The basics of puppy grooming
Why is grooming a puppy important?
Tools you need for grooming a puppy
Nutrition and coat care
A dog's coat is a strong reflection of their diet. A shiny, soft coat and healthy skin may be an indication that your puppy's food is enriched with nutrients such as Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. On the other hand, a diet lacking in the appropriate nutrition may result in a dull, flat coat. A tailored, complete and balanced diet is the first step to caring for your puppy's coat.
How to care for your puppy's coat
Giving your puppy a bath
If your puppy likes to swim, or gets muddy on walks, they may require regular baths. Long-haired dogs may require more frequent bathing than others to be sure their coat is kept clean.
When to bathe a puppy
How to bathe a puppy
- Let your puppy become accustomed to the bath without any water, allow them to sniff the area and praise them as they do so
- Run the bath with lukewarm water to avoid any burns and gradually introduce the puppy again
- Wet the coat all over and apply the specialty puppy shampoo, making sure to be careful around the eyes
- Continue to praise and reassure your puppy through the whole process
- Rinse thoroughly with plenty of water, being careful around the eyes and ears
How to dry your puppy's coat
After the bath, rub your puppy down vigorously with a towel and keep it in a warm room until it’s properly dry. In the summer, the alternative is patting a puppy down in the yard or taking it for a walk, as long as they don't like rolling in mud.
A hairdryer may be recommended with curly-coated dogs, but care should be taken not to burn the dog and the hair should be brushed at the same time to avoid tangles.
How to groom your dog
1. Cleaning your puppy's ears
Your vet will be able to recommend the most appropriate cleaning routine for your puppy's ears, based on type. Dogs have either dropped or pricked ears, and those with dropped may require more care than other breeds. If you are asked to clean your dog's ears at home, you should do so with a specially formulated solution. Carefully squeeze a few drops into your puppy's ear canal, then very gently massage the base of their ear for around 30 seconds. If there is any solution remaining, wipe the ear carefully with cotton ball.
2. Caring for your puppy's teeth
Puppies may start to suffer from plaque build-up when they start to eat solid food. If this is not removed, it can result in tartar and inflammation of the gums. The best way to care for your puppy's teeth is by brushing them several times a week with a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for dogs. Chewing bars may also slow down the formation of plaque and tartar. Ideally, a puppy should be given no more than two or three of these chewing bars a week to help prevent plaque and tartar build-up. It's important to make sure these are taken into account in the puppy's daily calories count to avoid excess weight gain. Ask your vet which type might be best for your puppy.
3. How to clip your puppy's nails
Dogs have two types of nail - dewclaws and toenails. The dewclaw is often located on the side of their front legs, while the toenails are found on the paws. Your puppy's toenails should naturally wear down as they walk across hard surfaces, but if they grow too long you may need to clip them.
How to clip your puppy's nails
Your puppy's toenails should naturally wear down as they walk across hard surfaces, but if they grow too long you may need to clip them. Toenails should be trimmed carefully, as to avoid the blood vessels which exist in a puppy's nails. Trim the nail with specialist clippers, from the bottom up. This should preferably be done at 45-degree angle to the ground. The undercut should be smooth so that no cracks are formed on it.
If you are ever uncertain of when to trim your puppy's nails, or would like a demonstration, speak to your vet.