Caitlin UltimoGrooming / Health

How to Groom a Puppy

Pet grooming is an essential component of optimizing your dog’s overall health and quality of life. When it comes to how to groom a puppy, it is important that you introduce puppies while they are still young. We talked with certified master groomer Suesan Watson, who gave us some dog grooming tips for helping your puppy get accustomed to being groomed.

Suesan Watson explains that acquainting your puppy with the basics of grooming is essential. This includes making sure they are comfortable being handled and well-acclimated to grooming tools. The first grooming for a puppy can be a stressful experience for all involved, but with some patience, you can help your pup overcome any grooming-induced anxiety he may experience.

How to Groom a Puppy with a Dog Brush

Watson explains, “Most pet owners have the best intentions, but sometimes they neglect doing some of the simple things at home.” It might be that pet parents are afraid that they will hurt their pet by brushing and combing, especially if their pup tends to cry out when they simply don’t like something or aren’t used to it. If you take a gentle approach to getting your puppy used to pet grooming, he will slowly get used to the experience. As Watson says, “They may not love it but it’s in their best interest.”

To help your puppy learn how to behave during dog grooming, you should acclimate them to the sounds and sensations of grooming tools. Your groomer will thank you if you take the time to help your pup become desensitized to the basic routine of pet grooming. Watson suggests allowing your puppy to investigate the dog brush, “Allow them to sniff the brush and then bring them onto your lap and slowly run it over their body. Just get them used to being touched by it.” You can feed them dog treats to let them know they are doing a good job, and to create positive associations with pet grooming.

Introduce Your Pup to Clippers

If your pup is going to need to be clipped, you can help familiarize them with clippers using any item that makes a similar humming sound, like an electric razor. Watson suggests, “You can lay an electric razor or the clippers on the ground or sofa next to you and your puppy so that they can get used to the sound.” This can also be used to help your puppy get used to the sound of a nail grinder.

You can start taking them to a groomer when they are about 14-16 weeks old and have all their puppy shots, which ensures that they will be protected from any potential diseases spread between dogs. Depending on the breed and coat of the dog, you may have to bring them in for professional dog grooming every 8-10 weeks.

If you plan on clipping your dog at home, Watson recommends investing in a quality clipper like the Wahl Bravura Lithium Ion Cordless Dog & Cat Clipper Kit. This pet grooming clipper has safety features built in that prevent the blade from overheating, and it includes combs that protect your pet from being nicked by the blade or from cutting their hair too short. Watson recommends that if you clip your pet at home, you should start at the back of the dog and work your way forward. He also advises to always clip in the same direction of the fur, or else you will end up cutting your pup’s hair three times shorter than you intended.

As Watson previously explained, it is important to start grooming them early so that their coat and skin stay healthy and strong. It’s not only a great way to start desensitizing your dog to being touched, but also an excellent way to strengthen your bond and the trust between the two of you. While the first grooming for a puppy may seem stressful, your four-legged friend will soon become accustomed to it, and may even learn to find the whole grooming process to be a relaxing, pet spa-like experience!



Kendall Curley, Pet Central Editorial Assistant
As a former Connecticut resident, Kendall is coming to terms with the lack of seasons in Florida by gaining an appreciation for all the activities that the Florida climate allows year-round. When she is not hard at work at Chewy, she can be found going on adventures with her dog, Pip, or going horseback riding with her friends. She is an avid fosterer of dogs and spends an inordinate amount of time picking dog hair off of her clothes and belongings. 

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