Grooming Your Puppy

Keeping your dog healthy and happy

Grooming Your Puppy

Keeping your dog healthy and happy

Grooming your puppy

All dogs will benefit from regular grooming, whether they are a short-haired breed or one with a long or fluffy coat. It is also a great way for you to bond with your new puppy.

Reasons for grooming – Remember ‘CHAIR’

Cleanliness – keeping your dog’s coat clean by removing dirt and dead hair helps encourage new hair growth, and reduces the amount of hair that goes onto your furniture.

Health – grooming helps to stimulate new coat growth, and prevents the formation of knots or matting which may lead to skin irritation.

Appearance – most owners take pride in their dogs looking smart, and regular grooming will certainly help your puppy to look its best.

Inspection – regular grooming is also a great way to check for parasites, or any suspicious lumps and bumps.

Relationship – grooming is part of a dog’s socialisation activities. Regular grooming helps create a bond between you and your puppy and accustoms your puppy to being handled.

Getting started

It is important to groom your puppy at a height which is comfortable for both you and your dog. For many dogs, it might be advisable to groom him on a table. But any sturdy table or workbench with a non-slip surface or you can use the anti-slip sheets that are readily available. Remember, never leave your puppy unattended on the table.

Start the grooming experience as young as possible as part of your puppy’s socialisation programme and routine. To start with, keep the sessions short and gradually increase the time spent on your grooming table. As always, make the experience positive – using lots of praise and treats. Any struggling should be dealt with firmly but calmly. Your puppy may likely be frustrated or frightened at first – show him it’s not a ‘big deal’.

Build up the experience and your puppy will come to accept the grooming routine and also being handled on the table. This will help with other activities such as vet visits.

Stop the grooming if your puppy shows signs of getting bored or tired so that each session ends on a positive note.

Dog coat types

It’s worth bearing in mind that factors like neutering, age, poor diet and poor health can dramatically influence your dog’s coat.

Coat type How often Breed examples Suggested equipment
Double coats – a dense coat with soft undercoat concealed by a long topcoat Approximately 30-40 minutes once a week to prevent heavy shedding • Lhasa Apso • Old English Sheepdog • Shih Tzu • Tibetan Terrier • Bearded Collie • Slicker brush • Pin brush • Wide toothed comb
Silky Coats – as its title describes, a silky texture not necessarily with coat length Approximately 20-40 minutes once a week to prevent heavy shedding • Afghan Hound • Maltese • Yorkshire Terrier • Bristle brush • Pin brush • Wide toothed comb • De-shedder tool • Rubber palm brush
Smooth Coats – short and tight to the body. Very low maintenance. Grooming achieved by removing the dead coat to leave a glossy finish Approximately 10 minutes once a week to prevent heavy shedding • Boxer • Weimaraner • Staffordshire Bull Terrier • Dobermann • Massage mitt • Bristle brush • Cloth
Wire coat – these coats have a coarse, harsh topcoat with a soft undercoat Approximately 30 minutes once a week to prevent heavy shedding and mats and tangles forming • West Highland White Terrier • Wire Fox • Border Terrier • Scottish Terrier • Schnauzer • Slicker brush • Terrier pad • Wide/narrow-toothed comb
Wool coat – dense, bouncy coat requiring great care. A coat of high maintenance which requires specific drying techniques and trimming styles Approximately 40 minutes twice a week to prevent mats and tangles forming • Poodles • Bichon Frise • Slicker brush • Wide/narrow-toothed comb

Knots and Mats

A knot occurs where the coat is slightly tangled or matted, but it can be removed by careful brushing or combing. Mats are formed when dead, loose undercoat hair becomes trapped by the topcoat and starts to clump and twist together. If this matted coat becomes wet, the matting tightens and becomes a solid clump.

Do not attempt to remove mats unless trained in the procedure. Otherwise, refer to a professional groomer.

Care of ears, nails and eyes

Check your puppy’s ears to see if they are clean. You can remove excess dirt from the inside of the ear flap with damp cotton wool. Never probe inside the ear as you may perforate the eardrum. Any smell can be a sign there is something wrong and your puppy should be taken to a vet.

If nails are excessively long, remove the tip of the nail being careful not to cut the quick or blood vessel. If it does bleed don’t worry – It will eventually stop and won’t do any harm to your puppy.

If needed, clean the eyes with clean, damp cotton wool using a separate piece for each eye.

External parasites

A parasite is something that lives on another animal (the host) and gets its nourishment from the host. If left unchecked, the parasite causes disease or even death. The most common external parasites found on dogs are fleas and ticks.

There is now a wide range of proprietary powders, sprays, ‘spot-on’ treatments and anti-flea and tick collars available. A dedicated pet care professional will be happy to advise on suitable products.

Other skin problems

If you take your puppy or dog to a groomer make sure that they are fully qualified.

We at Shandell Dogs recommend Doggie Dolittle Boutique & Grooming Salon in Keighly, West Yorkshire. Kelly is a trained professional who teaches people to the industry standard.

Code of professional conduct


Groomers should belonging to the British Dog Grooming Association and sign up to the Association’s Code of Practice. Further information can be found at

The Kennel Club aims to promote the health, happiness and general wellbeing of all dogs, and to provide you with an invaluable resource for every aspect of life with your dog.

To find out more, visit

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