How to Bathe a Puppy in Baby Shampoo

By Jessica Jewell

Bathing your puppy is an easy way to clean your dog's fur, skin, and relieve common (though maybe unpleasant) odors that your puppy may emit. While there are hundreds of dog shampoos on the market, even those specifically formulated for puppies, you can use a baby shampoo as long as it is hypoallergenic and tear-free. With a few puppy-specific bathing techniques, such as adequate space, ear protection, and calming dialogue, bathing a puppy in baby shampoo can be a safe and easy way to clean your puppy.

Place your puppy into the bathtub, washtub, or large bucket.

Insert cotton balls into your puppy's ears. Make sure that they are large enough so that they will not go too deeply into the ear, but will protect the ear from water. This is especially important for dogs that have long ears, like Labrador Retrievers, or any dog that is susceptible to ear infections.

Begin to fill the tub with warm water when your puppy is comfortably situated in the tub. Do not fill the tub more than half way up his body or he may panic or start to swim, which will make bathing extremely difficult. This is also a good time to gently soothe your dog by talking to him calmly. The more relaxed that you are during this stage, the more relaxed your dog will be during his bath.

Rinse your puppy's hair with water in order to wet it for the shampoo. You may want to use a small, plastic cup and starting with the neck, pour the water down the length of your puppy's back. This will avoid getting water in your puppy's eyes, while thoroughly wetting the hair for the shampoo.

Squeeze a quarter-sized amount of baby shampoo into your hand and then gently apply it to your puppy's fur. Depending on the size of your puppy and the amount of fur on his body, you may need to add more baby shampoo, but start with a smaller amount and then add more later if needed.

Gently massage the shampoo into your puppy's fur so that it cleans the fur and underlying skin thoroughly. Avoid getting shampoo into your puppy's eyes and nose.

Rinse your puppy in the same manner that you wet his hair before the application of the shampoo. As you pour water down your puppy's back, gently smooth his fur with your hand. This will help rinse the water through the fur to the skin, and make sure that all of the shampoo is removed.

Drain the water in the tub and lift your puppy into a gentle, cotton towel. Use the towel to dry his fur. Your puppy may not be able to resist the urge to shake the water from his body, so make sure that you are in a location or area of your home that will not be bothered by the water that he shakes from his body.