First thing’s first when caring for your puppy, the best approach is to treat him like the child or little sibling you’ve never had. This naturally suggests that besides feeding and loving them as an extension of yourself, the next very basic aspect of caring for him would be to make sure that he is the cleanest he could possibly be, since no one likes an unkempt family member. In addition to that, without regular care, dogs and puppies are prone to a myriad of troublesome ailments, such as heat rash, bad smells and worst of all, ticks and fleas.
A dog neglected can be a real chore to de-mat and groom, so it is never too late to start taking extra steps to care for them. The following steps are some basic grooming habits that can easily be adopted by any owner with just a few simple tools. Keep at them regularly, and you’re good to go!
Dogs and puppies alike should be bathed at least once a week. You should be able to gauge your own pups by their smell and how active they get but as a rule of thumb, you should not bathe them more than thrice a week.
Ideally the water should be warm, but if it isn’t, just take care that your puppy doesn’t catch a chill in the open.
Dry him well with a towel or alternatively, a hair dryer.
You can find good shampoos at any drug store or super market. If it is medicated though, for example if you use a product specifically for de-ticking, it is best to obtain it from your local vet.
This may be done at home or at the groomers, depending on how your puppy’s coat is like, and also how much effort you are willing to expend. Breeds like poodles that have characteristically tight curls are best looked after by a professional groomer (tune in to our next article to find affordable and reliable groomers near you!).
The type of equipment you need really depends on the breed of your dog (i.e. the length and type of fur your dog possesses) but for the purposes of this article, I will introduce the very basic grooming tools that all owners should have at hand.
1 2 3
- Steel Brush : To remove tangles
- Bristle Brush : To remove dead hairs and remaining dirt
- Fine Comb : To give a silky finish (this is optional for dogs with shorter coats)
The above tools should be used in order for best results. For silky coats, the bristle brush brings out the healthy shine in your dog’s coat. You could then use the comb to part the long hair on the back, and then comb each side straight down.
General Hygiene (Eyes, Ears, Teeth)
The eyes should be bright, clear and free from any discharge or inflammation.
You may remove mucus/debris from around the eyes with a moistened cotton wool, one for each eye.
If your pup has unnaturally watery eyes or blinks excessively, pay a visit to the vet at once.
The inside of the ears should be a dull pink. Check carefully for wax, odour, inflammation or foreign materials.
You may remove dirt with a small piece of moistened cotton wool as well, again, one for each ear.
It is important to be very gentle and using cotton buds would be a big no-no since you might damage your dog’s delicate eardrums.
The teeth should be checked regularly to ensure that there is no sign of gum infection or tar build-up.
Set aside an old toothbrush, preferably with soft bristles, and gently brush your puppy’s teeth once a week.
You may use diluted saltwater for this as an alternative to just regular water. You may also use a specialised dog toothpaste which may be purchased at any registered pet store.