Grooming sessions with puppies can start as early as 3 weeks old. The sooner you start the better as the puppy may not be so agreeable to it as it gets older. Whilst puppies may not need a lot of grooming initially, it is not just about keeping your dog looking good. It promotes good health, gives you a chance to check his coat and body for any health issues and is also good bonding time. It is so important to get your puppy used to being handled and having his ears cleaned, coat brushed, and nails clipped as it makes visits to the vets and groomers less traumatic for him.
The skin and hair of a puppy is very much like that of a human. Both human and dog skin and hair is made of protein with oil to lubricate. Regular brushing will help to bring out the natural oils and will spread over the coat to give it a healthy sheen. A soft bristle brush or a pin brush for a thicker coat, would be ideal for a puppy.
In the past it was said that you should not bathe your dog too often, but modern shampoos are designed to help you groom puppy at home and can be used on all dogs of all ages and coat type and suitable to be used as often as your dog needs to be bathed. Mild shampoos that will not irritate the eyes are available for puppies. Use a good hypoallergenic shampoo for puppies and dogs with sensitive skin and allergies.
Tips on Grooming
Most puppies enjoy being bathed. Use warm water and lather up, making sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all the shampoo. It is best to towel dry and let the coat air dry. A dry shampoo can be used, but they are not as effective as a wet bath.
Puppies have sharp pointed nails which scratch so make sure their nails are trimmed. After the first trimming, the pup is usually active enough to keep them worn down for about six weeks, but regularly check and trim, as you would an older dog.
Use ear wipes to clean the ears, getting into all the creases. Check for any redness and if there is also a bad odour, this could be a sign of infection. Frequent head shaking and scratching at the ears should also be checked out with the vet.
Teeth brushing is not much fun for either you or the pup, but if you can get him used to this early on, it will reap reward. Bad teeth is very common in dogs so a good oral routine is a good habit to remove plaque. Finger brushes are a good idea and easier to use than a regular brush. Never use human toothpaste, always use dog toothpaste. Specially designed chew sticks and dental sticks also help to keep teeth clean.
If you intend to take your dog to the grooming parlour, take him for a visit during the puppy stage to get him used to the sounds and smells. A first grooming session can be quite scary! If you would like to see a video on how best to groom a puppy watch this here