Does your puppy need a haircut? From simple short hair to an elaborate puppy hairstyle, grooming helps your puppy look and feel their best. Read on for tips on maintaining your doggy’s ‘do, whether you give them a haircut yourself, have a trained in-home groomer visit your house, or take them to the beauty shop.
Benefits of grooming
Grooming isn’t just about looks. Starting a regular grooming routine with your pup has many benefits:
- Behavior: grooming helps your puppy get used to being handled, which can make future experiences (like vet visits) go smoothly
- Health and safety: when you groom your puppy, you can inspect them for any pests, bumps, scrapes, or health issues
- Coat and skin health: grooming removes dead skin and hair, potentially slowing shedding and keeping your pup’s coat and skin feeling their best.
- Bonding and socialization: Regular grooming will bring you and your puppy closer together, and help them learn to get along with other people, too.
Of course, grooming also keeps your puppy looking their best!
When to start puppy grooming
Puppies don’t need professional grooming until they’re around 12-16 weeks old and have had all their shots. Why do the shots matter? Because your puppy needs vaccinations before interacting with other dogs or visiting locations with lots of dog traffic. Professionnal groomers typically require puppies to be fully vaccinated before their first visit to the shop.
However, you can start grooming your puppy at home right away. The sooner you start handling them; the better behaved they’ll be later on! Brush their coat with a soft-bristled brush, gently “brush” their face with your fingers, and practice holding their paws. Eventually, you’ll work in a simple nail trim. And of course, have plenty of treats on hand to reward them for being so good!
What kind of grooming does my puppy need?
Most puppies benefit from weekly brushing, and some need haircuts and styling to keep their coat healthy. Here’s a list of common coat types and their basic grooming needs
Dogs with short, smooth coats don’t need much grooming. Daily pets and a weekly brushing should be plenty. Use a grooming mitt to loosen dead hair and dirt, and then a bristle brush to remove it. If your puppy has a short coat, they don’t need a haircut. Their fur will stay short all by itself!
Some short-coated dog breeds include beagles, Labrador retrievers, dobermans, dachshunds, bulldogs, and great Danes.
Long and silky coats
Puppies with long coats may need daily combing to keep their fur silky and untangled. A wide-toothed comb works well, and you or the groomer can trim any “wild hairs” that are interfering with your puppy’s vision or movement.
Silky-coated dogs benefit from daily brushing, and occasional trims to keep hair out of their eyes. Unless they’re rolling in mud, limit baths to once per month or less. Too much bathing can dry out their skin and coat.
Some long/silky-coated dog breeds are Maltese, Afghan hound, Yorkies, Spaniels, and soft coated Wheaton terriers.
Double-coated dogs have a top layer of longer “guard hair” over a short, soft layer of downy fur. The dense undercoat protects them from heat and cold, and the top coat repels dirt and moisture. If neglected, the downy layer can cause mats to form. Puppies with double coats need regular brushing, especially as their adult coat is coming in!
Note: double-coated puppies don’t require need haircuts. Both layers serve a purpose, and if you shave down the protective top layer, the bottom layer can get matted. Brush them out regularly to remove dead fur, and otherwise let the coat take care of itself.
Double coated puppies may include Akitas, Pomeranians, huskies, Shiba inus, Newfoundland, Bernese mountain dogs, and more.
Curly and wiry coat
Curly-coated dogs need regular trims, about every six weeks. You can opt for a fancy show cut, or a simple trim to keep their coat healthy. Dog breeds with curly coats include standard and miniature poodles, Portuguese water dogs, and Bichon Friese.
Dogs with wiry coats sometimes need their hairs plucked to maintain a healthy coat, and two or three trims per year. Some wire-haired dogs include fox terriers, Jack Russell terriers, Brussels Griffon, and border terriers.
Where to groom
If you have a shorthaired or otherwise low-maintenance dog, you can probably get away with grooming at home! Just pick up a good brush and set of nail clippers, and spruce up your puppy a couple of times a month.
If you need help bathing or grooming your puppy, you can take them to a doggy beauty shop, or hire an in-home groomer to come to you. If you live in Seattle or Austin, you can hire a Rover groomer with professional experience. You just provide is a tub and towels!
And if you’re ready to dive into the wonderful world of dog grooming, check out our blog post on The Best Professional Pet Grooming Supplies You Can Use at Home
Enjoy their first puppy haircut
If your puppy is ready for their first visit with the groomer, make it a celebration! Get them a special treat, and be sure to take lots of pictures for the puppy baby book (or Instagram). After all, there’s only one first puppy haircut.