Keeping your puppy clean can be a lot of work! As your pup grows older, you may discover that he just loves to roll around in the mud or dig his clean little paws into the dirty garden looking for a bone he buried there a week before. He may also go out of his way during your daily walks to stroll directly through puddles.
When it comes to grooming your puppy, you should consider whether you’d prefer to take her to a groomer or clean her yourself. Lots of local pet stores offer grooming services and most veterinarians will clip your puppy’s nails as a courtesy. If you decide to groom your pup at home, here are a few tips to remember:
1. Coat check
Puppies should be brushed gently every day to keep hair from matting and to remove debris. Keep grooming sessions short and praise your puppy for cooperating. The goal is for your puppy to become familiar with the activity and understand that it’s part of a daily routine. As your puppy grows into an adult dog, the brushing frequency may change, depending on her breed and hair or fur type. Short-coated dogs only need to be brushed every few weeks to loosen the hair a bit. Dogs with thick-coated fur should be brushed every few days.
2. Bathing beauty
Before giving your pup her first bath, try putting her in the tub or sink a few times without water. Play with her there, and praise her with a few Bil-Jac treats so she develops positive feelings about the bath area. Then when it’s time for that first bath, she’ll be more comfortable and bath time more pleasurable for you both.
3. The better to hear you with
Cleaning your puppy’s ears can be a challenge, especially if he is unwilling to cooperate. But to avoid infection and build-up of bacteria and yeast that can cause hearing damage, dogs should have their ears cleaned once a week with an epi-otic cleaner. There are a number of epi-otic brands on the market—ask your veterinarian to make a recommendation. And feel free to encourage your pup’s cooperation by using healthy treats.
4. Keeping them pearly white
Just like children, puppies lose their “baby” teeth. And, just like children, puppies benefit greatly from good dental hygiene. So grab a good doggy toothpaste and toothbrush from the pet store and get started. When you start brushing your pup’s teeth at an early age, he will be more cooperative during brushing as an adult dog. In addition to brushing, chewing bones and chew toys can help decrease the amount of plaque build up, keeping those adorable puppy smiles shiny and white.
5. A good mani-pedi
Last but not least, trimming your pup’s nails is one of the most important parts of the overall grooming process. Not only does it make the nails more attractive, but it also helps prevent them from breaking. Most veterinarians provide nail clipping, as do groomers. But if you decide to cut your pup’s nails yourself keep these tips in mind:
Use only nail clippers specifically designed for puppies/dogs
Be careful not to cut the nails too short. This can cause your puppy a good deal of pain and result in bleeding that you will want to stop using something like styptic powder.
Try to create a calm environment when you trim his nails. Speak quietly and consider using treats to reward your puppy for cooperating during the trimming process.
Start slowly. The first time you trim your puppy’s nails can be very confusing for him. Start with short sessions where all you do is rub his legs and paws gently. This can get your puppy accustomed to having you groom around his feet.
We hope these tips help get you started on the right foot with grooming your puppy. But if you have questions, check with your veterinarian or groomer. Otherwise, start developing a good grooming routine as soon as possible and enjoy the extra time you’ll spend with your puppy.
Do you remember giving your puppy her first bath? Share your story with us in the comments!