Anyone who has taken care of a dog is always faced with the task of giving their furry children a bath. It’s a fun experience for some breeds, like the Labrador Retriever, but can generally be a somewhat troublesome affair for most dogs. For puppies, it’s a different story so you must know how often to bathe a puppy.
Most dogs, if not all, just hate bath time. That, however, can be addressed with proper training. You should introduce them to the idea of taking a bath early on in their lives. This means that bathing should be a regular habit from the dog’s puppy days.
The earlier you start getting them used to a bath, the more enjoyable your future bath times become especially during their adulthood.
How Soon Can You Bathe a Puppy?
At the early weeks of its life, the mother dog takes care of the grooming and feeding needs of the puppy. It’s usually a little inadvisable to give a newborn puppy a bath. The dam probably wouldn’t let you get that near in any case. It’s part of its motherly instinct, of course. Still, this depends on how much the dam trusts its owner as well.
By three to four weeks, the mother dog will start to wean her babies to make them less reliant on her milk. While there is no specific week to start giving puppies a bath, three to four weeks appear good enough as the puppies will begin walking around on their own at that time.
How Often Should You Wash Your Puppy?
Experts do not put a requirement as to how regularly you have to give your puppy, or your dogs in general, a bath. It just depends on the circumstances.
Unlike humans, Rhawnhurt Animal Hospital’s Dr. Adam Denish explains, dogs do not need to wash their bodies regularly. This is because they are able to groom themselves – in the case of puppies, the mother dog does the grooming for them.
Personal grooming is necessary, Dr. Denish adds, in fostering the growth of follicles in their coasts.
The expert also warns that, while bathing can help facilitate the process, too much of it can also irritate and damage the hair follicles. Worse, when the shampoos and water strip away the essential oils in the dog’s coat, it leaves the animal vulnerable to skin infections.
So, that leaves out the possibility of giving your dogs and puppies a bath every day, or every other day of the week. In particular, puppies have more sensitive needs than adult dogs.
Now, Pet MD says that how often should you wash your puppy is actually dictated by need. If your puppies are kept most of the time indoors, you won’t have to give them a bath three times a month. The only indicator, in this case, that bath time is due is when your furry friends start to smell a little funny.
On the other hand, if your puppies spend a lot of time playing outdoors, you’d have to see just how much dirt they got on their soft coats before deciding if it’s time to give a bath. If there is not too much mud or dirt on their skin, for example, you can make do with a sponge bath to remove that dirt.
Of course, when the little puppy has decided to roll all over the mud, that’s certainly the time to give them a bath!
If you really want a routine, you can give a bath to puppies once a week until they turn three months or 12 weeks old. Beyond that, a shower once a month until they turn six months should suffice.
When puppies grow up, their bathing needs become different as well, since they have grown into the adult coat that their breeds sport. So how often do you bathe an adult dog? Like puppies, it depends.
How Often to Bathe a Puppy When They Grow Up
The American Kennel Club suggests that the frequency of dog baths is determined by the type of coat it has.
For instance, the Club explains, long coated dogs would require a bit more frequent bathing. The Maltese, for example, could benefit from a bath given every 4 weeks. This is, of course, provided that proper grooming and cleaning is observed in between.
Labrador Retrievers, on the other hand, have thick but short coats. The AKC says that these coats provide insulation for the dog against the seasons. We don’t see it, but these dogs’ skin secretes oils that keep the coat shiny and thick.
Frequently bathing a thick-coated dog like a Labrador Retriever will wash away those oils, which is actually detrimental to what you’re trying to do for your dog. Once a month or once every two months would be ideal for these breeds unless they get themselves really dirty and smelly.
If you’re unsure, you can always consult your veterinary about the bathing needs of your dog’s specific breed. Besides, when your dog has a specific medical condition, its bathing needs will also change, and only your veterinary can give you sound advice on that.
The Important Role of Maintenance
Bathing is not the only essential habit dogs and their pet owners should develop. In fact, grooming and maintenance are even more important than a bath!
It’s vital that you spend the time to brush your dog’s coat, no matter what kind of coat it is. It looks simple but actually helps out a lot in your dog’s overall health. When you brush, you are actually spreading the oils their skin secretes evenly throughout the coat.
What you get then is a shiny, healthy and beautiful looking coat. You also get rid of old fur along the way, which helps to control the amount of hair that your dog sheds.
It won’t take more than 10 minutes to brush your dog’s coat. Hence, there’s no reason for you not to do so every day or even every other day.
So, if someone asks you, “How often to bathe a puppy?”, simply answer with: “It depends.”