A lot of what your puppy needs will depend on their breed and age. Discuss specific requirements with the breeder or your local vet or groomer, who will be happy to offer advice.
Very young puppies (under the age of about 10 weeks) don’t need much done to them and it is important not to overwhelm them during this settling in period. However, getting your little bundle of fluff used to grooming from early on will set them up for success going forward.
It can be useful to carry out their grooming on a firm table at the same time each day, so they know what to expect.
How often should I bathe my puppy?
In some cases, we will need to bathe our puppy at a young age. This is especially true if a pup was raised outside and is mucky when first collected. Similarly, pups can roll in poop or vomit on themselves, making a bath inevitable. Avoid bathing your puppy before the age of 8 weeks old, as younger pups can’t self-regulate their body temperature.
From 8 weeks old keep baths short and sweet at this age, ensuring the water is warm and pups are thoroughly towel dried after. Use a puppy or hypoallergenic shampoo to minimise the chance of a skin reaction.
Going forward, most dogs only need baths every few months. While this may sound outrageous to some, over-bathing can dry out skin and reduce coat shine.
Puppy Skin & Coat Maintenance
Brushing & Combing
Invest in a good quality brush and comb your little one all over from day one. Focus on the area prone to matting such as the armpits, belly and groin.
Which brush works best will depend on your pup’s coat type. Most benefit from a quick brush every day or two. This helps spread your dog’s natural oils and removes any dead fur or debris from the coat.
Brushing provides an opportunity to get your puppy used to being handled. It is also a useful opportunity to check them over for any injuries or foreign bodies (such as a burr) that have become trapped in their coat or paw pads.
When should I start clipping my puppy’s claws?
In the early months, puppies should have their claws clipped regularly. Their short, sharp claws can catch on furniture and carpets and can also scratch our skin during regular puppy play. Use a dog-specific claw clippers and reward your furry friend with some tasty treats after each session. For any nervous nellies, clip one claw a day, taking it nice and slow.
For inexperienced owners who are unsure, ask your vet or nurse to demonstrate proper claw clipping technique when your puppy is being vaccinated. The main thing is to clip below the quick, avoiding causing any pain.
Should I brush my puppy’s teeth?
While it is true puppies will lose their baby teeth when they are between 4 and 7 months and get a new set, it is still important to brush their teeth daily. This gets them used to the routine. Do be gentle when a pup is actively teething and consider skipping a day or two if their gums are red or inflamed.
Use a canine specific toothbrush and paste. In fact, you can even buy a yummy flavour (like fish or meat) to make the experience more appealing.
How to clean my puppy’s eye & ears
Eyes – Longer-furred breeds may need the fur around their eyes trimmed every few weeks. Similarly, any crusting should be cleaned daily with cotton wool and warm water.
TOP TIP: Rose Water dabbed on cotton wool can be used to minimise tear staining.
Ears – A pup’s ears may have a small amount of yellow wax inside but the canal should not be red or smelly. We can use an ear cleaner and cotton wool to clean ears out every few weeks if needed.
When to start flea treatment on a puppy
Your vet should discuss the most appropriate prevention for your pooch, which may be a spot-on, tablet or collar. Parasites can cause signs including itching and red skin and are to be avoided. Treating an existing parasite infestation can be tricky, especially when they are present within the home so it its best to start treatment early. Check with your vet about the best time to start your puppy on flea treatment, however this should never be before they are at least 8 weeks old.
Fleas are common in puppies, and there are many ways that pups can pick them up through socialising, playing in grass and so on, so it is always a good idea to ensure that you have ongoing treatment for parasites throughout your dog’s life.
Are anal glands common in puppies?
Some dogs will suffer with impacted anal glands from time to time. While this is less of an issue in young pups, it certainly can occur. Your vet will empty the impaction by gently squeezing the glands. Small dogs are more prone to blocked glands. To avoid this issue, ensure your dog is eating plenty of fibre and exercising well. Pooch & Mutt’s Puppy Complete Superfood is a great choice and packed with antioxidants and fibre from natural superfoods such as kale, spinach and berries.
While there are several things to think of, soon your dog’s grooming routine will become second nature. If you get your puppy familiar with a grooming schedule from an early age you will be sure to reap the benefits throughout their adult years. Learn HOW TO GROOM YOUR DOG AT HOME with tips from a professional dog groomer here.