puppy's first bath

You've just brought home the cutest little bundle of fur you ever did see, but he's a little bit smelly and he could use a bath.

We'll help take some of the worry out of giving your puppy his or her first bath.

First, you should choose a very mild shampoo which will not irritate your puppies sensitive skin. It's best to select an all natural soap like Black Sheep Organics Mandarin & Orange Shampoo.

Second, decide where you should wash your puppy. A kitchen sink for small puppies, or a laundry sink for larger pups is ideal as you can stand comfortably while soaping up your new friend. A bathtub works well also, but if your tub is acrylic, your dogs nails may scratch the finish. Leaning over the side of a bathtub can be difficult for folks with back problems, so keep this in mind if this is you. In our grooming shop we hear lots of bath-at-home stories, and many people get right in the tub or shower with their dogs. How much fun is that? If the weather's nice, and you have access to warm water outside, you can use a kiddie pool in place of a bathtub, and then dry off in the sun!

If you have a hand sprayer on your sink, this is ideal as it's much easier to thoroughly rinse hard to reach areas. If you don't have a sprayer, filling the sink up with fresh rinse water will be the best way to ensure you're completely rinsing your puppy. It's extremely important to rinse your puppy completely, as dry shampoo residue will cause your puppy to become very itchy and look like dandruff. (Shampoo residue can come from any brand of shampoo.)

Okay, now to start your puppies bath. First you'll want to dilute your shampoo. We usually use a dilution ratio of 20:1, so 20 parts water, and 1 part shampoo, but you can play with this and find what works best for you. In a squeezable bottle, I'm x up about 250mL of diluted shampoo to start with, you can mix more if needed.

Then, with your puppy in your sink, turn the water on with a gentle spray of Luke warm water. It's helpful to have a second person helping to hold your puppy. Introduce the water to your puppy gently speaking softly and encouragingly, and wet his entire coat, being careful not to get water in his ears or mouth.

Next, it's time for the soap. Always be very careful not to get shampoo in your puppy's eyes. If you do, be sure to rinse them thoroughly but gently, holding his eyelids open. Now start applying the shampoo to his body, legs, tail, and feet. Wash his head last being careful not to get shampoo in his ears, mouth and especially his eyes. Give him a nice little massage all over, and then he's ready to rinse.

Rinse his head first, then rinse everywhere else. Always soap up the head last and rinse it first; that way you can prevent shampoo from dripping or getting rubbed into the eyes.

When you feel like you're done rinsing, rinse some more. Then you can do a squeak test. Rub your hands all over every nook and cranny of your dogs body. He should feel squeaky clean. If he feels slippery, you've missed some soap, so rinse him some more. Do another squeak test. Puppies wiggle a lot, so it's very easy to miss a spot or two.

Have a nice clean, dry towel waiting for your puppy, and bundle him up in it to keep him warm. Dry him off, and if it's warm outside, he can play in the sun. Otherwise, keep him warm inside until he's dry. If you want to use a blow dryer, that's fine, just make sure it has a cool setting and you use this.

And that's it! Now you have a clean, happy puppy.