Helping your puppy get used to the idea of taking baths in his early years will make for many positive bath time experiences later on. Some puppies, depending on their coat, will have special needs when it comes to soaps.
You may think that the fabulous shampoo you get at the salon and use on your own hair will make Max look like a million bucks, too. Not so fast -- puppies have different needs when it comes to their skin and coat than their human counterparts. The pH level of shampoos for dogs is formulated differently than human shampoos. Some dogs have itchy skin that begins in their puppy years. In this case, oatmeal dog shampoo can be a great remedy.
Sulfates are a type of detergent commonly found in dish and laundry soaps. They give that excellent foaming action that tends to wash away dirt and grime. While this can be great for cleaning dishes and clothing, your puppy's skin and coat are more delicate than a dish or shirt. Avoiding formulations with the word "sulfate" can help your puppy's coat retain its moisture.
Keeping your puppy's coat in mind when selecting a soap or shampoo is important. For puppies with longer coats, a conditioner or soap with extra conditioning properties, such as coconut oil and vitamin E, can be helpful in preventing tangling and matting. Extra moisture is also beneficial for the skin, as many breeds are prone to dryness. Puppies who may be itchy may benefit from soap formulated with aloe vera. When using a specially formulated veterinary shampoo, follow instructions and do not overbathe your puppy. Medicated dog soaps and shampoos generally should not be used every week.
When bathing a puppy, it is important to take extra care, as their skin may be sensitive. Be gentle when giving your puppy a bath. Place a towel or non-slip mat in the sink or tub so that Max won't feel as though he is slipping and sliding. Place cotton balls in his ears before the bath. Brush his coat before bath time to help prevent matting and remove excess hair. Use lukewarm water and be sure to rinse thoroughly, as leftover shampoo may cause itchy skin.