A new puppy comes with a lot of responsibility. One of the most important responsibilities is to maintain your puppy's health and appearance through regular grooming sessions. Today, our Rock Hill vets will discuss grooming your puppy at home first, and then how to prepare them for the groomers.

Puppy's First at Home Grooming

You should begin grooming time with 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 with small treats during this time so he associates this attention with tasty rewards. Your puppy will be more attentive and likely to enjoy the grooming process in the future as a result.

It is always best to groom your puppy immediately following playtime. If your puppy is tired, it will calm down quickly and be much easier to handle. This playtime can also serve as a reward for them as they become accustomed to the grooming routine.

Because puppies have so many different coats, your brush of choice will depend on their coat. If your puppy has a thin coat, you should use a fine-toothed comb; if your puppy has a thick coat, you should use a slicker brush. A good multi-purpose brush can work well on most dog hair types.

A brush is not 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)

Grooming Your Puppy

Four important things need to be done with grooming your puppy;

Dental Care: Your puppy is unlikely to appreciate you sticking your hands into its mouth, so this may be difficult at first. While you're doing this, your puppy will try to nibble on the toothbrush and possibly your hands. Brushing, on the other hand, is critical for your dog's oral health, and daily brushing can help prevent cavities and gingivitis.

Bathing: Bathe your dog only when necessary, such as when they smell bad and avoid over-bathing them because this removes essential oils from your puppy's coat. When bathing your puppy, treat them as an infant and test the water. If it's too hot for you, it's too hot for your puppy. 

Nail Care: You must make your dog feel at ease during this procedure. It may be simple to get them excited about grooming by allowing them to lick peanut butter as a treat the first few times. When trimming their nails, take care not to cut too close to the quick. This can be excruciatingly painful for your puppy. If your puppy has brown or black nails, it can be difficult to file them back quickly, so try taking off small bits at a time.

Trimming the Coat: When your puppy's coat is damp after a bath, it is best to cut it. Puppies do not always require frequent trimmings, but as they age, they may require more, particularly if your puppy has a thick coat. Trim your puppy's coat starting at the back of the neck and working your way down to the legs. You don't want to over-trim your puppy's coat, so just take a little bit off at a time.

Scheduling Grooming Early & Often

Many owners make the mistake of delaying their puppy's first grooming appointment for too long. Remember, the younger the puppy, the easier it will be to train. Puppies should be groomed no later than 16 weeks of age. Waiting too long, depending on the breed, can cause matting in your puppy's hair, which can be traumatizing and necessitate shaving.

The first session with your puppy should be brief. Many groomers advise sticking to the following services for the first few visits before progressing to a full cut later on:

  • Bathing
  • Light brushing
  • Nail trim
  • Ear cleaning
  • Light trim around the face

Make it a Routine

Grooming should begin as soon as possible in your puppy's schedule to ensure that they become accustomed to it. Remember that your dog is a creature of habit, so take them to the same spot every time you groom them so they know what to expect. For example, if you clean your dog in the bathroom, make sure cleaning always happens in the bathroom.

The same can be said for bringing your new puppy to the groomer. iI’s typically 6-8 weeks between grooming appointments, so make sure you follow this schedule to try and get your puppy accustomed to grooming.

Do you think it is time for your puppy's grooming? Contact our Catawba Animal Clinic vets for more information.