When Can You Give a Puppy a Bath for the First Time?

when can you give a puppy a bath

Unlike children who get themselves dirty, you cannot simply give a puppy a bath without at least a little preparation. There’s also the important issue of knowing how soon you can do this and what the right age to bathe a puppy is… however tempting it might be.

If you’re wondering when you can give puppies their first bath, here’s all you need to know, plus some bathing tips.

When can you give a puppy a bath? You can give a puppy a bath as soon as they are 6 weeks old, but this does come with some risks including water inhalation. Ideally the best age you can give a puppy a bath would be nearer to being 2 months old.

That’s a generalized answer, so please read on for the how, why, and best practice for giving a puppy a bath after birth for the first time.

How soon can you give a puppy a bath after birth?

Through acclimation, your puppy can be introduced to bathing at a very young age, sometimes as soon as 4 weeks old after being born.

However, this isn’t always advisable as there is a chance that they may accidentally get water into their lungs when they are this young. It is worth mentioning that this can be extremely dangerous or even lethal and as such should be taken very seriously.

What I recommend instead is that the age you can give a puppy a bath should mean you wait until they are 2 months old. You can then safely bathe your puppy for the first time without as many concerns as before.

Handy Hint: Many puppies will get the zoomies after their first bath and run around like crazy. Here are 5 reasons why they go mad after baths.

Having said that, many animal experts will tell you that any age after 6 weeks is okay to give your puppy a bath for the first time.

They say that after this time has passed you can then readily introduce them to the bath without as many worries over complications or danger.

Here are some more popular questions about bathing a puppy for the first time.

how soon can you give a puppy a bath
Our puppy grew into an adult dog and now loves his baths and showers.

Can you bathe a puppy at 8 weeks old?

Based on my own experience and what the experts say, you can bathe a puppy at 8 weeks old. This is the 2-month age, and at this point in their development, bathing should be relatively simple.

You can see how to do it with the guide I’ve written lower down the page.

Can you bathe a 3-week-old puppy?

It is far too young an age to bathe a 3-week-old puppy. It is best left to the mother to clean the puppy when they are this young.

How soon can you give a puppy a bath after being neutered or spayed?

Vets and experts recommend that you wait until 10 days has passed after spay or neuter surgery before bathing a puppy.

Handy Hint: If you want to bath your newborn puppy due to fleas, please read this guide instead: how to rid a puppy of fleas safely and effectively.

How do you bathe your puppy for the first time?

Whilst you might think it’s relatively obvious how you bathe a puppy, it’s not actually that simple if you want to be safe. There are some factors to take into consideration before you think about doing so.

Bathing a puppy for the first time can be an interesting experience, to say the least. Some pups will love it, whilst others will freak out and do everything they can to escape.

As you can imagine, part of this usually relates to their age; the younger a puppy is introduced to bathing the quicker it will become comfortable with it.

Older puppies will often struggle with bathing when compared to younger pups, and as such will need a lot of reassurance and patience from their owners before they begin to calm down and enjoy it.

Now that this has been explained, we can move on to the steps you need to take to bathe your pup for the first time:

Warning: When bathing a puppy, if you see symptoms of dry drowning (coughing or hacking, difficulty breathing, or extreme lethargy), get vet help immediately.

1. Prepare what you need and brush your puppy first

First things first, you should always make sure to brush your puppy before approaching the tub. You can buy a good brush for puppies on Amazon.

Once you have your brush, put the puppy on a table or somewhere they feel comfortable with. From there, you should begin to brush them gently, carefully working through any knots or tangles that they might have in their coat.

After this has been done, you can then begin to gather the supplies you need. Shampoo formulated specifically for dogs is a must (see on Amazon), as is a couple of warm towels and a pitcher.

You can also grab some steel wool to place in the drain if you are worried about your pup’s loose fur causing a blockage.

Also, if you plan to use a hairdryer make sure to leave it on around your pup before so that they are used to the sound of it. This will help them to feel less afraid when using it to dry them.

2. Bring your puppy into the bathroom

From here, you can bring your puppy into the bathroom. Make sure that the tub has already been filled, as the sound of running water can scare some puppies – and get your treats ready!

After some encouragement (and likely some struggling), you can then gently place them into the bath.

