Establishing a Grooming Routine

Puppy / Adult Dog Grooming Routine – Why?

Its important to establish a grooming routine with your puppy right from the get go of your relationship. Handle your puppy from nose to tail daily. You want to be gentle but yet be insistent at the same time. This type of exercise should be part of you daily routine for about 5 minutes a day until you dog is about 6 months and it will ensure to make all grooming and hygiene chores easier for the rest or his life. Each breed has different needs, and some will require regular and or professional grooming. Consult a good book about you breed and if you have a mix then find the one that looks closest to your dog.

The Proper tools that you will need for most dogs:

  • * Brush
  • Comb
  • Soft Slicker Brush
  • FURminator¬©
  • A good pair Of nail clippers ( scissor type )
  • Coagulator (kwik Stop)
  • Ear cleaner
  • Shampoo
  • Dry Shampoo ( Young Puppies )
  • No tears shampoo ( Pups )
  • Unscented / Oatmeal ( Adults )
  • De shedding Shampoo

Before You Start:

Before even giving your dog a bath it is a good idea to get him or her acquainted with the bathroom, bath tub, and running water. You can do this by bringing the dog into the bathroom while you bathe if they seem very anxious to begin with. After this you will want to slowly introduce you dog to being bathed, you don’t want to just dowse your dog in water the first time going into the tub. When first giving your dog or puppy a bath to ensure that they have a pleasant and positive experience we want to be patient and not to over forcing while restraining them.

Getting Started With the Wash and Brush:

Start off by Soaking, shampooing and then rinsing. Once this is taken care of then we can move onto brushing the dog. Again we need to keep this a positive experience. Let your puppy smell the brush first and let him see you use it on your pant leg (better to wear jeans.) Gently pat the brush and run the brush down you dogs back and massage him gently as your brush. Remember to periodically removed hair build up from the brush.

Nail Clipping:

It’s like nails on a chalk board when we see dogs walking around on nails that are to long. Many dog owners are afraid to clip their own dog’s nails out of fear that they may cut them to short and hit the kwik which is the blood vessel that runs through the dogs nail. Some time this is best left to a professional but if you dog has white nails then you nay be able to tell where the vessel runs by looking at the pink area. It is important regularly cut your dogs nails so that it becomes a normal part of your dogs routine and it will encourage the quick to recede. You can do this each week or every other week and just take of they very tips of your dogs nails. If you dogs nails are black then you will need to be much more careful and just take off a very small portion of the tips weekly. Even if you decide to have a professional do this for you it’s highly recommended that you still get you dog used to having its feet and nails handled so that it makes it easier for other people cutting your dogs nails in the future.

Dental Care:

When it comes to dental care this may be one of the most important things to keep up on with your pet because it can lead bacteria and infection which can spread throughout your dogs body. To prepare a puppy to have its teeth brush when they become an adult practice gently opening your dog’s mouth and rubbing your fingers along his gum line.

There are a variety of prevention type items that can be purchased at most pet store like rubber “bones” with nubs that will massage your dog’s gums and teeth. This promotes good circulation and also helps relive pain associated with teething. These are available in all sizes for all breeds and ages.

Once your gets a little bit older you can use a finger brush with them. Your vet can provide preventive dental health practices for your dog and can also perform a major teeth cleaning which must be done under general anesthetic at the vet usually done every few years.

Ear Cleaning:

You should check your puppies ears weekly for dirt and wax build up. As gross as it sounds give it a sniff each time so you can tell if there something going on inside. This is most important for long eared breeds such as retriever’s spaniels and beagles. Look for any signs of irritation, which should be reported to your vet. The best thing to do with this is prevent rather then trying to fix. Ask your vet for a good ear cleaning solution and get into a habit of cleaning on a regular basis.


Almost every breed will at one time or another has matter in the inner corner of the eyes. You should simply wipe this away gently with a tissue as soon as it appears to prevent it from drying and forming a crust. If your dog has profuse eye discharge or if the discharge should have a yellowish color consult your vet at once. This could indicate conjunctivitis or other eye problems.

Other recommendations:

Flea and tick prevention (no collars) monthly
Heartworm prevention ( Talk to your vet )

Andrew Fraser is president and training director for Canine Obedience Unlimited, a full-service training and boarding facility located in Urbana. Fraser is a Master Trainer graduate of the National K9 School for Professional Dog Trainers, a No Limitations graduate of Sit Means Sit and a certified first aid and CPR instructor from Pet Tech 240-793-5787.