Dog grooming goes much more smoothly if the canine starts getting it done when very young. This way, it is a familiar and non-scary event by the time the puppy has become a big dog. Many groomers recommend an age of 3-4 months, as does the Halifax Humane Society. This is right after the puppy has completed its recommended vaccinations.
What is Done at a Puppy’s First Grooming?
Typically, the first puppy grooming is light. This is partly because such a young dog can’t stand still long enough to complete a full haircut.
You can expect your puppy to get a bath, have its nails trimmed, and get the hair trimmed away from its eyes and under the tail. This gets the puppy acquainted with baths, being handled by other people, standing on a grooming table, and having scissors used around its face and eyes. The light grooming also lets the puppy start getting used to having its feet handled. Many dogs don’t like people touching their feet, and early grooming will help desensitize them to this part of the procedure.
How Can You Help Prepare Your Puppy for the First Grooming Session?
Handling your puppy in some of the ways a groomer will, will help to acclimate him or her to the upcoming procedures. Play with the dog’s feet to get started on minimizing the instinct to jerk them back. Brush the dog’s hair as well. Not only will this get your puppy used to having the hair brushed, it will help prevent mats and remove objects like burrs and tiny twigs.
If possible, let your puppy meet other humans and get handled by them before going to the groomer. This will help it get used to encountering strangers and being touched by them.
When dropping your puppy off for grooming, be calm. If you act worried, the puppy will pick up on that and be anxious throughout the process. A calm dog is less likely to make sudden moves that could lead to injury.
When Should a Puppy Have its First Full Haircut?
The answer to this depends on a few factors. The first of these is how well he or she handled the first grooming. If the puppy freaked out from light handling, another light grooming session is recommended to further acclimate the canine to being handled. On the other hand, if the young dog was calm and collected at the first session, a full haircut can usually be given at the next one, if needed.
Breed is another key factor in the timing of haircuts. Some short-haired breeds never need haircuts, and there are even some medium-haired dogs that never need more than a trim around the eyes. Long-haired breeds, however, may need haircuts as frequently as humans! The natural growth rate of the dog’s hair will therefore be factored in when the groomer makes a hair cutting recommendation.
Finally, the condition of the puppy’s hair is taken into account. If the hair is in good shape, a haircut may not be needed for months. Conversely, if the puppy thought it’d be fun to play in a field full of burrs, the hair may need to be cut off right away to remove the burrs the pup picked up. In this case, a haircut is given because removing the hair will stop the burrs within it from causing skin damage and infections.
How do Dog Groomers Protect Puppy Health?
Groomers take precautions to prevent the transmission of pests and diseases much like human hair stylists do. Tools are sanitized between uses, and if a client had fleas or other parasites, the entire area is treated with pesticide before another animal is allowed in.
When it comes to disease, dog groomers can even exceed the standards of a human hair salon. This is because they can, and usually do, demand that animals be vaccinated against the area’s common communicable diseases before they even come into the premises.
How Often Should Your Puppy or Dog Get Groomed?
As with haircuts, this partly depends on the breed. If the puppy has fast-growing hair that needs a cut every month, it makes sense to go ahead and get a full grooming done on that schedule. Short-haired breeds can be trickier to time because the signs that they need a groomer’s attention may not be as obvious.
Signs that grooming is needed include the sound of toenails clicking on the tile flooring in your home, the presence of an extra-strong “doggy” odor, or higher amounts of shedding than usual. It often takes two or three months for these signs to appear.
When Should I Take My Puppy in for an Emergency Grooming?
There are times when it’s a good idea to get your puppy to a groomer even when a session wasn’t originally planned. If you find that the puppy has picked up an infestation of fleas, ticks, mites, or any other external parasite, take it in for grooming right away. Dog groomers have pro-grade flea and tick shampoos and dips that will stop the problem within minutes. It is important to eliminate these parasites quickly because their populations can otherwise boom in short order. Most external parasites will also bite humans, especially if they have been allowed to proliferate.
To schedule an appointment to groom your puppy, just give us a call. We’ll be glad to meet the new member of your family.