Arguably, one of the best smells in the world is that of a freshly bathed puppy. Not only does grooming your dog make them look and smell great, it’s essential for their health.
As with everything with puppies, start gently and use rewards and praise to make grooming a positive experience that your puppy looks forward to. It’s a wonderful bonding time for you and your pet.
To get your small puppy used to grooming, start touching her all over her body. Handle her paws and toes, examine her ears and rub the inside flap of the ears. Put your hands in her mouth and examine her teeth. Lift and handle her tail, brush her fur gently and trim her nails. The other advantage of your puppy getting used to this, is that it will decrease anxiety during vet visits.
You only want to bath a puppy about once a month, as bathing them removes essential natural oils produced in the coat. Brushing regularly will remove dead skin and other debris out of their coats, keeping them clean.
Research the breed of your puppy. You need to educate yourself on your puppy’s specific grooming needs.
At bath time, have all your necessary equipment ready and within reach before you start. Bathe your puppy in warm water with specialised puppy shampoo and conditioner. It is advisable to bath your puppy on a warm day however, this is not always possible. Some puppies only need a towel dry, but others may need to be dried with a dyer. Introduce this slowly, as the noise of the dryer may make the puppy anxious, leading to a life-long fear of it.
Remember that your puppy needs to have her teeth cleaned two to three times a week. Do not use human toothpaste, it is harmful to dogs. Get a specialised dog toothpaste and toothbrush, or use a soft baby-toothbrush. If your puppy doesn’t take to the toothbrush, you can also wrap a clean bit of gauze on your finger, add some puppy toothpaste and rub her teeth with it.
It’s advisable to get your puppy used to a professional groomer. Find a reputable groomer in your area and check their references or get referrals from family and friends. Take your puppy for an introductory grooming session about ten days after their final vaccinations.
Your puppy’s bedding needs to be cleaned regularly. Clean your puppy’s bedding and blankets on the same day as her bath, then your clean puppy can snuggle into a clean bed.