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February 2024

Puppy Grooming: Bathing, Washing & More


All dogs need at least a little grooming to maintain a healthy coat and improved appearance and smell. The amount of grooming your puppy requires depends on their breed and the type of coat they have. Starting your puppy’s grooming regime early will make maintaining their coat much easier throughout their life.

There are actions you can take at home, like brushing and combing, which will help maintain your puppy’s coat between professional grooming appointments. In addition to helping your pup look and smell great, they’ll also love spending time with you and it’ll increase the bond you share!

Puppy Grooming At Home

1. Check your puppy over – The first step in the grooming process is to carefully check your dog over for any cuts or wounds, unusual lumps and bumps or skin irritations. Check for fleas or ticks and look at the condition of your dog’s eyes and overall health.

2. Brush – Brush your puppy through with a high quality slicker brush. Brushing your puppy at home for just five minutes per day will get them used to being touched from top to tail and help prepare them for their professional grooming appointments. It will also strengthen your bond!

3. Comb – Comb their coat through with a wide-tooth comb (for wiry, coarse coats) or a fine toothed comb (for softer, more manageable coats). Be careful not to miss tricky spots like behind the ears, under the collar etc., where mats and tangles are most common.

If you’re tempted to trim your puppy’s coat, our advice is to instead book in with a professional groomer; they have all of the tools and knowledge to keep your dog safe during the trimming process.

Bathing Your Puppy

Grooming your puppy at home doesn’t always need to involve a bath. In fact, it’s best to limit your buddy’s baths to every six to eight weeks, unless they’re especially dirty. This helps their coat restore the essential oils it needs to stop it becoming dry and damaged.

If your pup is in need of a good soap-up however, here are our favourite tips to help you through puppy’s bath-time.

1. Prepare for puppy’s bath – Firstly, decide where you will bathe your puppy and ensure the location is warm and secure. Dress in comfortable clothes that you won’t mind getting wet – it’s likely that you’ll be as soaked as your puppy during bath time! Place an old towel or mat in the bottom of the bath tub to prevent your pup from slipping around too much and becoming frightened or injured.

2. Run the bath – Before puppy gets in the bath, fill it with warm water. Just as you would with a baby, you should always test whether the water is too hot or too cold and adjust the temperature before you put your pup in. Fill the tub to just below your pup’s elbows, as most puppies will be comfortable in this depth of water.

3. Bathing – Gently lower your puppy into the tub while speaking to him in a calm and soothing voice. Use a cup to gently pour water over your pup’s back and legs. Avoid his face, ears and head at this early stage. Ensure you have a mild, puppy-appropriate shampoo on hand and use only a small amount: approximately the size of 10 cent piece should do the trick. Gently work the shampoo along your buddy’s back, legs and all other areas. To wash your puppy’s face and head, use a cloth, dipped in lukewarm water and wrung out. Be gentle and avoid the eyes as much as possible.

Hot Tip

Never use a human shampoo on your puppy as it can be quite harsh and irritate your puppy’s gentle skin.

  1. Rinse thoroughly – Rinse your puppy with warm, clean water. It’s important to be thorough as any residual shampoo can irritate your puppy’s skin. You will need to rinse your puppy several times to ensure that all of the suds have been removed.

5. Dry – Take your pup out of the bath and start to soak up excess water by wrapping him snuggly in a towel. Give your pup a good towel dry (depending on your puppy’s coat, you may need an extra dry towel on hand for this). Continue to towel dry your pup or, if your puppy is calm and relaxed, use a hair dryer on a low and warm – not hot – setting. Be careful not to place the hair dryer too close to your pup, or near the face or eyes. Continue to move the hair dryer back and forth to avoid your puppy becoming hot in one area. Unless sit is a chilly day, you will not need to dry puppy off completely; ensuring that most of the water is removed from the coat will be enough.

6. Have fun! Be sure to give you puppy loads of praise throughout the entire grooming process. Using upbeat and cheerful tones (not to mention a treat every now and then!) will help make the whole experience more enjoyable for the both of you.

Many dogs experience anxiety when being bathed, brushed or blow-dried, so it’s important you get them used to this from an early age – especially if their breed and coat requires regular grooming.

Grooming Your Puppy for The First Time

Your puppy can be professionally groomed from eight weeks old, as soon as they’ve received their second vaccination. The earlier your puppy feels relaxed and comfortable being groomed, the easier the process will be in the long term. Many PETstock stores offer professional in-store grooming in a salon environment. PETstock groomers are experienced and skilled in grooming young puppies and offer a special ‘Puppy’s First Groom’ option for pups aged up to 16 weeks.

Your puppy’s first groom will include:

  • Comb
  • Brush
  • Tidy of face, feet, tail and sanitary areas
  • Nail clip
  • Socialization and lots of cuddles!

Connect with your local Petstock store to see if they offer pet grooming and make an appointment today.