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Grooming Puppies: When & How to Do It

Grooming Puppies: When & How to Do It

Grooming your new puppy can be overwhelming. Our vets in New Iberia explain why it's important and offer tips for a stress-free experience.

The First Time You Groom Your Puppy

It's important to make the first grooming session for puppies as stress-free and enjoyable as possible since they have excellent memories and remember their first experiences well. To achieve this, you can start by touching your young pooch's fur, paws, nails, ears, and teeth from a young age, making them comfortable with your touch.

You can also gradually introduce them to water by dipping their paws into a warm tub of water with increasing water levels each time. Additionally, you can let your puppy get accustomed to the scent of the shampoo you selected or the one your professional groomer will use by letting them sniff it off your fingers or putting a small amount on their paws.

Once your young pooch is comfortable with being handled, you can start brushing and combing them at home to get them used to the tools a professional groomer might use. At around 16 weeks old, you can give your puppy a full grooming session or take them to a professional groomer, which is usually when they have received all their scheduled puppy vaccinations.

How to Groom Your Puppy at Home

It's important to familiarize your puppy with grooming tasks like being touched and getting wet from an early age. This will reduce their nervousness and anxiety during future grooming sessions..

Brushing Your Puppy

Here are the steps we recommend taking when you are brushing your puppy, to help make the process more smooth:

  1. Familiarize your puppy with being handled, touched, and exposed to water before starting grooming. Introduce the brush and comb by letting your puppy sniff them. Then, gently touch the brush to their fur to help them get used to the feeling. Repeat this for about two minutes, multiple times a day.
  2. After roughly 5 days of getting your young pup used to the tools, slowly start grooming them.
  3. Establish and stick to a grooming routine, as puppies respond well to routines. Before grooming, play with your puppy for a few minutes to associate the start of the routine with fun. This will also help your puppy feel tired and calmer during grooming. Choose a quiet and calm location, such as a mat in the bathroom, to consistently groom your puppy.
  4. When you start brushing, begin with larger body parts such as the back and sides and gradually work your way to harder to reach and more sensitive parts such as the belly, head, and legs. If you come across a knot don't yank, place your hand on the skin (to prevent the tugging feeling), and comb the knot with firm, quick strokes.

The frequency of brushing depends on your puppy's needs. For puppies with longer fur that tangles easily, brush them every day to prevent knots and mats. Otherwise, brushing them once a week should suffice.

Bathing Your Puppy

Below we have listed the steps for giving your puppy a bath at home: 

  1. Fill a tub, sink, or basin with a few inches of warm water
  2. Thoroughly wet their fur all over (you can use a jug, hose, or pitcher) and apply a shampoo specially formulated for puppies. Lather it all over their back, legs, armpits, belly, and groin, but do not put water or shampoo on their head or face because it can irritate places such as their eyes, mouth, and ears. Never use human shampoo on your dog because it's not good for their skin.
  3. With a jug, hose, or pitcher, completely rinse off the shampoo, until the water starts running clear.
  4. Gently pat your puppy down with a warm, dry towel. Keep your puppy warm until they are completely dry. You can do this by keeping them in a warm room and providing them with a warm bed or blanket to lay on.

It is recommended to give your puppy a bath once a month. However, if your furry friend gets dirty or muddy, you may need to give them a bath more frequently. If your puppy has sensitive skin, it's best to wait a little longer between bathing sessions. If you're unsure about how often to bathe your puppy, don't hesitate to seek advice from your veterinarian. They can provide guidance on your pup's specific bathing needs.

Hair Cuts and Nail Clippings

We understand that trimming your puppy's fur or nails can be a nerve-wracking experience. That's why we recommend taking your pup to a professional groomer who has the necessary tools, training, and equipment to groom your dog safely and effectively. Proper grooming is crucial for your puppy's health and well-being. 

It's important to note that there are specific haircuts for each breed, so we suggest consulting with your veterinarian to determine which cut is best for your furry friend, as well as which scissors to use. 

When it comes to clipping your pup's nails, we recommend using dog-specific clippers and only trimming a little bit at a time to avoid cutting them too short, which could cause bleeding and discomfort. If you're unsure about performing this task, it's best to have it done professionally. Puppies require more frequent nail trims than adult dogs, and the rate at which their nails grow varies by breed, so we suggest speaking to your vet about your puppy's specific needs.

Ways to Keep Your Puppy Calm During Grooming

Here we have provided some tips on how you can keep your puppy as relaxed and calm as possible while you are grooming them:

  • Stay calm and speak in a soothing tone
  • Introduce your puppy to touch, brushing, and water early on to familiarize them
  • Play with them beforehand to calm them down and associate the start of a grooming session with playtime
  • Create a regular grooming routine and schedule for your puppy
  • Take breaks when needed and move at your puppy's pace
  • Treat your puppy and give rewards for good behavior

The Benefits of Grooming Your Puppy

Here are some of the benefits of regularly grooming your puppy:

  • Your pooch looks and feels better in general 
  • It provides you or a professional with the opportunity to find fleas, mites, or other skin conditions
  • Your puppy will smell better
  • Getting rid of mats that can cause your puppy pain and discomfort
  • You can clear away dead skin and shed fur
  • Regular nail trims keep their claws from getting too long which could cause pain, bad posture, and bone deformations

    If you want to know more about grooming for your puppy or wish to book a grooming appointment for your furry friend at All Creatures Veterinary Hospital, get in touch with our vets at New Iberia today.

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