How Often to Bathe a Boston Terrier?

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by Lily Ferreras


For us, daily and frequent showering is common. But what about your pooch – does your Boston Terrier need a bath every day or every week? How often should you bathe your Boston Terrier?

Boston Terriers can be bathed every 4 to 6 weeks or when dirty, itchy or stinky. You can bathe your Boston Terrier more often if necessary, although some dogs can go as long as 8 weeks without a bath.

Although the frequency can change depending on some factors, you don’t want to bathe your dog too often as it removes the natural oils from their skin (more below).

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to bathe your Boston Terrier puppy and adult), as well as what to use to avoid itchy skin.


How Often to Bathe a Boston Terrier

As a rule of thumb, Boston Terriers need a bath when they are dirty, itchy or stinky.

You might be wondering why…

Frequent bathing strips the natural oils out of their skin and dogs need those oils in their fur to keep their coats and skin healthy.

However, there are times that you need to bathe your pooch to maintain her (and your house) smelling fresh!

To give you a time reference, you can bathe your Boston Terrier every 4, 6 or 8 weeks. The frequency depends on many factors:

  • Outdoor time: How much time does your Boston spend outdoors? Some love to get dirty (jumping into mud puddles and rolling in the dirt). However, if the soil is dusty or wet, your dog’s paws, legs and belly are bound to get dirty when going for a walk.
  • Age: Boston Terrier puppies don’t need to have a bath until they are 3 months old. Refer to the “How to Bathe a Boston Terrier Puppy” section below.
  • Skin conditions: If your Boston has any allergies or other skin conditions, this will also affect how often he will get a bath. Check with your vet for a more specific approach to his bathing routine.

The frequency of your Boston Terrier’s baths can also change throughout the year depending on the time spent outdoors.

How Often to Bathe a Boston Terrier Puppy

Boston Terrier puppies don’t need to have a bath until they are 3 months old unless they are visibly dirty or smelly.

Continue reading to see how to bathe a Boston Terrier puppy. 😉


How to Bathe a Boston Terrier Puppy

Boston Terrier Newborns

For Boston Terrier newborns, you can wash them gently with a warm, moist washcloth, particularly rubbing gently the lower abdomen and rectum areas.

However, they don’t usually get “dirty,” as they’re not moving around or playing. Generally, since they are still with their mother dog, she will lick her puppies to clean them.

Boston Terrier Puppies

In general, Boston Terrier puppies don’t need to have a bath unless they’re visibly dirty or smelly.

When washing your pup, place your puppy in some warm, shallow water for a shampoo-less bath. Also, keep your pup warm during and after cleaning, as chills can lead to illness.

This is a great way to get him introduced to water too! Plus, it will help with his bath time routine.

I mentioned shampoo-less because most dog shampoos are for dogs above 3 months. So you might want to go for a shampoo-less bath in the beginning. 😉

You can also check with your chosen vet if you want to bath your BT puppy before he’s 3 months old.


How to Bathe a Boston Terrier

Now it’s time to just follow these simple steps and enjoy the bath!

#1 – Have Bathing Essentials at Hand

Here are the basics things you need to bath your Boston Terrier at home:

  • A bathing space: Kitchen sink, laundry tub, walk-in shower, regular bathtub… Or my prefered place, a small foldable pool in the garden (I got mine in Amazon).
  • A big enough towel: I only use one to dry my doggie.
  • Shampoo for dogs: The type of shampoo you use will depend on your Boston Terrier’s needs as well as your personal preferences. Refer to Dog Shampoos section below for more details.
  • Conditioner for dogs: I don’t use dog conditioner. However, I rub some coconut oil on the dog’s skin after he’s dry. It’s great to avoid dry and itchy skin!
  • A washcloth: For drying your Boston’s face, nose wrinkles and ears. Personally, I use dog wipes with anti-bacterial properties, but free of parabens, alcohol, and harsh chemicals. I wipe both the face and nose wrinkles with them. Then, I dry the face with a soft towel.
  • A rubber brush: I like using a rubber brush (available in Amazon) to brush him before the bath and also afterwards, to remove the excess of water.
  • A helper/2nd person: Especially if your Boston is nervous or you are new to this process.

#2 – Brush Your Dog’s Coat Before Bathing

Before bathing your Boston Terrier, always brush him first.

Otherwise, putting your pooch in the bath (or other bathing space) will only make the water dirty and him even dirtier.

It’s also great to get rid off any dead hairs and relax your dog using calming strokes with both your hand and the rubber brush.


#3 – Get Your Dog Thoroughly Wet

Place your Boston in the tub, and pour water over him until he’s thoroughly wet.

