Grooming Your Puppy
Grooming your puppy is very important. Why? Because the more time you spend taking care of your dog, the happier, healthier, and hopefully longer life he will have. You may look at your puppy and think that you don’t have to worry about most of the grooming chores until he’s older. Not true, especially if your puppy is a double-coated or long-haired, or a terrier. All of these dogs need lots of attention.
Elemental Grooming It’s a good idea to start grooming your puppy immediately. A puppy is very easy to handle, and since the initial grooming will be very light, you can be extra gentle. This will allow the puppy to become used to the activities, and will provide both of you some bonding. The idea here is that grooming is not only about making a pret- ty puppy, it’s about health maintenance and making the experience enjoyable. The time you spend going over your puppy with a brush, cleaning his ears, tending
to his paws, looking inside his mouth, and even bathing him occasionally will help him feel more comfortable at the veterinarian’s office when a stranger may need to take hold of his paw or leg, or look inside his mouth. All those pleasant associ- ations with you will keep the puppy from feeling scared when someone else needs to do it. The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is what groom- ing is all about, too. If you didn’t regularly groom your puppy, you might not notice new lumps or scratches; you might not realize his toenails are so long that they are affecting the way he walks; you might not smell that cheesy odor in his ears indi- cating that an infection is brewing. When you do groom your puppy regularly, all these situations would be taken care of, reducing the time and costs of care in- volved in remedying them. Your Grooming Kit To make the job easier on yourself, too (since you already have too much to do), start with a box or container to store the items you’ll need to thoroughly groom your puppy or dog. These include:
•A selection of appropriate brushes
•A hound glove or curry comb for short-haired pups
•A flea comb
•A pair of clippers and attachments for long- or curly-haired pups
•A pair of blunt-edged scissors
•Rubber bands or bows if you have a toy breed who needs these to keep the hair
•Nail clippers (made for dogs)
•Toothbrush and toothpaste (made for dogs)
•Alcohol to clean your tools when you’re finished It won’t be part of your kit, but something you should consider using for regular grooming sessions is a grooming table. These are lightweight and portable, and allow you to put your dog on a non-skid surface on a raised platform. It is so much easier to be sure you’ve gone over your pup or dog thoroughly when you use a grooming table. A second-best option is to place a large rubber mat on your kitchen table and put your dog on it. Having an established spot where you will do the grooming makes the association easier for your pup, and it also keeps the mess focused for easier cleanup.