How to Clean a 4 Week Old Puppy

Easy
5 - 15 Minutes
4 Weeks

Introduction

Your 4-week old puppy is just now learning how to regulate his body temperature. Hopefully before now, you have not had a need to submerge him in water to give him a full bath. At around 4 weeks you can begin to do this, but only if absolutely necessary. If your puppy somehow got covered in mud, bathing him in a bathtub or a sink full of warm water is safe to do, but you will still need to focus on making the bath very quick and getting him warm and dry.

Dog's Perspective

Your 4-week old puppy is becoming a rough and tumble little guy. However, he still needs tender loving care. He might be shaking and he might be scared if he's away from his mother for too long, but you may not know if his body temperature is too low. If you can spot clean him rather than submerging him in a full bath, opt for that at only four weeks old. No matter how you decide to clean your young puppy, keep him warm and wrapped in a towel or soft, warm blanket as much as possible until you can return him to his mother or at least his bedding.

The Cloth Wipe Down Method

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Shampoo
Towel
Step
1
Warm water
Soak a soft cloth in a sink full of warm water. You can add a bit of puppy shampoo to the water to make some suds for any dirt on your puppy to stick to, or you can simply use the warm water if you wish.
Step
2
Wring cloth
Wring out the excess water so it's not dripping. At 4 weeks old you can get your puppy pretty wet, but only if you need to.
Step
3
Wipe down
Wipe down the dirty spots on your puppy. Cleaning these areas could mean wiping down your entire puppy, only wiping his paws, or only wiping his potty area. If you need to clean your puppy's face, start there first and then work your way down before ending at his tail.
Step
4
Dry
Use a separate cloth to dry your puppy. Even though your little guy is doing a pretty good job of regulating his body temperature, he will need to be dried fairly quickly after being cleaned so he does not become cold.
Step
5
Treat
Start early and always end every grooming session with a treat. Giving your puppy a treat for doing a good job during his cleaning is a great way to start getting him excited about any future baths to come.
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The Warm Dip Method

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Shampoo
Towel
Step
1
Prepare
Prepare a small tub or sink with everything you will need to get your puppy clean. It's always a good idea to line the bottom of the sink or the tub with a wet towel or a non-slip surface to keep your 4-week old puppy from slipping and falling during his cleaning dip.
Step
2
Water
Fill a small tub or a small sink with warm water and add a bit of puppy shampoo for suds. Be sure the water is not too cool and certainly not too hot. Plan to put your puppy right in it once you are ready.
Step
3
Add puppy
Gently set your puppy in the warm water. Again, make sure this water is not too cold and not too hot.
Step
4
Cloth
Dip a soft cloth into the water and wring out any excess. Starting with your puppy's face, wipe his eyes from the inside corners to the outside corners. Continue to clean your puppy's face with the cloth rinsing it in the water and ringing the water back out.
Step
5
Body clean
Once your puppy's face is clean, use the cloth to wash his body. Wet down his fur and use the water in the cloth in circular motions to clean his coat and skin. Work from your dog's neck all the way down his back and belly to his paws and tail.
Step
6
Potty area
If your dog's potty area needs to be cleaned, save that for last.
Step
7
Dry towel
As soon as your puppy is clean, pull him out of the tub or the sink releasing the water and wrap him up in a dry warm towel. While he's wrapped up, gently rub his fur in little circles to dry his fur and skin. You want to get him dry as quickly as possible.
Step
8
Reward
Be sure to end your bath or cleaning dip on a positive note with a tasty treat. Your puppy will have bigger baths that take a lot longer in the months to come as he becomes a stinky or messy dog. Rewarding him now will remind him later of rewards for bathing.
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Caution & Considerations

  • At 4-weeks old, your puppy is becoming stronger. However, he's not extremely tough just yet.
  • Spot cleaning your puppy is still best until your puppy is about 2 months old.
  • Your four-week-old puppy is just now starting to regulate his own body temperature. This could mean sometimes he's very cold and sometimes he's comfortable and can get himself from cold to comfortable rather quickly. However, this also means his body is still learning to regulate his temperature, which means if he gets too cold quickly he could be in trouble.
  • Remember some dogs only require a bath 3 to 4 times a year. So if you can clean your 4-week old puppy with a wet washcloth or puppy wipes, consider doing this before giving him a bath.
  • Remember anytime you use a wet washcloth or puppy wipes to wipe your puppy down, start with his face and end with his body. Doing so will keep bacteria from his body out of his eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • There may not be a need to use dog shampoo on your 4-week old puppy. However, if he is extremely dirty you can find puppy shampoo. Most puppy shampoos will be tear-free.
  • You can also use natural shampoos such as a baking soda wash to freshen the smell of your puppy.
  • Most puppies this age who have any kind of smell or stench simply require a wipe down around their potty areas or around their mouths and necks and in between their puppy skin folds.

Conclusion

Your four-week-old puppy is something special. He's growing and becoming quite the hound. Try as you mutt, you can't keep a puppy down. He's going to get dirty. And dirty dogs must be cleaned. But you can have a pampered pooch without giving him a full bath. Keep him clean and out of the dog house with a wipe down or a simple cleaning dip.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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