Find out everything you need to know about grooming a puppy. Let’s explore your puppy’s grooming needs.
Do puppies need grooming?
Grooming involves taking care of your puppy’s appearance and making sure they are clean – an important task, considering how mischievous puppies can be! Checking if your puppy needs grooming usually includes making sure your puppy’s ears, nose and eyes are clean, that their fur is not matted and dirty, and that their paws are clean.
The benefits of puppy grooming
- Maintains a healthy skin and coat.
- Improves circulation.
- Reduces stress and blood pressure – in both of you.
- Helps you notice unusual lumps, bumps, parasites or scratches.
How often should puppies be groomed?
How often your puppy needs to be groomed depends on their breed. Puppies with long hair may need to be groomed more often than puppies with short hair. This is because their hair gets dirtier and matted more easily. Dogs with long ears may need more attention; if any dirt is left in the ear, it could lead to infection. Do not clean your dog’s ears yourself, as they are very delicate. They need the attention of a vet or groomer.
How do you groom puppies with long hair?
Longer coats need daily attention to avoid knots. Begin with a pinhead brush or comb to untangle matted hair, taking particular care around the backside, tail and legs. Brush and comb the coat forward, then backwards - this will bring out the natural shine in silky coats.
If you own a long-haired puppy, consider taking them to professional groomers to keep them clean.
Such groomers usually have a range of services that you can choose from, such as bathing your puppy, cutting their hair, checking their eyes and ears to make sure they are clean, checking their nose to make sure it is moist and not cracked, and cleaning their paws. They also check your puppy’s underbelly to make sure it is clean. These services make sure your long-haired pup is in the best shape possible.
How old does a puppy have to be to be groomed?
It is good to establish puppy grooming routines when your dog is still young and capable of learning new behaviour. Their size also makes them easier to control at this stage, so it’s a good idea to get them used to bathing and grooming.
How to groom a puppy?
Below is a list of common things to consider when grooming a puppy.
Dogs rarely need to have their nails clipped, as they are automatically kept in check by the friction caused when your dog walks. However, just to make sure the nails do not break and bleed, there may be instances where you need to either file them (if your dog is patient enough!) or use designated clippers, available from pet shops or your vet. Never use human nail clippers or scissors.
It may take some time for your dog to become adjusted to nail clipping, but starting young is best. Trimming puppy nails ensures that no dirt or grass gets stuck in them, keeping your puppy’s paws infection-free.
Inspect your dog’s nails before you cut to see where the ‘quick’ ends – this is the sensitive nerve of the nail. Avoid nipping the quick as this can be painful and bleed. If this happens, apply pressure with cotton wool and it should soon stop. Only clip dog nails that need attention and don’t forget the dew claw by your dog’s wrist. If you don’t feel confident trimming puppy nails, your vet will be happy to do it for you. If you notice a ripped, torn or missing claw these may need medical attention.
Brush your dog’s hair regularly, especially if you own a long-haired dog. Not brushing their hair can lead to fur matting and tangling. This can be painful especially when dirt clumps form and it becomes harder to untangle the coat. Special dog brushes and combs are available in the market. Choose one that suits the type of coat your dog has and try and brush their fur at least once in two days to help get rid of loose hair and reduce shedding.
Most dogs don’t need to be bathed, but it may become necessary if your dog rolls in mud or something messy! When bathing your puppy, choose a special shampoo made for them. Do not use shampoos for humans.
Puppies need their teeth brushed as part of puppy grooming at home. Establish this process early and they will get used to having their teeth brushed when they get older. Start by getting them used to your fingers in their mouth then introduce the toothpaste and finally the brush. As always, praise and reward will help you get there.
Make sure you use specially designed dog toothbrushes. There are also special dog toothpastes, some of which are meat flavoured. Give your dog a bit of this, so they can get used to the taste. Don’t use human toothpaste as these can be harmful for them.
Your puppy’s ears should be clean and healthy-looking. If the ear smells or leaks fluid, take your puppy to the vet to check for infection. Never try cleaning the ear yourself.
Your puppy may also have mucus build-up around their eye corners. Gently dab with a damp cotton ball. Do not allow mucus to build up too much, as it can infect the eye. If mucus is collecting too often, take your puppy to the vet as it may be a sign that something is wrong.
Now that you know about the basics of puppy grooming at home you can be confident keeping your puppy squeaky clean at all times.