How to Bathe a Puppy & Use Lotions

Your puppy may either enjoy or despise the bath.
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Bathing a puppy is sometimes required, although bathing too often can cause more damage than good. Dogs tend to naturally take care of their fur and skin, and the proper diet and low stress levels can help keep your pup's skin and coat in order. Puppies do, however, tend to make quite a mess of themselves during playtime or while investigating the world around them. A high-quality shampoo and a moisturizing lotion can help protect your pup's skin when she gets into something dirty.

Step 1

Let the tub or sink faucet run with your puppy in the room to get her used to the sound. This is helpful for the first bath, because the noise alone can make her uneasy about getting cleaned.

Step 2

Set everything you need for your pup's bath on the side of the tub or sink, whichever area you are using to bathe your pooch. This includes the shampoo, towel and cup. The bathtub is ideal for bigger, rambunctious pups while smaller puppies may feel safer in the kitchen sink.

Step 3

Brush your puppy's fur to remove any debris. Tangles, chunks and clumps are harder to remove when wet. It will also shorten the time of the bath which can be a stressful time for you and the pup.

Step 4

Fill up the sink or tub with a few inches of lukewarm water -- not too hot or too cold.

Step 5

Place your pup in the water and use a cup to wet the puppy's fur. Be careful around your pup's face; you don't want to get water in her nose or eyes, as this may stress her out and scare her.

Step 6

Squeeze a small amount of your chosen shampoo into your hands and start massaging the suds into her coat. Don't put the soap near her face, as it can burn her eyes.

Step 7

Suds up your pup's neck, back, belly and legs by gently massaging with your fingertips.

Step 8

Rinse the pup using the cup with clean, lukewarm water either from the tap or the spigot. Cover her eyes to prevent any suds from getting in them during the rinsing process. Rinse thoroughly until no suds remain on your pooch's coat. Any leftover soap could dry out your pup's skin or cause irritations.

Step 9

Wash your puppy's face with a wet washcloth.

Step 10

Apply a moisturizing lotion made specifically for puppies to her coat and work it in. For some products, you do this while she's still wet; for others, her coat should be dry.

Step 11

Dry your pup with a soft, absorbent towel or a blow dryer on low heat held approximately 12 inches from her body. A blow dryer with a cool setting is ideal because the heat can burn her.


  • Puppies under 12 weeks old should be bathed using a gentle baby shampoo or simply water and a washcloth. Ask your vet before bathing very young puppies and always check the product labels to make sure your pup is old enough.


  • Use a moisturizing shampoo to help her skin out and you can skip the lotions. Always use products designed specifically for dogs and those that are free of synthetic perfumes or dyes.

Items You Will Need

  • Cup
  • Puppy shampoo
  • Washcloth
  • Absorbent towel or blow dryer
  • Puppy lotion