Who can resist those cute small bodies, big eyes, large puppy heads, round cheeks and small noses? These little joys grab out attention and keep us coming back with the “Aww” factor. But we all know what isn’t cute and that’s a stinky puppy! However, bath time can be challenging for both pet parent and puppy. Here are tips to bathe that cute stinky puppy of yours to make it enjoyable for everyone involved.
Step 1: Start Bath Time with Treats and Cuddles
You can start bathing your puppies as young as 8 weeks old. You should take it slow, let them run around a little, run a light brush over them and fit in treats, swaddling and cuddling into the start up of bath time. This is to teach them that bath time isn’t scary. Dog associate emotions to positive experiences so you want them to have positive emotions from the start.
Step 2: Use Lukewarm Water and a rag
When a puppy is very young, usually before three months of age, you dont need to use any cleaning products. In addition to the first step, you want to make sure that the water is comfortable- lukewarm temperature. Dogs are sensitive to heat and their body temperatures run higher than ours. So to prevent discomfort or injury, DO NOT use hot water or boiling hot water.
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Step 3: Understand Your Puppies Coat Type and the Appropriate Products to Use
After the puppy is about three months old, you can start using bath products, shampoo and conditioner.. Its a good idea to speak to your vet to find out the type of coat they have and the products that may work best with their type of coat. Dog coats fall into a few categories: (1) Smooth, (2) Double, (3) Silky, (4) Wool, (5) Wire and (6) Combination.
- Smooth coats are short and close to the puppies bodies such as seen on Doberman and Rhodesian Ridgeback breeds.
- Double coats dogs have thick undercoats and longer top coats as seen on Sheepdog, Husky and German Shepherds.
- Silky coats have a distinct texture and tangle easily similar to human hair. Examples of silky coats are found on Cocker Spaniel, Afghan Hound and Yorkshire Terrier breeds.
- Wool coats have a texture similar to cotton. They need to be groomed regularly as they require fluff drying, trims, and brushouts. Examples of wool coats include Bichon Frise and poodle breeds.
- Wire coats have soft undercoats and rough topcoats that require hand stripping. Thus they feel rough to the touch and have a distinct wire texture. Because of the texture it may be difficult for owners to maintain it themselves so they have it cut. An example of wire coat can be seen on Fox Terrier and Mini Schnauzer breeds.
- If your dog’s coat does not clearly fall into the aforementioned categories then its more than likely combination coat. This includes Cavapoo and Labrapoodle breeds.
You do not want to put the wrong products on pooches coat, Some coats need more minerals, oil and/or humectant. So its best to ask you vet the details prior to bathing puppy love.
Step 4: Gentleness is Key
If you have every bathed a six month old infant, bathing a puppy is similar. Just like infants they cant protect themselves from uncomfortable conditions. That why its important to be gentle. Use soft streams of water, soft hand rubbing in the puppies hair growth direction. Please don’t scrub your puppy due to their sensitive skin.
Step 5: No soap in the eyes please!
Just like just about anyone else, soap in the eye is a painful experience. So use minimal product around the face and avoid getting soap in their eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Also avoid getting water into the ears as it could cause an ear infection. To ensure that no water gets into the ears, gently pinch them shut. Don’t depend on tearless formulas not ti irritate the aforementioned openings!
Step 6: Rinse Thoroughly
Just like humans, if you haven’t rinsed away the soap, you’re not actually clean. So ensure that you thoroughly rinse the soap off of doggie. This can also prevent irritation from left over soap.
Step 7: Conditioner is important
Just like human hair, conditioner is necessary for a dog’s coat health. They are one of the most important part of the dogs body. Soap removes dirt and oil among other things. Conditioner keeps their skin and fir soft and moisturized as well as prevents dryness. Follow the conditioner directions but ensure that you rinse it all away.
Step 8: Blow Dry Time
Once your puppy is clean and conditioned, give them a gentle blow dry, but don’t use any blow-dry cream or other styling aid. Once again, gentleness is key. Use a small handheld blow dryer on a low setting and brush your dog’s hair in the direction it grows.
Step 9: Set a Bath Routine
You should bathe your puppy at least monthly. As with humans, dirt, oil and other things accumulate over time. You don’t want puppies skin and fir to get clogged. Setting a regular monthly schedule gets puppy used to having a bath. Repetition of certain expected behaviors and actions helps to train puppy.
Source: AKC, Time for Paws
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