Poodle Bathing: When and How to Bathe Your Poodle

Categorized as Poodle FAQs, Poodle Breed Information, Poodle Puppy
Poodle Bathing: When and How to Bathe Your Poodle 1

The poodle is one of the most intelligent out of the entire canine race, having within its breed significant variations and characteristics that make an enchanting companion.

Owners often claim that there is something more human than canine when it comes to poodles, and just like us humans, our poodles need to bathe from time to time to live an odor-free life.

In this guide, we will focus on how to bath your poodle and answering your top poodle bathing questions.

How often should I bathe my poodle? What accessories do I need? What is the best way to wash a poodle at home?

All this and more in this detailed poodle bathing guide that is going to walk you through the entire process in easy-to-follow steps. Before we discuss the process, let us look at why we might want to bathe a poodle.

Do Poodles Need To Bathe?

No matter the breed, every dog needs a bath from time to time to keep them healthy and happy.

Every owner that loves their poodle must bathe and groom their dog regularly. Unless taken proper care, a poodle is unhappy and uncomfortable. At times poodle owners even go as far as to say that if a poodle is neglected, it’s the same as being cruel to them.

Poodle owners accept the fact that their dogs require more grooming and efforts than any other dog breed. To keep poodles looking their best, owners should learn how to properly groom their dog or be prepared to make regular visits to a grooming salon.

A poodle’s coat is very thick and doesn’t shed in an ordinary way like other dog breeds do. The old hair tangles up in the new hair and forms a dense mess.

This tangling of hair bothers the dog in hot weather even more than usual. Moreover, dirt and dust build up in the dog’s fur, which causes the skin to itch, setting up irritation and creating the dog to scratch. This scratching, in turn, causes the dog to tear its hair out, leaving bald patches, sores and making the dog uncomfortable.

Whether you’re planning to get a poodle or already own one make it a point to groom and bathe your dog at regular intervals. Neglecting to do so will cause your poodle suffering and will affect its coat, general appearance and temperament.

When and How to Bathe your poodle

When and How to Bathe your poodle

When Should You Bathe A Poodle Puppy?

Thinking of when to give your poodle puppy, it’s the first bath? Well, let’s discuss this in detail.

Most people tend to follow the general that you should bathe your poodle once a month unless your dog has an underlying medical condition.

Any more than that will start causing skin problems and unnatural oil levels in your dog’s skin.

The natural oils that are in your dog’s skin prevent them from being dirty. Their fur acts as an insulator, which helps keep them cold and warm depending on the climate they’re in, and dirty coat doesn’t do that. Hence, the dog’s skin produces oil to help keep the fur clean and prevent any dirt from being on the hair.

If you bathe them too often, then your hands feel dirty when you pet them, and they tend to develop an unpleasant odor due to the lack of natural oils.

As weird as it sounds, the less you bathe your dog, the cleaner they are.

Bathing a poodle puppy doesn’t need to be a daily event. Majority of dog owners don’t wash their puppies at all unless they are of a certain age which is mostly around eight weeks. The only exceptions are when the puppy gets poop on themselves or gets dirty.


  • Medical Reasons
  • To keep your pup clean from substances like poop or something equally foul
  • To remove any stinky smell
  • Getting comfortable with the bathing process


  • Disrupting the pH balance of the puppy’s skin
  • Messing with the waterproofing of the coat that develops as the puppy grows up
  • Stripping out the natural oils
  • Killing friendly bacteria present in the puppy’s fur


If your poodle gets dirty, you might want to use water rather than shampoo. Whether it’s poo, mud or something gross try and wash it down with water.

If simple hosing down your poodle dog isn’t your thing, you can also consider using dog wipes. Use it like use tissues to wipe any dirt or odor off your poodle pooch.

For a breed such as a poodle with long hair, dog wipes are ideal for wiping off any dust or dirt that may collect on their coat.

If need be, you can always do something we like to call “spot cleansing,” which is essentially cleaning the specific part of the body or the fur that is dirty, dusty, or smelly.

If your poodle gets dirty, you might want to use water rather than shampoo. Whether it’s poo, mud or something gross try and wash it down with water.

If simple hosing down your poodle dog isn’t your thing, you can also consider using dog wipes. Use it like use tissues to wipe any dirt or odor off your poodle pooch.

For a breed such as a poodle with long hair, dog wipes are ideal for wiping off any dust or dirt that may collect on their coat.

If need be, you can always do something we like to call “spot cleansing,” which is essentially cleaning the specific part of the body or the fur that is dirty, dusty, or smelly.

How To Bathe A Poodle?

Now that we are familiar with all the nitty-gritty of bathing a poodle, let’s discuss how to do it properly.

How To Prepare Your Poodle For Bathing

Before bathing a poodle, you must remember to brush its coat to avoid hair getting tangled. Moreover, if you bather an uncombed poodle, all you do is wet the fur which will make it difficult to clean the dog because of all the dust and dirt accumulated under the coat.

