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First Bath for Puppy: A Step-by-Step Guide (Plus 6 Tips)

Last updated on December 18th, 2023 at 02:36 am

Bathing puppies sounds easy, but the reality is that cleaning them comes with challenges. It’s normal for new dog parents to have questions like when can you have the first bath for puppy? We will break it down for you in this article. Also, give you a step-by-step guide and handy tips to bathe your puppy at home like an expert.

When can puppies have their first bath?

Puppies can have their first bath until they’re at least 8 weeks old, as it establishes a life-long routine. 

How often to bathe a puppy?

A general rule is to bathe your puppy every four weeks. However, this can change based on their coat type, lifestyle or activity level, and skin conditions. Some people say that if you can no longer hug your dog, it might be time to take a shower.

What will you need for your puppy’s first bath?

A puppy’s bathing routine doesn’t have to be complicated. All you’ll need for your puppy’s first bath is:

    1. Suitable puppy brush
    2. Puppy shampoo, conditioner
    3. A dog bathtub
    4. A soft pet towel
    5. Dog dryer
    6. Plenty of puppy rewards

First bath for puppy: How to bathe a puppy at home?

first bath for puppy

It’s a good idea to give your puppy a bath when they first arrive home to provide them a fresh and clean start to their new life. Here is a step-by-step guide to bathing your puppy at home without any unnecessary complications:

Step 1: Provide treats and cuddles

Treats and cuddles will help your puppy feel safe, comfortable, and excited for the next bath because they know that they can get a lot of rewards.

Step 2: Brush your puppy gently

Brush your puppy’s coat slowly before bathing them to calm them down. It also helps to remove dirt, undercoat, nipples, and foreign bodies.

Step 3: Place them in the bath

Proceed to place your puppy in a decent-sized dog bath or container.

Step 4: Wet their coat by soaking them in warm water

Test the water temperature first to ensure it’s lukewarm before you soak them in. Use lukewarm water and let it run until it reaches your dog’s knee level. Do not overfill the tub, as this may frighten your dog.

Step 5: Prepare the puppy shampoo

Mix the puppy shampoo and water in a bowl. Read the label carefully because some shampoos must be diluted, while medicated shampoos may need a few minutes to activate. Then apply a small amount of shampoo to their coat. Lather the entire body, avoiding the eyes and ears.

Step 6: Massage your puppy

first bath for puppy

Bathing a puppy under six months old is similar to bathing a human infant. You must be gentle. Don’t scrub. Instead, use soft water and gentle hand motions in the same direction as your puppy’s hair grows to massage.

Step 7: Rinse shampoo thoroughly

It’s important to rinse the shampoo thoroughly to remove all the soap. You can use a cup to wash behind the ears carefully and in other hard-to-reach places.

Step 8: Don’t forget the conditioner

The most important part of a dog’s body is its skin and coat. Shampoo strips out moisture, so dogs need conditioner to keep their skin and coat from drying out.

Step 9: Rinse conditioner thoroughly 

Rinse your dog well, just like you did with the shampoo. Make sure all products are removed from their coat.

Step 10: Blot your puppy with a towel

Once the bath is complete, dry them with a towel to remove excessive moisture. Once again, gentleness is the key. 

Step 11: Dry them with a dryer

This is an important step of the bathing process to keep them healthy. Don’t let your puppy out until the coat is completely dry. Set the dryer to the lowest setting and keep a far enough distance from their coat. You can use your free hands to lift and separate the hair to help you know when the dryer is too close or far enough for comfort.

Step 12: Brush their hair

When the dog is completely dry, brush it until the coat is no longer tangled. It is better to use your hand to review the entire coat.

Step 13: Treat time!

Last but not least, remember to treat your dog well! This convinces them that if they obediently bathe, they will be rewarded.

Puppy bathing tips

puppy bathing tips
    • You should wear comfortable and casual clothes.
    • Then collect every item you need in the bathing place before the start. You will find out that preparation is much better than trying to find the missing items when your dog is shaking water all over.
    • Make sure the dryer isn’t close to their skin and the airflow isn’t hot.
      Shampoo and conditioner must be rinsed off as residue can make their coat itchy or dry.
    • Keep your puppy warm until they are entirely dry.
    • If your dog shows signs of anxiety, you should praise and use high-value rewards so your dog will look forward to the next pampering session.

Puppy bath temperature

The puppy bath temperature should be the same as you use for babies – 38 – 39 Celsius or 97 – 100 Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, dip your elbow in the water and see if it feels comfortable, not hot, then it’s good.

Can I bathe my puppy before vaccination?

How often to bathe a puppy

Yes, you can. It’s okay to bathe puppies before vaccination, but you should separate them by a few hours. You want to make sure that their skin and fur are dry and their body temperature is normal before vaccinating them.

Bathing your dog before vaccinations also keeps the dog clean and ready to go to the vet without having to worry about odors or dirt afterward. Bathing a dog after vaccination is not a good idea.


First bath for puppy: puppies can have their first bath until they’re at least 8 weeks old. A general rule is to bathe your puppy every four weeks. The frequency can change based on their coat type, lifestyle or activity level, and skin conditions.

Last but not leash…

Many readers have loved learning how to train their dogs based on scientific methods from a free workshop conducted by Dr. Alexa Diaz (one of the top service dog trainers in the U.S.) and Eric Presnall (host of the hit Animal Planet TV show “Who Let the Dogs Out”) at the K9 Training Institute. In the free workshop, you’ll discover:

    1. How to train your dog using body language rather than verbal cues
    2. The 3 key techniques that service dog trainers use to train dogs and how you can use them too
    3. The most important step that “normal” dog owners have been missing (this is very important to get your dog’s attention, and it works 100% of the time)
    4. How to stop bad behaviors like excessive barking, pulling on the leash, jumping, etc.
    5. Why a lot of dog owners are unable to establish the amazing bond that service dog trainers have with their dogs


Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, this pre-recorded workshop will help you train them successfully. You may not want to miss the chance to learn these groundbreaking techniques. Here’s the free workshop.

About us: Pet Chao is a community for Asian dog breed enthusiasts. Our goal is to keep you and your four-legged friend healthy and happy by providing valuable resources and fostering a like-minded community.

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