Should I bathe my puppy?

Dear Dr. Barchas, When is the right time to bathe a pup? Mine's a two-month, two-week-old Lhasa Apso, and I've bathed her about twice already....

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Apr 28th 2006


Dear Dr. Barchas,

When is the right time to bathe a pup? Mine’s a two-month, two-week-old Lhasa Apso, and I’ve bathed her about twice already. She seems to like it, only she starts shaking after every bath, even if I cover her with a thick towel. I decided not to bathe her until she reaches four months. But without washing, her hair mats and develops a certain stink. What should I do?

Mediatrix
Philippines

The short answer to your question is that dogs (and cats, for that matter) should be bathed when they need it. If your pet’s odor is too strong for your taste, then by all means give her a bath. There is no minimum or maximum age for bathing pets once they are weaned. There also is no set frequency to which you must adhere. However, I recommend that you follow some ground rules.

First, make sure that your pet stays warm as she is drying off. Even though you live in a tropical country, if your dog is trembling after her bath, she may be cold. Towel dry her as well as possible, and make sure she is in a warm (but not hot) room as she dries.

Many human shampoos can cause dry skin in dogs and cats, especially if they are used frequently. In general, I recommend using only pet shampoos. However, because of potential adverse reactions, I advise against powerful flea or parasite control shampoos unless they have been specifically recommended by your vet.

Finally, remember to keep shampoo and water out of your pet’s eyes and ears. Shampoo can irritate her eyes, and water in her ears can predispose her to ear infections.

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