First Time to the Groomers? How to Properly Prepare your Puppy

Taking your puppy to the groomer for the first time can be a stressful experience for your pet. They will be in a strange new environment, probably surrounded by unfamiliar dogs, and they will be touched and groomed by someone that they don’t know. It’s an experience that can cause anxiety for your puppy!

However, there’s no denying that grooming is a necessary procedure for your pet, especially if they are a breed that requires regular grooming for proper health and maintenance. Here are some practical dog care tips that can help ease your puppy and get them ready for their first grooming experience.

1. Make Sure That They are Properly Vaccinated and Healthy

Before you bring your puppy to ANY groomers, you need to make sure that your puppy is healthy and completely vaccinated. Keep in mind that they will not only be exposed to a very stressful and unfamiliar new environment (which can already affect a puppy’s health), but they will also be exposed to many other unfamiliar dogs!

You don’t really know if these other dogs have regular and updated vaccinations, and even though most reputable groomers will require that their clients have updated health records, it only takes one sick dog to infect your puppy with a contagious disease.

As a rule of thumb, the best time to take your puppy for their first grooming session would be at around 5-6 months. At this stage, they should already have completed all their vaccinations, and they should already have a strong immune system.

2. Prepare Them at Home as Much as Possible

Since you’ll have some time on your hands before you take your puppy to their first grooming session, you should do your part at home to get them ready for all the grooming procedures. Most dogs are perfectly fine with getting bathed even by unfamiliar groomers, and even trimming your dog’s fur won’t be much of an issue with an experienced groomer.

However, the problem lies with getting their nails clipped, as well as getting their ears and teeth cleaned. Many dogs are sensitive to having their paws, ears, and muzzle touched or held, especially by people that they don’t know.

To prepare for this, you need to get them used from a young age. Clip your puppy’s nails at home, clean their ears, and brush their teeth as early as possible. Even at around 3 months, you should already be able to do these procedures at home.

3. Keep Them Happy and Stress-Free Before, During, and After

The best way to prepare your puppy for the groomers is to make the experience as fun and comfortable as possible. Associate the experience with something positive, such as treats, praise, or playtime. Before and during the visit to the groomers, give them as much praise and attention as possible, and after the grooming session, give them their favorite treat.

4. Get Them Ready for Transport

Another way to make the grooming experience as comfortable and painless as possible is to use a carrier before and after their visit to the groomers. A carrier is a safe way to transport your dog in your car, and should they feel anxious or nervous, it is a way for them to settle down as well.

5. Get a List of Questions Ready for the Groomers

Always have a set of questions ready for the groomer before they start working on your puppy. One important question to ask is whether they have experience working on your puppy’s particular breed, especially if you have a high-maintenance breed. Breeds such as Shih Tzus, Golden Retrievers, Yorkshire Terriers, and Huskies have coats that need a lot of care and attention, and a groomer needs to know how to properly wash, trim, and maintain these coats.

Another important question to ask is what kind of products they are using, especially if you have a pet with a particularly sensitive coat.

6. Be There With Them, at Least During the First Few Grooming Sessions

All grooming businesses have a large window that allows you to see into the grooming area so that you can see how the grooming process is going. This window also allows your pet to see you! During the first few grooming sessions, it’s important to let your pet see you so that they know that you are still there.

Even seeing you will alleviate much of the stress and anxiety that your pet is feeling. Over time, you can leave your pet at the groomers, assuming that your pet has already forged a bond of trust with the groomer.

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