How to Properly Groom a Puppy

The amount of grooming required for your pup varies greatly by breed and coat type. Of course, longer-haired dogs require more grooming/upkeep than shorter-haired breeds; however, there are certain things that all dogs need in order to maintain proper hygiene: 

Nail Trims

Your dog’s nails grow just as fast (if not faster) than ours do! When untrimmed, dog’s nails may curl under their paws making it painful to walk or stand. To avoid this, bi-weekly nail trims are recommended. Inside the nail of a dog is a nerve ending called a “quick.” When trimming your dog’s nails, you must be sure not to inadvertently clip the quick to prevent discomfort and bleeding. The longer you allow your dog’s nails to grow, the longer the quick grows as well; meaning when you do get the nails cut, they won’t be able to be any shorter than the quick ending. Therefore, regular trims are recommended to keep the quick short and the nails at a comfortable length. 

Bi-Weekly/Monthly Baths 

A good bath entails washing every part of your pup from nose to toes. While you want to wash the ears, avoid spraying water inside their ears. Excess water in the ear canal may cause ear infections. Be sure to use a shampoo formulated for dogs, and you want to try to avoid getting soap in their eyes – even if it is tearless. You also want to make sure not to bathe too often as it may dry out your pup’s skin. 

Ear Cleaning

Ears should be thoroughly cleaned after a bath with a product specifically designed for cleaning dog’s ears. Not only will this remove all dirt from the ears (which builds up over time) but may also help evaporate any water that may have gotten into the ear during bath time. Some puppies may also have tufts of hair inside their ear canal that must be cleaned out, as these may also cause ear infections. 

Gland Expression 

Dogs have two glands near their rectum that assist with lubrication while defecating. Most dogs naturally express their anals while they go to the bathroom. However, if you ever notice an unpleasant odor or your dog starts to “scoot” on the ground, talk to your groomer or veterinarian to see if they might benefit from a professional “gland expression.” 

Teeth Brushing  

Like with humans, dog’s teeth should be brushed daily to prevent tartar build-up, tooth decay, and gum disease. There are many canine kinds of toothpaste (which are safe to be ingested by dogs) and toothbrushes available on the market today. If daily brushing is not realistic for you, talk to a staff member at Central Bark about how we can help! 


If your dog is a longer-haired breed, their coat may be prone to knotting or tangling. If knots go unaddressed, they may progress to matts—larger knots that ultimately pull on your dog’s skin and become very uncomfortable. Matts can be prevented with regular brushing, and you should utilize a brush that goes all the way to the skin (rather than just brushing out the ends of the hair). Please remember, that a dog’s coat knots and matts faster when they get wet in the water/lake/ swimming pool – especially dogs with curly hair. Be sure to thoroughly brush out your dog after a swim. 

Hair Cuts 

Certain breeds require regular haircuts, as their coat continues to grow. Consult with your groomer to determine the ideal frequency and desired coat length for your dog. The more positive experiences a dog has at the grooming salon (and the earlier in life it occurs), the more likely they are to feel comfortable while being groomed—making it a less stressful experience for both the pup and the groomer.  

Furminator Treatments 

If your dog is prone to shedding, the Furminator Treatment is a shampoo and conditioner combination designed to release the undercoat of your pup. Combined with a blow-dry and a brush-out with a Furminator brush, the Treatment results in a 60%-80% reduction in shedding. 

Central Bark has a team of experienced, professional groomers that is ready to help with all your grooming needs! Ask a team member today! 


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