article.
When the puppy is still with the breeder
The puppies, when they are still living with the breeder, are going through the phase of greatest curiosity and sociability with the environment. At about 60 days of age, the first phase of the dog’s fears begins, so it is important to show the puppy what a bath is so that they will not be afraid in the future.
The breeder should do this gradually, starting with alcohol-free baby wipes, letting them play on a wet towel, then in a small pool with water, prepared for this purpose. The pool should be only 1 centimeter deep and puppies should be able to discover it and approach it by themselves. It should be a positive and fun experience for the puppy.
When the puppy comes home
If your puppy has not had that previous experience with the breeder, you can do it at home. Start by breaking up the bath into fun and positive steps. In this phase, you can help the puppy, by touching the water so they can see that it is not dangerous, or you could even associate all those small steps with food or a treat that your puppy likes very much.
It is very important to do these little introductions to water on various occasions, in many sessions. And gradually make it look more like a bath until you actually use soap.
Difficulties with the bath
Dismembering the bath in small steps and associating them with something positive, such as a time to play, or with delicious dog food, is the best technique you can do. It will help you convince your pup to like the bath or, at least, tolerate it.
However, you can also apply other strategies that will make your dog more comfortable with the bath, such as letting them lick some pâté for dogs. This way, your dog’s mind can forget about the bathroom and focus on something as good and positive as pâté.
Some people bathe their dogs very often, claiming that the dog smells bad. However, the dog’s bad smell is a consequence of frequent baths, for example, several times a week, or once a week. Frequent baths spoil the layer of fat that protects the puppy’s skin, this degeneration, and its subsequent recovery is what makes the dog smell bad. That can lead to other problems such as dermatitis or fungus on the skin.
If we want a clean dog, with a good smell and healthy skin, the minimum time between two baths is 2 weeks, to give enough time for the complete recovery and stabilization of the dog’s protective fat layer. However, fewer baths would be the ideal choice. 2 to 4 baths per year is the best option for most dogs.
Brushing the dog frequently is the best way to keep them clean. Brushing removes dead hair and helps avoid allergies in allergic pet parents.
Wait for the vet’s authorization
We must always have the help, guidance, and accompaniment of the veterinarian. When our dog is still a puppy, it is the veterinarian who must give their authorization for all the preparation and contact with the water. We should wait for the green light from our vet to expose the puppy to soap for the first time. It is also important to ask the vet what is the best soap for our puppy or adult dog. Soap’s pH differs and a soap appropriate for an adult dog, might not be suitable for puppies’ skin.
Preferably, the ideal veterinarian to be consulted is one specialized in canine dermatology.
Other dogs, with different hair lengths and textures, may need the help from a pet groomer, such as Schnauzers, whose dead hair must be professionally removed because it may not fall out naturally. In other words, make sure to get the advice of a qualified professional before you bathe your dog for the first time.