If you're wondering how often is best to bathe your Poodle, the best equipment to use, and if bathing before you clip your Poodle is necessary, then this post is for you. Depending on your Poodle’s lifestyle and how dirty they get on a weekly basis changes how often you should bathe your Poodle. Your Poodle can generally be bathed frequently - even as much as once or twice a week, as long as you follow good grooming practices. Can you bathe a Poodle too often? In general, Poodles can (and should) be bathed once every 2-3 weeks. However, you can often bathe your Poodle weekly if they have gotten dirty and if you are using the proper shampoo and conditioner. Especially if you keep your Poodle’s fur long, it’s extremely important to keep up with their grooming, which includes baths! Frequent baths will also make brushing much easier, as your Poodle’s coat won’t mat as easily. However, you can also cause problems if you bathe your Poodle frequently and do it incorrectly. If your Poodle has sensitive skin, it’s especially important to pay attention to the type of shampoo and conditioner you are using. You may want to consider a sensitive skin formula if you have noticed problems with your dog’s skin being itchy or dry after a bath. We highly recommend Burt's Bees Tearless Puppy Shampoo with Buttermilk. As for conditioner, you can't go past Zesty Paws Oatmeal Anti-Itch Conditioner with Aloe Vera. If your poodle is a pup you might like to read our post, Can My Puppy Take a Bath Everyday? (Pet Care Guide and Tips) https://www.houndgames.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/shampoo-poodle.jpg It’s also critical that your Poodle is rinsed completely. A common mistake that is made with bathing a Poodle that leads to dry and itchy skin is leaving shampoo on their skin directly. You should also make sure that the shampoo you are using is OK to use as is, as some shampoos need to be diluted. Using a strong shampoo is another reason for irritation. Some conditioners are designed to be left in the coat, and some will need to be rinsed away. You can consider both options to see which is best for your dog’s coat and which leads to less irritation. Finally, you need to thoroughly dry your Poodle after a bath in order to keep their skin healthy. When oxygen can’t reach the skin, as is the case when your Poodle has matted fur or when a heavy wet coat is drying, it’s a prime breeding ground for bacteria. Instead of risking irritation or even a hot spot, invest in a good quality high velocity dog dryer and use it to ensure your Poodle is completely dry to the skin after a bath. This Flying Pig dryer is a quality professional-grade dog dryer you can purchase on Chewy, and it has a 1 year warranty: https://www.houndgames.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/dog-dryer-300x222.jpg If grooming isn’t for you, you can also always request that a professional groomer keeps your dog’s hair cut short, so you can more easily dry them at home. The average Poodle will need to visit a professional groomer for a haircut and bath every 5-8 weeks, depending on the length of their coat and the activities they engage in between appointments. Should I bathe my Poodle before clipping? You should only clip your Poodle when their fur is clean. There may be certain circumstances, such as a dog that is covered in mats, where you want to clip them before bathing. Using your clippers on a dirty dog will clog your clippers and lead to their deterioration. If you’ve been doing proper maintenance grooming on your Poodle, including bathing and brushing between clips, you shouldn’t need to shave down your dog due to mats before giving them a bath. If it’s been a week or two since you last gave your Poodle a bath, or they've recently engaged in some fun outdoor activities and gotten dirty, you’ll likely want to give them a bath prior to clipping their fur. This will ensure you are clipped clean fur, rather than fur that has a buildup of dust, dirt, and oils. Even though it’s ideal to clip a dog after a bath in many cases, you still need to make sure the dog is completely dry before you clip them. Running your clippers through wet fur can do as much damage as running them through dirty fur in some cases. This is where the investment of a dryer designed for dogs will come in handy, allowing you to decrease the amount of time you need to wait before you can clip your dog. You’ll also get a better idea of how your Poodle’s coat will sit when it’s dry. Cutting their hair when it's wet won’t give you an accurate picture of the final product, and may lead to some awkward lengths. https://www.houndgames.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/poodle-drying-200x300.jpg How to give a Poodle a bath Now that we’ve talked about an ideal bathing schedule, how to avoid damage to your dog’s coat or skin with bathing, and the order of bathing and clipping your Poodle, it’s time to talk about the best way to actually give your Poodle a bath! The steps to giving your Poodle a bath are as follows: \t Ensure the water temperature is not too cold and not too hot. Ideally, you’ll want the water to be warm enough that it is comfortable and not a shocking temperature, without it being too warm that the dog is uncomfortable. \t Thoroughly wet your Poodle from head to toe. If your Poodle has a thick coat, you’ll need to spend some time ensuring the water actually reaches their skin, and not just the top layer. \t A shower or bath attachment that allows you to use a wand to put the stream of water right next to their coat is often a very effective way to use the water. \t Add the shampoo, and scrub it into their coat. As previously discussed, you’ll want to pick a shampoo that is comfortable for your dog’s skin if they’ve had sensitivities in the past. \t Rinse the shampoo! Using the same method you did to soak your Poodle’s coat with water, you’ll want to rinse every last bit of shampoo from their coat. \t Starting at their head and working your way down their back, and then their sides, is the best way to prevent shampoo from running back into an area you had previously rinsed. \t The next step is to repeat steps 3-4. Yes, you’ll want to bathe your dog twice! This will ensure the coat is adequately clean and prepared for additional grooming. \t Finally, you’ll be adding conditioner to their coat. This helps prevent the coat from becoming dry and brittle due to frequent bathing. \t Explore a variety of conditioners to determine which is best for your dog - one that is left in the coat as it dries, or one that is also rinsed away afterwards. https://www.houndgames.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/poodle-clean.jpg After you’ve completed all the steps necessary to give your Poodle a bath, it’s time to dry them. A high velocity dryer designed specifically for use on dogs is ideal. Not only will the dryer ensure your dog’s coat is dried to the skin, but it will make their coat soft and fluffy in the process. After you’ve dried your Poodle completely, it’s time to dig out the brushes and clippers. If your dog doesn’t need a cut, you can go straight to the brushing. Otherwise, you can switch between brushing and clipping as you work on varying areas of your Poodle’s body. It’s important that the hair is dried and brushed in a natural fashion to ensure the clippers cut evenly across your Poodle’s body. There are also a variety of clips you can use on your Poodle. While a cut such as the Continental Cut is required for many Poodles entering the show ring, a Poodle that is a pet or engaged in other activities can have whatever cut you prefer. If you won’t be cutting your Poodle yourself, find some photos of the type of cut you’d like and make sure to discuss them with your groomer. The visual aid of a photo ensures you are both clear on what you’d prefer, since terms like “puppy cut” can vary. Hopefully we've given you some good tips and you now have an idea of the best way to approach your poodle at bath time! If you want to learn more about Teacup Poodles, we have this great post on them, Teacup Poodles: Your Questions Answered.