Don’t pour water over your dog’s head. You want to avoid water getting into his ear canals. Plus, they don’t tend to like it!

#4 – Apply Shampoo Avoiding the Face and Ears

Pour a strip of shampoo down your dog’s back.

Then wash his back, his armpits and under his neck.

Next, go over the belly, groin, and all four legs. Pay special attention to your Boston Terrier’s paws, which pick up the most dirt.

On days when you don’t give a full bath, you can give your dog a quick foot bath – keeping his paws clean will make him more comfortable. Or you can use those multiuse dog wipes on his paws!


#5 – Rinse-Off Thoroughly All the Shampoo

Thoroughly rinse all the shampoo off your dog.

This is very important for your dog’s skin health. If your Boston Terrier suffers from itchy skin, shampoo leftovers will only irritate his skin further.

If you have long hair, think how long you spend rinsing it! I definitely spend some time with mine!

#6 – Wash Your Dog’s Face and Wrinkles

After the body, now it’s time to wash your dog’s face.

Personally, I use dog wipes to clean the face and nose wrinkles. Since your Boston’s skin folds can get infected easily, I prefer to wipe them with anti-bacterial dog wipes.

Then, I dry the face and those little wrinkles with a soft towel. You can read more about it at How to Clean Boston Terrier Nose Wrinkles blog post.

It’s also at this point that I dry the ears so that I can move on to cleaning them after he is totally dry and comfortable.

#7 – Pat Dry Your Dog With a Towel

Wipe off the excess water with your hand, or with the rubber brush (which I prefer to do).

Then, grab the towel and pat him dry. Keep him warm, especially in the colder months.


#8 – Reward Your Boston Terrier’s Patience!

You don’t need to wait until after drying your dog to reward his patience and good behaviour with praises, lots of caresses and some healthy treats!

The goal is – besides getting your dog clean – to create a positive experience so your Boston Terrier likes (or at least tolerates) being bathed.

It’s beneficial for both puppy and owner to start getting in contact with water from early stages, since he’ll be needing at least occasional baths throughout his life, and bath time will be a lot easier if he enjoys it, or at least is accustomed to it and doesn’t grow to hate water.

#9 – Blow Dry The Coat (If Tolerable)

Especially when in a cold season, you might want to blow dry your Boston on low heat to get him back to his normal body temperature.

I wouldn’t recommend this step if your dog hates bathing; it will only make him more miserable. Also, if your pooch is scared of the noise, avoid this for now, until you can gradually desensitize him (i.e., he overcomes his fear of hairdryers by gradually getting used to it).

Watch our bathing tutorial here:

What’s Next?

Since your pooch’s ears already got wet, it’s a great time to clean them. How to Clean Boston Terrier Ears will give you a step by step guide for this.

Also, you could clip your Boston Terriers nails afterwards. Find out more in the How to Cut Boston Terrier Nails blog post.

You can take breaks in between or even clip his nails another day. It all depends on how comfortable your BT is.

However, I would definitely clean his ears after the bath to prevent any infections since they just got moist because of the bath.


Dog Bathing Essentials

In step #1, I mentioned the basic things that you need to bathe your pooch. Here I go into more detail on the rubber brush and dog shampoos.

Rubber Brush

A rubber brush is a great ally when bathing your Boston Terrier. It’s soft against his skin, and it feels like you are massaging him with every stroke. Plus, this type of brush is effective to comb their short hair.

I use it to not only brush him before the bath (removing dead hairs and dirt) but also to remove the excess of water after he’s been bathed.

Dog Shampoos

I still haven’t found a shampoo that I would recommend. However, I always try to go for one that is:

  • Free of harsh chemicals (i.e. no sulfates and fragrance).
  • Certified organic ingredients (like organic coconut oil).

Also, here are some tips on harmful ingredients to avoid:

  • D-trans Allethrin: It is from a class of synthetic chemicals called pyrethroids, derived from natural chemicals found in chrysanthemums. Synthetic varieties are significantly more potent and persistent than naturally-occurring products and can cause allergic responses. Also a suspected endocrine system disruptor.
  • Resmethrin: It is also from the chemical class called pyrethroids.
  • Pyriproxyfen and S-Methoprene: It is considered relatively safe with low toxicity. However, data is lacking about their risks when combined with the above chemicals, which may be the case on some dog shampoo.

Finally, you should avoid shampoos that include oatmeal since some Boston Terriers have problems with grains and they are also likely to have problems with oatmeal shampoos.

P.S. Grooming is an important factor for your Boston Terrier’s overall health! For more BT grooming tips, check out How to Groom a Boston Terrier – Basic Guide blog post.

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