If your puppy is getting shaggy, or needs a bath and nail trim, they may be ready for their first grooming session. Your puppy’s first grooming can come with a lot of uncertainty on how they will react, as well as some anxiety for your puppy. To help prepare them for the visit, your team at Union Lake Pet Services is here with tips and tricks to make for a great first grooming experience.

Puppy’s First Grooming: Preparing Your Puppy

Any new occurrences and situations can trigger stress in a puppy. You can help prepare them, though, through a few steps. 

  1. Get them used to being handled – From touching their paws to brushing their hair, your puppy’s comfort level with being handled happens over time. Paws are sensitive places for most dogs, and they will pull back when you touch them. To help them adjust, focus on their paws, nails, ears, belly, and tail. These are areas that generally are sensitive to your puppy. After this mock-grooming session, make sure to praise them and give them a reward, such as a small treat.

  2. Get into a brushing routine – Getting your pet used to regular brushing not only acclimates them to the feeling, but it also strengthens the bond you share. Brushing, especially with long-haired breeds, keeps the coat healthy and free from matted fur and tangles. Soon enough, you will notice your puppy enjoying these sessions, too.

  3. Exercise them before their appointmentGo for a walk or enjoy some playtime prior to taking your pup to their appointment. This will make them a little less “wired” and reactive. Plus, they will have a chance to relieve themselves and get some pent-up energy out beforehand.

  4. Keep the initial sessions short – Start your pet off with something that isn’t too demanding, such as popping by for a quick nail trim or a bath (vs a lengthy groom). Over time, your puppy will get more comfortable with the groomer and with being handled. You may even want to stop by just to say hello to the groomer before your puppy’s first grooming, so your puppy gets to know them and becomes familiar with the grooming salon. We welcome you to come and visit us! Just give us a call to schedule a time.

  5. Make it fun – Bring treats and toys with you for the waiting area. Most professional groomers have treats and other comforting items to ease their pawed clients. Speak in a soft voice and remain calm. Your demeanor will help your furry loved one feel safe and secure.

Puppy’s First Grooming: What’s the Right Age?

We recommend that you wait until 12 weeks or older to have your puppy groomed. Prior to that, they are still receiving the core vaccines and parasite screening, so they are vulnerable to illness at an early age. After 12 weeks, they will be well on their way to a lifetime of skin and coat health through regular grooming.

If your puppy needs to be cleaned, simply use dog or puppy wet wipes, found online and in most pet supply stores, to give them an overall wash. 

It is a good idea to discuss with your groomer what they believe your puppy will need in their first year and beyond. Dogs with long or thick coats may need more attention or more frequent grooming. We can also talk with you about ways to ease your pet into the grooming process. 

If you would like more information on your puppy’s first grooming, or to schedule an appointment, please give us a call.