Puppy grooming hints and tips
Grooming your puppy is an important part of pet care, whether they have long hair or a short coat. It has plenty of benefits, from keeping their skin and fur clean and healthy, to strengthening the bond between the two of you. Here, we’ll explore your puppy’s grooming needs and top tips on how to keep them happy and healthy.
Does my puppy need to be groomed?
Dogs come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes and so do their coats, which means that all puppies will need some level of grooming. This will keep them looking their best while making sure their coat, ears, nose, eyes and paws are clean.
It will also make sure their fur remains free from any mats or debris they might have picked up while out on their walk and can help with identifying any early signs of parasites, like fleas and ticks.
The benefits of grooming your puppy
- Improves your puppy’s circulation
- Maintains a healthy coat and skin
- Removes any mats or debris
- Allows you to check for parasites
- Can check for lumps, bumps or cuts
- Allows you to spend quality time together
- Checking their claws allows you to spot any overgrown, painful, or broken nails
- Regular checking of ears will allow you to spot any signs of infection or excess wax build-up which can indicate a deeper problem
How often should i groom my puppy?
Your young dog’s grooming needs will depend on their coat and how often they get dirty or their fur gets matted. Generally speaking, bathing is only required if your dog gets dirty or has a skin condition, as bathing too frequently can remove the natural oils from their coat, drying out their skin.
Bathtubs and showers can be slippy for uncoordinated puppies as their joints and muscles are not fully formed, so be sure to pop them on a non-slip mat and use lukewarm water to keep them happy. Be sure to check the temperature first and don’t leave your puppy unattended!
Pups will need to get used to grooming tools and handling before starting. Let your puppy see things such as brushes or nail clippers and investigate them. Reward calm behaviour. Intersperse normal puppy cuddles with gentle touching of the areas you may need to groom like paws, ears or neck. Make sure your puppy is relaxed at all times and stop and give them a break if they are uncomfortable.
Your puppy’s claws must be regularly checked to see if they need clipping so they don’t encounter any difficulties walking if the claws start to grow into the skin. This would cause a great deal of pain and risk infections. Puppy nails can be sharp but be careful if trying to clip nails at home. Puppies are wriggly and there is a large blood vessel running down the middle of each nail called the “quick”. Catching this will cause your puppy pain and to bleed and may also put them off having their feet touched all together. Best to start with a puppy nail file whilst your pooch is young.
You’ll also need to look into your pup’s ears, especially if they are long, to make sure there’s no smell or a build-up of wax hiding inside which could indicate problems such as infections or ear mites. Grooming your puppy often allows you to establish a stress-free grooming routine early, getting them used to being handled and bathed while they’re still young ensures they feel relaxed later in life.
Smooth, short-coated dogs (breeds such as French Bull Dogs, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Vizlas, Boxers.)
These puppies can generally be brushed once a week to remove any loose or dead hairs and maintain their skin health. Their coat might start to dull when they’re due to be brushed.
Wire coated dogs (Border terriers, Airedales, Fox Terriers)
Wire coated pups will need to be groomed once a week to help keep their skin healthy and coat shiny. These pups have two coats in one! A soft downy under coat and a wiry top–coat. You might want to consider taking your puppy to see a professional groomer to have their fur hand stripped. Hand stripping removes the dead topcoat making room for the new undercoat to grow and allow moisture to escape.
Clipping can be done if needed in special cases however, this does not remove the wiry hair, rather cuts it short. This can cause your pup’s hair to grow back a different texture (usually softer and frizzier) or change its colour. It also changes how moisture can escape from the skin and can cause skin problems. When done by a professional, hand stripping should not hurt your pup if they are free from matts.
It is recommended to have wire haired pups hand-stripped every 4-12 weeks.
Long-coated or combination coated dogs (Golden retrievers, spaniels, collies)
As the name suggests, this coat is a combination of long and silky as well as short and smooth fur. The fur is generally shorter around the face, front of the legs and on the body. Their hair is longer, and sometimes feathered, on their tummies, back of the legs, tail and, in some breeds, the ears. These coats tend to shed seasonally.
Keeping these coats clean is really important as tangles and dirt can build up very quickly. Using a shedding comb/brush during moulting seasons can really help maintain these coats but the experts at Joii recommend attending a professional grooming salon to trim your pup’s longer hair.
Regular brushing should be carried out 2-4 times a week for these coats.
Double-coated dogs (Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, German Shepherd.)
Your double-coated pupster will need to be groomed every couple of days to help prevent mats and remove any tangles. These coats are generally straight and short with a rough texture and a softer undercoat that is thick and dense. Shedding occurs all year round with these coats, but can become worse as the temperature changes, this process is called ‘blowing coat.’ Doggy odour can also be an issue with these coats if left to become dirty and greasy. Regular shampoo treatments and ensuring shampoo is rinsed thoroughly out of the coat is important with these types of breeds.
A shedding comb or rake designed for double coats is the best for this type of fur. It is advised that these coats should be brushed regularly, 1-4 times a week.
Wool coated dogs (Poodle, Bichon Frise, Bedlington Terrier)
While these pups don’t tend to shed as often as other breeds, they will require regular brushing to prevent their curls from becoming tangled and to keep their fur free from debris.
What do i need to groom my puppy?
The tools you need to groom your dog will depend on its breed but here are some of the most common tools for maintaining your dog’s coat.
Brushes and combs
There are different types of brushes and combs available for the specific coat types, so finding the right one for your pup’s fur will make grooming easier.
Shampoo and cleaning products
It is best to seek professional advice from a veterinary nurse regarding the best shampoo and ear cleaning products for your puppy as some may damage the skin and cause irritation. The important thing to remember when bathing your dog is to ensure all the shampoo is thoroughly rinsed off and you avoid sensitive areas like the eyes and prevent water from entering the ear canal.
It is a good idea to have a puppy-designated towel. Pups can be mucky and having their own designated towel will prevent any spread of bacteria or parasites to you or the family. Large, absorbent towels work well for any breed. Make sure that they are hot–washed separately and regularly.
Toothbrushes and paste
Brushing your puppy’s teeth when they’re young will get them used to having it done when they’re older. There are plenty of dog toothbrushes and toothpaste on the market for you to pick from. Human toothpaste needs to be avoided as the fluoride levels in human toothpaste is too high for dogs and can be toxic.
Cotton balls are handy to have to clean a dog’s eyes and ears.
Always have some yummy treats handy to reward your puppy for their good behaviour while they’re groomed. Some people even spread dog-friendly peanut butter on the bathroom tiles for their dogs to lick at while they’re bathed or their claws are clipped.
If you’re ever confused about how to groom your dog, what sort of brush is best, or wonder if you have the right shampoo, you can ask the team at Joii, your vet, or approach a professional groomer.