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Bathing Poodles: How Often Is Enough? (11 Bathings Tips)

How often should you be bathing your poodle? This is a common question and one that’s very important. The correct bathing frequency can be the difference between your poodle having healthy skin and coat, or a trip to the vets! So let’s make sure it’s the former!


How Often Should You Bathe Your Poodle?

As explained above, the best frequency is every 3-4 weeks. This is more than enough to keep her clean and healthy. However, If your poodle gets particularly dirty only a week after her last bath then, by all means, go ahead and bathe her again. That will be fine.

It’s important to note that poodles have a very different kind of hair than other breeds, which certainly has an impact on this topic. I will go into this further below.

Why Bathe Your Poodle Once Every 3-4 Weeks?

Bathing at this frequency is good for two important reasons:

1. To preserve natural oils.
Bathing at this frequency should not remove too many of the natural oils. Natural oils are constantly produced by the skin and are responsible for keeping the skin and hair moisturized and strong.

The moment that these oils are removed (in excess) it leaves the skin dry and scaly and the hair brittle. Then, the body will realize this and suddenly produce an excess of oil to compensate.

Unfortunately, this only leads to further issues, with clogging of the pores, matting of the coat, and a smelly greasy coat. Which then requires another bath, right? errr… wait a minute, that’s an easy cycle to slip into!

2. Sufficient to keep her clean.
Bathing every 2 weeks is frequent enough and sufficient to keep your poodle’s skin and hair clean, free from bacteria build-up, and to keep her healthy in general.

Can You Bathe Your Poodle Once a Week?

Many owners prefer to bathe their poodles on a weekly basis. This is just as common as those who are in the “2-week club”.

So is this okay?

Well, it seems to be working well for many others, so it may also work well for your poodle too. But I would without a doubt, pay very close attention to how her body responds.

Inspect her skin and hair daily to ensure it’s not drying out or being irritated. Keep tabs on the texture of her hair, how she feels and how she smells. If all is well, then weekly will be fine for your poodle too.

The kind of shampoo and conditioner you use on your poodle is important anyway, but at this increased frequency, could be the difference between whether your poodle reacts badly or not. So let’s get into that below.

Recommended read: Poodle Tail Styles (Complete Guide)

The Best Kind of Shampoo For Your Poodle

The shampoo and conditioner can make all the difference when it comes to bathing your furry friend.

The best and only shampoo and conditioner you should be using on your poodle is a natural-ingredient dog shampoo.

This means avoiding the use of human shampoo and even regular dog shampoo.

The issue with regular dog shampoo is that it contains far too many harsh chemicals, alcohols, detergents, parabens and fragrances. The harsh ingredients are terrible for your poodle’s skin and hair and are a big reason to why the natural oils get removed in excess.

By getting rid of the harsh chemicals, you suddenly have a much safer and milder product that doesn’t strip her skin and coat from those important oils. Yet, will still do a great job at cleaning.

Our favorite natural ingredient shampoo and conditioner: Pro Pet Works All Natural & Organic Hypoallergenic Shampoo + Conditioner

Can You Use Baby Shampoo On Poodles?

Yes! baby shampoo is the only other shampoo besides a natural ingredient dog shampoo that you can use on your poodle.

Baby shampoo is designed to be incredibly mild, yet still has some basic cleansing ingredients included. If you don’t have an appropriate canine shampoo then baby shampoo is the next best thing.

Please do not use regular human shampoo on your poodle as it’s too strong. Shampoo that’s designed for us is too acidic for dogs and could ruin something called the acid mantle which is essentially a protective outer layer on their skin.

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The 11 Most Important Poodle Bathing Tips To Know

Let’s run through 11 of the most beneficial tips to know to make each bathing session stress-free, safe, and effective.

1. Brush first

Brushing first is a must. This will help to brush out any loose hairs as well as detangle her coat before getting wet. For poodles, a pin and bristle brush is by far the most appropriate.

2. Use lukewarm water only

To keep this as pleasurable as possible, the water should not be too hot or too cold. Lukewarm is ideal. This will avoid your poodle getting too cold, and avoid the chances of her skin drying out by using water too warm.

3. Use a leash if necessary

If your poodle is one for running away and riggling around too much, it’s best to use a leash to keep her put and safe. If your poodle stays still then a leash might not be needed. With enough positive associations with bath time, a leash might not be necessary for the future.

4. Use non-slip mats

Whether you’re bathing your poodle in your bathtub, up on the sink, or outside, ensuring the surface isn’t slippery is a basic safety requirement. Even small dogs can slip and really injure their legs, hips, and joints. A simple, but important precautionary measure to take. Quality non-slip mat

5. Cotton balls in the ears

To avoid ear infections, use some cotton balls placed just inside the ear to keep her ear dry. Of course, keep the balls large so there is no risk of them going deep inside.

6. Shampoo thoroughly

Use your fingertips to really get the shampoo down through her coat and onto her skin. One of the most common mistakes owners make is not sufficiently lathering up the shampoo and massaging it into the skin.

7. Shampoo twice

Yep, double shampooing is such a thing. Shampoo, rinse, then repeat. This ensures you really clean her skin and coat sufficiently. This will leave her smelling extra amazing!

8. Talk to her throughout bathing

For those that don’t like bathing, it helps to keep her calm and reassured with your voice. Believe it or not, your voice is the single most important sound to your poodle and you can do a lot with it when using the right tone. Frequently reminding her she’s a good girl to help keep her calm and relaxed.

9. Rinse, rinse, and rinse again

It’s so important to ensure no suds are left when rinsing. Any amount of shampoo residue could lead to scratching, irritation, dry skin, and even infections! This is an easy mistake to make so be sure to rinse thoroughly.

10. Dry with a towel and hairdryer

Pat your poodle down with a clean towel as much as possible, then use a hairdryer on a cool to low heat setting. Be sure to keep the hairdryer moving at all times, remaining about 20-30 centimeters away from her. She should be dry to touch, before being allowed to do the post-bathtime zoomies! Leaving her wet could result in her getting too cold, too quickly, which could end up being a medical emergency. Always ensure she’s dry and warm.

11. Brush after bathing

Just as you brush before, it’s necessary to brush after. This is the final touch and helps to detangle and separate the curls in case they became knotted throughout the bathing or drying. Don’t miss this step!

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Thanks for reading!

Additional Resource


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.