As hard as it is to accept for some dog owners, brushing regularly is far more critical than bathing a dog.

Brush your poodles hair regularly

Brush your poodle’s hair regularly

A white poodle getting their hair groomed, getting ready to be bathed

Bathing a poodle without combing will result in tightening the tangles and leaves dirt stuck in the dog’s skin, and it’s fur which will spoil the appearance of the beautiful coat.

Having brushed the dog and combed out mats, you are ready to move on to the next step. The next step is to ensure you have all the items required for a smooth process.

How To Bathe Your Poodle

How to bathe your poodle in 6 easy steps

How to bathe your poodle in 6 easy steps

Many owners express that bathing their poodles is often a challenging task, but it doesn’t have to be. Learn how to give your poodle a proper bath in 6 easy steps.

Time Required: 15 minutes


Saturate your poodle’s coat

Saturate the dog with lukewarm water, beginning at the top of the head. Work back, soaking the top of the head, ears (avoid spraying directly in the dog’s face and ears) and moving along the back of the tail.

Begin at the head again, this time underneath the chin, to the neck, chest and front legs. Then soak the sides, stomach, rear end and finally the back legs.


Apply shampoo

Start applying shampoo starting from the head and working down the back of the tail. Once the shampoo is applied, start scrubbing. Massage the soap into the fur with your hands, use a sponge to clean the stomach and genital areas.


Final Rinse

The final rinse is crucial because left soap or shampoo on a dog’s skin might irritate the skin and look like flakes of dandruff. Once you think you have rinsed all the soap out, rinse again.


Towel Drying

Towel dry the dog while it is secured in the tub. It may take several towels to absorb the excess water.

Some Additionial Tips

Make sure that the dog is wet to the skin for the best results. Keep in mind that this dog was originally bred to work as a water dog.

Many groomers dilute shampoo into a bucket and apply it using a sponge. Try it – it is much easier than pouring shampoo from a bottle and ensures a better application of shampoo all around.

Never wash inside a dog’s ear as it is definitely harmful and can lead to ear trouble later on.

If you wish to apply flea dip, do so after Step 5 and leave it on for a residual effect. Be sure to use a sponge to apply the flea dip because of the chemical combinations present that can be toxic.

If you’re applying flea dip, make sure it doesn’t come in contact with the genitals as it can irritate those organs.

Drying Your Poodle After Bathing

Getting the coat wet always means that it will tangle the mat down, so make sure you dry your poodle carefully.

To properly dry your poodle, towel the dog well and if you have access to a hand-held drier, dry him carefully, especially before putting him to bed.

White poodle getting their hair dried with a hairdryer

White poodle getting their hair dried with a hairdryer

Philip Howard Price, the famous English breeder and owner of Montfleuri kennels, lost his beautiful poodle named Trilla of Montfleuri because of a careless kennel maid who didn’t bother to dry her when she came in wet from a walk.

Due to her carelessness, the poodle got pneumonia and died – a significant loss to the breed. So, take a lesson from this, and don’t let your poodle go to bed wet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let us now answer some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to bathing a poodle.

If we missed a question, be sure to comment down below and I will be happy to include those as well. For now, let’s get started!

How Often Should I Bathe My Poodle?

To avoid the various disadvantages of regularly bathing a puppy, you must be aware of the right number of times to bathe a poodle pup in a time period. The puppy’s bathing schedule is as follows:0 – 3 Months Old – Once a month3- 6 Months Old – Once a month6+ Months – Once a month or after they get a haircut

Poodle Doesn’t Want To Bathe / Poodle Hiding From Bath Time – How Do I Fix It?

Bathing a poodle is a process that should become a tedious task neither for you nor for the dog. If your poodle is running away when it comes to bathing them, either you’re doing something that the dog is not comfortable with or the dog hasn’t been properly introduced to the process of bathing. For the best experience here are some DOs and DO NOTs of bathing a poodle:

1. Do not let the shampoo get in the eye of the dog.2. Do not splash water on the dog’s face unless necessary.3. Give your poodle treats from time to time when bathing.4. Make sure you dry your poodle correctly after you are done bathing them.5. Bathe your poodle regularly to make your dog more familiar with the activity.6. Use suitable bathing accessories for your dog’s comfort.

Why Does My Poodle Get Hyper After Bathing?

Fun fact: Dogs don’t like to smell “perfumey.”What may feel pleasant to us humans may not be the same for your poodle. You may have noticed your dog rolling around in your house or dirt after you bath them. Dogs do that because they want to smell like your family as bathing removes that scent from their body and makes them feel different.

If your dog wasn’t to bathe, it might not just be the water or how you do it. The possible reason might be that your poodles lose their scent after bathing, which makes them feel vulnerable.

We, humans, seek to smell neutral, but your dogs don’t sweat as much as humans do. All dog breeds have a different smell to them. If your dog feels terrible, you might also want to take a look at their diet.

We should also inform you that certain types of odors also correlate to diseases. If you notice a distinct or weird smell, you might want to take your poodle to a vet.