3. Gently soak them in warm water

Begin soaking your puppy in warm water using the showerhead (on a low setting) or a pitcher. Make sure you are mindful of how hot the water is as you do not accidentally want to scald them. Likewise, try not to let the water get too cold either.

4. Start to use the shampoo

From here, mix the puppy shampoo with water, and using a soft sponge evenly spread the shampoo over your puppy’s fur. Lather their body all over, including the tail and underside, and be careful to avoid their eyes and ears.

5. Rinse them down

After you have scrubbed your puppy down gently for a while, begin to rinse all of the shampoo out of their coat. Use one hand to operate the shower nozzle and the other to hold a flannel over your pooch’s eyes.

Make sure that all the shampoo has been rinsed out and after this is done take them out of the bath.

6. Then dry them off thoroughly

Now comes the drying process. Although it might be a little annoying to let your bathroom get wet, allow your pup to shake themselves before you get the towel out. This is their distinctive way of getting rid of water and should not be discouraged.

Then gently begin to dry your puppy, working slowly from their torso to their face, legs, and paws.

In addition, you can use a hairdryer on a low setting to speed this process up if you so wish. Likewise, this can also be a more efficient way to dry breeds that have thicker coats.

Handy Hint: Did you know that you can also use wet wipes to clean a puppy. Here’s how to use wet wipes safely with younger dogs.

How often should you bathe your puppy?

Maintaining a regular bathing routine for puppies is something all owners should do. Not only is it beneficial for keeping your house clean, but it is also vital for your pup’s health. Without cleaning, a puppy’s coat can quickly become a home for parasites and other equally nasty things.

Additionally, bathing is also important because it helps canines to heal any inflamed or infected skin they might have, as well as helping to repair any hairs they may have damaged.

Therefore, you should always make sure to bathe your puppy at least once a month.

However, if you so choose, it is fine to bathe them more regularly than this.

For example, if your puppy enjoys bath time you can wash them weekly, this of course depends on how dirty they are.

It is important to note, however, that some breeds can suffer from dry skin as well as other skin conditions and should not be washed as regularly as other breeds.

Likewise, dry skin is not always specific to breed, and any puppy or dog can develop it. If you find that this is the case for your pooch, then be sure to talk to a vet who can give you further advice on how to deal with the problem.

What is the right shampoo for your pup?

Picking the right shampoo for your pup will depend on a variety of different factors. For example, the length of their coat, how old they are, and if they have any sort of health condition.

There are two types of shampoos you can use on your puppy, one that can be used mainly for dogs and the other being made specifically for pups.

Although the latter is often the best choice, most dog shampoos work fine for puppies and will not have any negative effects on them. Personally I love this one I recommended earlier – buy on Amazon.

However, if given the choice, it is usually better to pick shampoos aimed at puppies as these are softer. Additionally, they are usually manufactured with a no-tear formula that is designed to be non-irritating if it gets in your pup’s eyes.

When shopping for a shampoo you should make sure to check what ingredients are in the bottle. It is best to avoid any shampoos that have artificially made fragrances or dyes contained in them, as these can irritate your puppy’s skin.

Instead, you should look out for shampoos with natural ingredients, such as lavender, citrus, and chamomile.


Knowing when you can give a puppy a bath for the first time is an important part of pet ownership. The bottom line is, they will be cleaned my their mother, so won’t need to be bathed until they are 8 weeks or 2 months old.

And believe me, once they hit that age they will need a bath from time to time! Puppies are full of personality, boisterous, and very mischievous.

Because of these traits, puppies, similar to children, have a tendency to get themselves dirty extremely quickly. This can at times be frustrating for owners, especially when this happens multiple times in the same day.

Most owners find that their puppies are like magnets when it comes to dirt, and because of this, they give up a little on maintaining their clean homes.

They begin to accept the fact that there will be regular muddy paw prints on their kitchen floors, as well as a permanent odor of wet and smelly dog wafting through the house. Puppies and dogs absolutely love to get muddy, so it’s something that won’t get better over time!

Unfortunately, trying to keep a puppy from getting dirty is usually a fruitless endeavor.

No matter what you do, they will find a way to roll in that mucky puddle or cover themselves in that mountain of dirt. Thankfully, there is one way to clean them up when this does happen – giving your puppy a bath for the first time.

You might also like…

Here are some more guides for first time puppy owners.

Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/dog-puppy-bath-water-person-girl-237193/

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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