Grooming your puppy can be a daunting task. There are many things to consider like when to start, what you'll need, and what needs to be done to ensure they are groomed properly. Our Catawba Animal Clinic vets can answer all those questions for you.
Puppy's First at Home Grooming
Now that you have your new puppy and they have had a few weeks to adjust to their new surroundings, it is time to plan your puppy's first at-home grooming. You should begin introducing grooming time to your puppy around 10-12 weeks of age. To prepare your puppy for this, you should gradually introduce them to touch. Lift your puppy's paws and massage the pads and tips of its toes.
You might also want to reward your puppy during this time with small treats (like chicken or cheese). Your puppy should start come to associate this attention with delicious rewards, he’s more likely to enjoy the procedure when it’s time for the actual grooming ritual.
When it comes time to groom your puppy, it is always best to do it right after playtime. If your puppy is tired it will settle down quickly and will be a lot easier to handle. This playtime can also be an extra treat for them as they get used to the grooming routine.
What You Need
Depending on your puppy, there are a few different things you will need to do for your grooming at home. Puppies have so many different kinds of coats so, it will depend on their coat, and what type of brush you will need.
For example, if your puppy has a thin coat, they generally require a fine-toothed comb. If your puppy has a thick coat, you should invest in a wide-toothed version.
If you’re not sure which category your puppy falls into, choose a slicker brush. It’s a good multi-purpose brush that works well on most types of dog hair.
A brush is the only thing you will need when grooming puppies at home, you should have a starter supply of:
- Dog shampoo
- Dog toothpaste
- Dog toothbrush
- Toenail clippers
- Towels for drying
- Electric clippers
- Cotton balls (for cleaning out its ears)
How to Groom a Puppy
Four important things need to be done with grooming your puppy;
Dental Care: Your puppy probably is not going to like you sticking your hands into their mouth so this might not be easy at first. Your puppy will try to nibble on the toothbrush and possibly your hands as your doing this. But brushing is very important to your dog's oral health and daily brushing can prevent cavities and gingivitis.
Bathing: You want to make sure to bathe your dog when needed, like when they smell terrible but not to over-bathe them because that removes oils that are needed in your puppy's coat. When bathing your puppy treat them like an infant and make sure to test the water. If it is too warm for you, then it's too warm for your puppy.
Nail Care: You must make your dog comfortable during this process. It might be easy to let them lick peanut butter as a treat the first few times to get them excited about grooming. When trimming their nails you want to be very careful not to cut too close to the quick. This can be very painful for your puppy. If your puppy has brown or black nails it back is hard to locate quickly, so try just taking off little bits at a time.
Trimming the Coat: It is best to cut your puppy's coat when it is damp after a bath. Puppies do not always need frequent trimmings but as they grow older they may need more, especially if your puppy has a thick coat. When trimming your puppy's coat you want to start from the back of the neck and work your way down to the legs. Just take a little bit off at a time because you do not want to over-trim your puppy's coat.
Make a Routine
Grooming should be included in your puppy's schedule as soon as possible to ensure that they become accustomed to it. If you wait too long, your puppy may have a stressful experience. Remember that your dog is a creature of habit, and bring your dog to the same spot each time you groom them so they know how to react. For example, if you clean your dog in the kitchen, make sure it does so in the future.
Getting your puppy to sit still and allow you to brush their fur and teeth more than once a week can be difficult but as long as you keep up with it, there shouldn't be any issues.
When can I take my puppy to the groomer?
We recommend starting at the age of 12 weeks. The first grooming appointment introduces the puppy and owner to the world of grooming. Bathing, blow drying, nail clipping, and minor trimming will be introduced to the puppy.