Bathing your dog can be a challenging task as many dogs don’t like taking a bath. It is very important that you bath puppies who are older than 8 weeks. Puppies younger than 8 weeks can be cleaned with puppy wipes or a wet cloth. Using shampoo of any kind for puppies below 8 weeks of age is not recommended.
Puppies older than 8 weeks should be bath with gentle puppy shampoo, but avoid using any kind of tick or flea shampoo as it can be harsh on young dogs. Avoid getting water or shampoo into the eyes and ears of the puppy.
Any kind of harsh shampoo like tick or flea shampoo should be used only after 3 months. In case tick and flea develop on your dog younger than 3 months, consult your vet.
Baths as a routine
It is important that you cultivate the habit of baths in your dog slow and steady. Make it a weekly routine like going to the park or going for a walk. The experience should be enjoyable for the dog; else they will be depressed with the activity. After bathing it is important to offer him a treat and pamper him.
Make sure the puppy is sitting in a comfortable position. Start by wiping the dog with wet towel while playing with him. Slowly pour water over the puppy, make sure the water is not very hot or very cold. The process of soaking him should be extremely slow in the beginning so that the dog can get used to getting wet.
Before bathing the dog it is important that all the tangles are brushed out and the coat is smooth and silky. Be extra careful with the eyes and ears of the dog.
If you are using a tub to bath the puppy then fill the tub will the level of water reached the puppies knees. The temperature of water should be more or less same as the temperature of the dog, which is approx 102F (38C).
Make sure the puppy is in a comfortable position. Start off by slowly pouring water on the puppy, if using a hand shower be sure the pressure is very mild. Once the dog is completely wet, apply shampoo, work it gently through the puppy’s coat while massage the puppy for approx 5 – 10 minutes.
Avoid the eye and ear area while shampooing. Eyes and ears can be wiped with cotton and a little vitamin E oil. A soft brush can be used to clean the puppy’s paws.
If using a tub then drain the dirty water once you have shampooed the puppy. Start by rinsing off the shampoo with clean water. Make sure to rinse the puppy twice to ensure all the shampoo is removed from the coat.
Remove the puppy from the tub and with a soft towel gently dry the puppy. Even if using a hair dryer, remove excess water before hand with a towel. Ensure the hair dryer is kept on low heat and there is a marginal distance between the puppy and the blower. Using the towel to dry off the puppy is the best option.
There are various brands of shampoo and bathing products available in the market. It is very essential to choose the right one for your dog. The choice of shampoo should be according to the needs of the dog as a wrong shampoo can damage the coat of the dog. The different kind of shampoo’s available are:
General dog shampoo – Like human’s dogs too have oily, normal or dry skin. The first step in picking out a dog shampoo is determining the type of skin. If the skin is flaky and looks cracked then the dog has a dry skin and if there are oil residues on the skin then the dog has an oily skin. Once the skin type of the dog is determined a correct shampoo for that skin type is easily available in the market. Few points to remember while buying a shampoo are:
Shampoo should not be very scented, as extra scented shampoo means they have additional chemicals which may cause harm to the dog’s skin.
Human shampoo should not be used on the dog as the skin requirements of human and dogs are very different.
Mild shampoos are best for all age dogs
No shampoo should be used for dogs under 8 weeks of age.
Do not change the brand of shampoo too frequently as all shampoos may not suit the dog.
Natural dog Shampoo – A variety of natural shampoos are available in the market for all kind of dogs and skin type. The natural shampoo is mild and causes less irritation compared to the synthetic shampoos. It is important to read the ingredients of the shampoo to ensure that it is truly natural.
Generally natural shampoos are a little more expensive than the synthetic ones but they are better for the health of the dog. There are natural flea shampoos, puppy shampoos, conditioners and regular shampoos.
Medicated dog shampoo – there are various medicated shampoos available in the market to meet the needs of your dog. Medicated shampoo should be selected as per the need of the dog. Here are few different kind of shampoos and their uses:
Oatmeal shampoo- for dry and flaky skin or other skin allergies that may cause dryness.
Aloe Vera shampoo- itchy skin due to fleabites. Aloe Vera also softens the skin.
Peppermint and tea tree- natural bug repellent
Hdrocortisone and Lidocaine – relieving inflammation and itching.
Coal tar- dandruff and scaly skin
Flea and tick shampoo – If the dog is suffering from tick and flea problems then you may want to consider a shampoo specially made for ticks and flea. Flea and tick shampoos are highly medicated and thus should not be used on puppies younger than 3 months. If the puppy is younger than 3 months and has fleas and ticks, he should be taken to the vet. For puppies older than 3 months, an all natural flea and tick shampoo should be selected. It is very important that the shampoo doe not enter the eyes and ears of the dog.
Detangling conditioner – This is a very good product for dogs with long and thick coat. Using a conditioner after the bath helps soften the hair and makes combing easier. It reduces the efforts and makes combing less painful for the dog. This product may not be useful for short coated dogs and it is not required to use a conditioner for short coated dog.