For A New Puppy
Grooming is an important part of puppy wellness, but it can be a tricky task for new puppy parents.
Puppies grow fast in their first year – including hair, skin and nails – and it all has to be taken care of by you.
For many owners, it can be overwhelming and hard to know where to start with grooming. Or even which products to use.
But fear not, we’ve got you covered.
Here are all the puppy grooming tips you will need to keep your puppy looking it’s very best.
What is puppy grooming?
Grooming is the hygienic care and grooming of a puppy.
Dogs, especially puppies, love to play and run around outside. This means they come into contact with grass, mud, sand and lots of other substances that can get stuck in their hair.
Then there is just general day-to-day living and the natural growth of hair and nails that have to be monitored.
In a nutshell, puppy grooming is part of ensuring the health and wellbeing of your pup – as well as making him or her look presentable.
Whether grooming at home or by a professional, the process usually entails bathing, brushing, nail trimming, ear cleaning and hair trimming.
When should a puppy be groomed for the first time?
Dog groomers recommend a puppy can visit a professional groomer for the first time from around 10 to 12 weeks of age – as long as they have received all necessary vaccinations.
This is a good time to start because it will help your pup get used to being handled by a groomer from a young age.
However, groomers also recommend some preparation before taking a puppy to the groomers.
This includes gently stroking their hair and massaging the paws and tips of the toes to help your puppy get used to being touched.
Another useful tip is to give your pup a small treat, so the actions become associated with something that is enjoyable and rewarded.
This way, your puppy will become familiar with the attention and feel more comfortable with grooming – whether at home or at a salon.
After the first session, it can take two or three times for a puppy to get used to grooming, so don’t worry if your pup doesn’t like grooming straight away.
How do I get my puppy to calm down for grooming?
If a puppy is excited and full of energy, it can be hard for them to sit still for a grooming session. And sitting still is important – especially when groomers are handling scissors and clippers.
A good way to tackle this problem is to engage your pup in play time before grooming.
Recommended games are those that involve lots of running or use a lot of energy, like fetch. Basically, you want your pup to be tired during grooming and not eager to run around.
During play time, it’s also advised to practice commands and give your puppy treats for good behaviour.
This will put your pup in a good mood and will help to establish a routine of play, reward, grooming and reward.
Puppies respond well to positive praise and will naturally want to repeat the good behaviour to receive another treat in the future.
When it’s time to start the grooming session, experts recommend talking to your puppy in a soft, soothing voice combined with lots of petting and cuddling.
If you are doing the grooming yourself for the first time, gradually introduce items like scissors and clippers. Some puppies can easily become frightened so it’s important to make them feel safe.
For people taking a puppy to a professional, the first session will mostly involve the groomer getting to know your pup.
Make sure you stay present though in case your puppy gets anxious and needs some reassurance with petting and soft talking.
What puppy grooming supplies do I need?
To take care of your little pup as it grows into a big dog, you will need a few key grooming supplies.
First, you will need a brush for your dog’s hair.
Brushing is an important part of puppy care, especially when they’re moulting, or you have a breed with long hair. Plus, most dogs love it for the relaxing massaging effect it has.
For short-haired dogs, a rubber toothed brush or short bristle brush should do the trick.
For dogs with longer hair, you might need a brush with longer bristles. Also, long-haired dogs will have to be brushed daily to avoid tangles, and even trimmed regularly.
Second, purchase a pair of puppy nail clippers.
Dog’s nails need to be trimmed on a regular basis to avoid nail overgrowth or breakage. You can either do it yourself or take your dog to a professional trimmer.
If you decide to do it yourself, you will need a good pair of specialised dog nail clippers, preferably in stainless steel.
Next, you will need special puppy shampoo.
Puppies, and grown dogs, can have sensitive skin, so take care with the products you use. Make sure you select a puppy-formulated shampoo for washing your dog.
A general rule is that dogs only need to be washed with shampoo every few months. Unless they get particularly dirty on a walk or (unfortunately) decide to roll in something foul.
Finally, puppies need toothpaste.
As with the shampoo, the same rule applies to toothpaste – only use special dog-friendly products, not those made for humans.
Not only will cleaning your puppy’s teeth result in fresh breath, but it will also help to protect against gum disease and other health conditions in the future.
Wondering what other supplies you need for a puppy? Check out our guide here.