How Often Should I Bathe My Pug? + How to Bath & Shower

how often to bathe pugs

Pugs are a breed that have particularly sensitive skin, and this makes them prone to conditions like dryness and various other skin allergies (that they are also genetically predisposed to). This can be made worse by bathing as things like scented shampoos can act as an irritant, and frequent washes that serve to strip their skin of its natural oils.

With that in mind, how often is too often when it comes to bathing your Pug? I spoke to our vet about this to get a professional opinion, and here’s what he said about washing regularity and how often Pugs need a bath.

How often should you bathe a Pug? You should only bathe a Pug every 2 to 6 months in order to maintain a balance between their skin health and hygiene. However, the reality is this probably isn’t practical, as Pugs love to run in mud, so will need more regular baths and showers.

If you’re a dog owner, you know that bathing any dog every couple of months is almost impossible, especially if you live in a wetter climate where mud is common.

So, in practical terms, if your Pug gets his coat muddy, and he starts to stink, you need to give them a bath outside of the regular bathing schedule.

However, due to Pugs’ skin conditions, there are a few things you ought to know in order for their grooming and bathing regime to be happy, healthy and effective. 

How to bathe your Pug in 5 simple steps

Smaller Pugs can be bathed in a usual bathtub with a shower, but if you have a smaller Pug or a Pug puppy, you can bathe them in a sink with a sink sprayer.

I would not bother filling up the tub. I would instead recommend you use the shower or sink sprayer, but if you want to fill up the tub, I would advise only filling it insofar as your dog’s ankles. This means they can still have their feet touching the floor and they’re paddling, not swimming.

This is especially important if your Pug is young, anxious or not a very confident swimmer.

1. Gently wet your Pug’s coat

The first step is to gently wet your dog’s fur with the shower orsink sprayer. When doing this, you need to keep an eye on two things: the water’s heat and intensity.

The water should be lukewarm: not too hot and not too cold, and if you’re using the shower, you don’t want to scare them off with the jets! I would only turn on the shower/sink sprayer halfway, so what you have is a gentle trickle rather than an intense spray.

This is how you can bathe a pug. Start by gently getting them wet, possibly with the shower head (Image via

It is incredibly important to get the temperature and the consistency of the water right, because not only do you risk harming your Pug with burns, but you also risk scaring them and making them associate baths with unpleasant memories, feelings and sensations – making it incredibly difficult for you to give them baths in the future.

2. Use a specialist dog shampoo

Then, get a gentle, soap-free dog shampoo and use your fingers to lather and work the shampoo into the coat.

As mentioned, Pugs have extra sensitive skin, which is why a soap-free shampoo is the best option.

What is the best shampoo for a Pug smell?

If you’re wondering which shampoo Pug owners most often recommend, particularly to help get rid of the smell, it’s Wahl’s 4-in-1 doggy shampoo and conditioner on Amazon. You don’t need to buy a separate conditioner. It also helps to moisturise their skin, and smells great too.

3. Rinse the shampoo away

Rinse the shampoo out and repeat the process as many times as necessary to get all of the dirt out.

4. Use a specialist dog conditioner

Once you’re done with shampooing, get your conditioner specially formulated for dogs (scent-free again to avoid skin issues and allergic reactions for your Pug) and apply it evenly to the coat, brushing it through with a wide-tooth comb.

Give the conditioner no more than two minutes to set and then rinse again thoroughly.

5. Dry your Pug thoroughly

To avoid that nasty wet dog smell, you need to dry your Pug completely. Dry your dog with either a towel or a hairdryer on the lowest setting.

Handy Hint: If you don’t dry your Pug off completely, they will probably run about like crazy after a bath. This is their way to get water off their coat and out of their ears.

Additional Pug bathing and washing tips

Now you know how to bathe a Pug, I wanted to get into a little bit more detail about how you wash some specific parts of their body in the bath or shower.

Cleaning a Pug’s face

When you’re bathing your Pug, it is important to take steps to ensure they don’t get any water or shampoo in their eyes. The dog friendly shampoos are designed not to sting, but I don’t think it’s entirely comfortable.

One way of doing this is by applying protective ophthalmic ointment to your dog’s face before bath time.

To clean your Pug’s face, use a flannel soaked with lukewarm water (no soap!) and gently wipe every nook and cranny of the face. This includes the outside ear flaps and the corners of the eyes to get rid of any stubborn tear stains.

I would do this instead of pouring water on their face – not many dogs like this!

Cleaning a Pug’s ears

Due to the way Pug’s ears hang, they don’t get a lot of air circulation, which unfortunately makes them more prone to infections. To avoid this, a Pug’s ears should be cleaned weekly.

Specially made dog ear-cleaning solution contains ingredients that helps to break down and remove wax, as well as anti-bacterial agents that soothes inflammation and prevents infection.

You should apply this solution to a damp cotton ball and gentle wipe the inside of the ear (use a different cotton ball for each ear in order to prevent spreading infection) and check for any injuries, infection, inflammation or scrapes.

If you notice something unusual, apply antibiotic ointment and go to your vet in order to seek further advice.

Taking care of your Pug’s toenails 

If your Pug’s nails get in the way of their movement, this is a good time to get them cut. You can either do them yourself or take them to a vet or a groomer if you don’t feel confident.

It is important to be careful when you are cutting your Pug’s nails, as inside each nail is what is called the ‘quick’ – which is extremely sensitive pink flesh that holds the blood vessels and the nerves that go into the nails.

If you cut into the quick, this will cause bleeding and extreme pain for your dog. It will also make it incredibly difficult to cut their nails in the future.

To cut your Pug’s nails, use a sterile pair of scissors to avoid infection and gently trim the very ends of the nails off – this might take longer, but it is better to cut off too little than too much.

After cutting the nails, give your Pug a treat so that they have positive associations with the experience.

Caring for a Pug’s coat

Pugs have what is called a ‘double coat’, which means that there are two layers of fur. The top layer is thick, waterproof and usually a brown colour, whilst the bottom layer is softer, more sensitive and yet also dense because it acts as an insulator.

It is usually white and is more likely to shed during the winter months. Luckily, with Pugs being short-haired breeds, their coat, despite its complexities, is reasonably easy to care for.

  • Brushing: Brush out dirt, prevent shedding and distribute natural oils throughout your Pug by brushing them at least once a week with a bristle brush, a hound grooming glove or or a finer brush if you want to remove excess dirt or hair. Brush your Pug more frequently – up to three times a week – during shedding season.
  • Trimming:  Pugs don’t really need trimming, but if you choose to trim them, it is advisable to lightly trim them with electric clippers. You should also pay attention to any fur around the feet or on the pads of the feet that you might want to trim for tidiness.
  • Freshening up: To keep your Pug clean between baths, doggy dry shampoo is quick and easy to use – you just need to sprinkle it on your dog and then distribute it with a brush. You can also use a spray-on dog conditioner in order to keep the coat looking shiny.


Although you should always keep in mind the allergies and skin issues that come with owning a Pug, bathing them can be a rewarding bonding experience that helps to keep them squeaky clean, happy, and free from infection! 

With any dog, it is important to strike that balance between not enough grooming and too-much grooming. Whilst it is important to ensure your dog is clean, tidy and healthy, over-bathing can cause its own issues, making it ultimately more counterproductive.

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Here are some more guides to help you care for your Pug.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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