Nobody can forbid you from loving and taking care of your newborn puppy, but you should also be aware of several things that should and should not be done and bathing a newborn puppy is one of the things that needs the utmost caution. While your newborn puppy is probably the cutest thing you have ever seen in your life, you may feel like pampering him and bathing him to keep him clean and smelling nice, but do you know that it is not so recommended to bathe a newborn puppy at least until he reaches a certain age?
A Matter of Safety
When welcoming a newborn puppy to the family, it's understandably easy to become very excited about it. We want to give the puppy the best treatment as possible to keep him in health good, but in fact, sometimes we step too far.
Albeit being tempting, bathing a newborn puppy though can be a problem. The main reason why you should avoid bathing your puppy is the fact newborn puppies can get easily chilled. Newborn puppies cannot regulate their temperatures and therefore getting chilled can easily kill a small puppy with a delicate immune system.
On top of that, consider that a newborn pup's skin is very sensitive. Shampoo or other cleaning substances should be avoided for now, these can dry up the skin no matter how gently formulated.
Leave The Task to Momma
If mother dog is taking care of your puppy, you should pass the cleaning job to her. After all, that's what her job entails and momma dog does it best.
Mother dog is equipped with a rough, yet gentle and warm tongue that will quickly clean her newborn puppy up. After ward, pup will snuggle next to her and her siblings and that little moisture left will dry up quickly.
However, not always things go this way. Sadly, sometimes puppies are orphaned, or in some cases, mother dog may not be interested in cleaning up her pups as she should. If mother dog is not cleaning up her puppies after eliminating, sometimes it helps to put a dab of peanut butter, coconut oil or butter on the pup's rear ends to encourage her to engage in her motherly duties. First-time mother dogs may need a little bit of coaching, but sooner than later they get a hang of things.
No Baths for Now
Under normal circumstances, a newborn puppy under 4 weeks does not require a bathe and dunking a newborn puppy in water even though warm can be dangerous.
The only circumstance, where you may consider bathing a puppy is when he's orphaned or mother dog is not taking care of him and he is overly icky or if he is covered with fleas. Fleas can cause anemia in a very small puppy.
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If your puppy is just dirty, more than bathing it is far safer if you would just clean the puppy limiting to the areas that need cleaned the most, mimicking the mother's tongue using a moistened cloth.
Simply dip a clean, soft cloth into some warm water (without soap) and rinse off the excess water. Then wipe it gently on the puppy's bottom or where he needs cleaned. To dry your puppy’s moistened body, use a clean dry towel warmed up in the microwave or dryer, to tap on his body or use a blow dryer in order to remove any excess moisture. If you use a blow dryer, keep it on the coolest setting as it can get hot and pups can overheat quickly. Keep it at a distance, moving it all the time.
Once done, bring your newborn puppy back to a heated area or back to momma dog and litter. Make sure to avoid drafts and temperature fluctuations.
" You won't be able to treat the puppies with anything for fleas, but you can mix Dawn dish soap 1 to 1 water and bathe them with warm water. You are going to have to dry them very well because they are going to be very prone to hypothermia." Dr. John
When is it OK to Bathe Newborn Puppies?
When is it OK to bathe a newborn puppy in the real sense of the word? Generally, around 4 to 5 weeks puppies should be able to regulate their temperatures and bathing them is less risky, but best to wait at least until they are 8 weeks as it may be safer to do so (always with the utmost caution and when it's really necessary.)
At 8 weeks, the puppy's skin is still sensitive and baby shampoo or a shampoo especially formulated for young puppies is often most suitable. Ask your vet for advice.
Most shampoos formulated for adult dogs are not suitable for young puppies. And don't forget that even though older, puppies still need to be dried well and prevented from getting chilled.
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Disclaimer: this article is not meant to be used as a substitute for veterinary advice.