Regardless of a puppy's breed or coat length, cleaning is a very important part of ownership. Taking care of their nails and coat and making sure they receive good hygiene is fundamental to their overall health and well-being. Not only do you want your dog to smell, look, and feel clean at all times, you also prevent numerous diseases and harmful parasites when you keep your puppy groomed and fresh.
Follow this checklist to have your puppy cleaned and brushed properly.
The frequency of baths will vary according to the coat texture. Close-cropped hair should only be washed if dirty, short-haired puppies need to be bathed twice a year on average and long-haired puppies need to be bathed approximately every three months.
Make sure the water is warmed to body temperature. Gently pour water over the pup starting with the torso and moving to the feet. Use a damp cloth to wash the face without getting water in the pup’s eyes. Use an approved puppy shampoo and gently lather the coat with firm, slow strokes. Rinse the pup with warm water making sure all the suds are removed.
A puppy should be brushed daily, but each session must be a short and pleasant experience for him. Choose the best grooming brush. Let the puppy sit or have him lie on his side while you brush his fur gently. Brush the hair in the opposite direction of hair growth at first, and then follow by brushing it in the direction of hair growth. Speak to your puppy softly as you brush him fur and praise him when you are done.
Dogs have two types of nail - dewclaw and toenails - both of which grow constantly. Toenails should wear down naturally, but if they grow too long they need to be clipped. All puppies need proper nail care. Generally puppies don’t need to have their nails trimmed but if you can hear the noise the nails make on the ground, you can clip them. Ask your veterinarian to demonstrate the best techniques.
Whether you groom your dog at home or seek the help of a professional, the experience can by scary for pups. The sight, sound, smell, and sensation of electric clippers can be frightful. Use the hair dryer introduction process for the clippers. When the pup tolerates the sight and sound of the clippers, turn them off before touching them to his coat. Let him feel the weight of the clippers as you gently move them along the growth pattern of the fur. Finally, turn the clippers on and trim a little hair. Keep initial grooming sessions brief.
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. The first step involves acclimating the puppy to having his mouth handled. Begin by gently rubbing your pup’s muzzle several times a day followed by raising his lips and rubbing his gums with your fingers. Next, cover your finger with gauze or a damp face cloth and rub his gums along the tooth line. Then introduce a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Dogs carry their ears in one of two ways, either drop or prick. Drop ears should be examined more often because the ear canal is less well ventilated.
Ears may be cleaned under the advice of a vet, with a specially formulated solution. Place the tip of the applicator into the ear canal and gently squeeze in 1 to 2 drops. Withdraw the tip and massage the base of the ear very gently for thirty seconds, preventing the dog from shaking its head, before wiping the ear flap with cotton wool.
The eyes should be bright and moist, with pale pink mucosae. It’s important to clean your puppy’s eyes of any discharge, but there will always be some amount of tear-staining whenever hair rests around the eyes. Tear-staining results from the hair absorbing moisture produced by the eyes. Dirt or mud and tear-staining around the eyes can be removed gently with cotton wool and clean, lukewarm water.
Your dog’s paws carry whatever they step in, that includes pesticides, pollens, molds, dust mites, and other pollutants. Because they don’t get bathed every day, it’s a good idea to clean their paws at least once a month either with a paw soak or a rub down with a wet cloth, according to Healthy Pets. If you have a hairy dog, don’t forget to trim and brush the hairs between their toes. Cleaning your dog’s paws regularly will cut down on the amount of paw chewing and licking they do, too.
A dog’s bed is a haven for fleas, ticks, germs, and allergens. You can bathe your dog as much as you want, but if their bed is dirty, then so is your dog. Buy a dog bed with a removable fabric cover that can be taken off and thrown into the washing machine twice a month. If you have a dog that sheds, the dog bed should be vacuumed at least once a week.
After bathing your puppy and cleaning their bed, it doesn’t make any sense to slap a dirty collar on them. Collars don’t need to be washed that much, but as soon as it starts to smell or become brown/black, it’s a good idea to toss it in the washing machine with some pet-friendly detergent. A quick way to also clean a collar is to soak it in a bowl of a hot water and dog shampoo. Do a final rinse with cold water and you’re good to go.