Is It Safe To Bathe My Poodle Using Disinfectants Such As Dettol?

To put it simply, NO. You should avoid using Dettol or similar disinfectant liquids because of the harmful chemicals present in it.

Dogs are inclined to lick Dettol off their skin, and it is clearly stated on the packaging that it should strictly be used for external use only. It contains harmful toxins that can prove to be dangerous when ingested.

If your poodle has ingested Dettol, make sure to get in touch with a vet as soon as possible to avoid mis happenings.

Can I Bathe My Poodle While She Is In Heat?

Bathing a female poodle while in heat – is it okay? Let’s find out.

While your female poodle is in heat – the most noticeable change is the discharge of blood from her genitals. While it natural for her to keep her genitals clean, a little help from you can help her out immensely.

Helping her getting cleaned up will ensure your furniture from getting stained by the discharge and will also help with the foul smell.

Some standard guidelines that you should follow for bathing your poodle while in heat are:1. Be gentle2. Use Mild Shampoo3. Do not force her to bathe4. Encourage her by giving her treats5. Use lukewarm water

A toy poodle hyper after bathing

Does your poodle go crazy after bathing? Let us know what your poodle dog is like after bathing in the comments below.

Final Thoughts

I hope after reading this article, all your poodle bathing related questions were answered.

If not, be sure to comment down your questions, and we would love to include them in this article.

Poodle bathing is crucial for the dog and neglecting to do so is considered cruelty by many breeders.

A majority of poodle owners have admitted to the fact that a poodle requires more efforts and attention than any other breed.

However, don’t let this alarm you. Poodles are a very healthy breed. All they require is good food, proper grooming, and common sense when it comes to caring for them.

To help you out, we will continue to provide more helpful poodle related content so that you can learn the best way to care for your poodle.

References And Resources For Further Reading

Debas, H., & Grossman, M. (2019, April 28). Chemicals Bathing the Oxyntic Gland Area Stimulate Acid Secretion in Dog. Retrieved August 11, 2020

O. Braun-Falco, H., H. Doehner, H., Draize, J., PD. Eckersall, M., Gerisch, M., DMcE. Jenkinson, R., . . . Zlotogorski, A. (1986, January 01). Comparison of skin pH in domesticated and laboratory mammals. Retrieved August 10, 2020

Dib, P. (2004). The guide to owning a poodle. Neptune City, NJ: T.F.H. Publications

W. (n.d.). Bathing Your Dog. Retrieved August 10, 2020

By Nancy Williams

Hi! My name is Nancy Williams, and I'm a poodle owner. I started PoodleGo because I was tired of not being able to find high-quality information about how to care for my poodle. I wanted to help others who were also frustrated with the lack of good poodle information on the internet. I spend every spare moment reading about poodles, talking to other poodle owners, and learning more about best practices for caring for my dog. I love seeing a healthy, well-groomed, happy poodle—and hope that my site will help you get there!


  1. My poodle will rub himself around the carpets like mad after being bathed. He hates the hairdryer and I assumed that rubbing himself like this generates heat so that he dries from the inside out. When he has rubbed himself enough, I cocoon him in a clean soft towel and he lies on another and he will snooze for a good hour. When he wakes he is usually almost completely dry. Obviously in the summer he will run around the garden like mad in the sunshine and he dries in no time.
    After all, in the wild, there would have been no hairdryers would there?

  2. I recently got toy poodles I love poodles my question is do they need a special food I don’t know if you have any knowledge of that or not some people say that they need to have special food I thought dog food was dog food maybe I’m wrong I Don’t know but I want to give them the best food I can if you have any recommendations that would be great whether it be dog kibble or homemade food thank you Linda and what’s the best shampoo to use so I can recommend it to the groomer or if I need to give them a bath myself at home right now they’re very small the two boys are three months old and the little girl is 2 months old just curious she is white and apricot and the boys are black one has some weight on its chest and went on his chin doesn’t matter what kind of shampoo you use on black or white and do you need to use conditioner and should you dry them with a hair dryer or is there some special tools you want to use thank you Linda

  3. It was really helpful when you talked about how poodles don’t need to be bathed on a daily basis. My wife and I are contemplating adopting a poodle from one of our neighbors. We don’t want our house to get too dirty from having an animal in it, so we will definitely wash the poodle on a weekly basis.

  4. I take my sweet girl in the shower w me… I have a hand held shower head so I can direct the spray to the wall after I get her wet… I sit on a plastic stool to wash her then use the spray head to rinse thoroughly. ( it is very easy to avoid her face and ears this way) Occasionally, I put a human hair collagen treatment on the thick hair on her back… leaving it for a few minutes. After rinsed and dryed… her hair is as soft as a plush toy. She lets me electric hair dry her until she’s only “damp” then outside to her dog run she scoots to lay on the warm cement in the sun. About an hour later she re-enters the house toasty warm and fully dry!!! It’s a repeatable pattern.

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