The Importance of Grooming a Puppy

Grooming a puppy does more than making it look cute. Good grooming means good health, but something for every groomer to remember is that different types of dogs each have different grooming needs. There is not one single way for a professional pet groomer to groom a dog, and this includes puppies. Still, a puppy’s very first grooming experience should be approached a certain way.

Just like a child’s first haircut, a puppy’s first grooming is a momentous occasion that should be handled with care. Working with rambunctious or poorly-trained puppies can be a trying situation even for experienced pet groomers, but you have to bear in mind that your initial approach to grooming can have a lifelong impact on the puppy being groomed— and it’s critical for the dog’s mental health to make it a positive one.

Preparing the Puppy for the First Grooming

During the first grooming session, the main objective is to familiarize the puppy with the process and space. When the puppy and its owners first arrive, be sure to introduce yourself and talk in soothing tones to build trust. Showing affection by petting or playing with the puppy will also show that the grooming experience is enjoyable. Above all, be patient. The salon is a new place with distracting sights and smells. Additionally, the puppy may initially be afraid of the clippers, dryers, and grooming tables, as it will be its first time being exposed to such tools. Showing the puppy that it is in a friendly atmosphere will help it to relax and cooperate during the grooming process.

When Grooming Begins

As a pet groomer, you should always keep the first grooming session with a puppy short. The puppy will perform better and get more used to being handled by a groomer in a short session as opposed to a full one.

During the grooming process, the puppy should always be loosely restrained. This will allow you to keep control of the puppy without scaring it. Also, even though the grooming session will be short, it’s always best to start slowly and stick with the basics. The following services are the best for grooming a puppy for the first time:


Giving the puppy a standard bath with appropriate shampoos and conditioners is the best way to get started. By lathering at the neck and working your way down toward the back legs and tail, you’re giving the puppy a calming massage with the bath. It’s recommended to use a washcloth for the puppy’s face to avoid getting soap in its eyes.


All dogs need brushing every now and then— some more than others. Brushing keeps the puppy’s coat healthy and reduces shedding, which is a relief for mom and dad. It’s relatively easy, but always remember to be careful with the inner thighs and tail, as they are especially sensitive areas that the puppy is not used to having touched.


The most common problem that most people have when trimming their dogs’ claws at home is that they tend to trim them the way they would trim their own nails. However, doing that will actually hurt the puppy. Unlike humans, dogs have a blood vessel that runs down into the nail. This is called a ‘quick,’ and when it gets trimmed, it hurts the animal. Dog groomers know to clip only the portion of nail beyond the quick, but sometimes trimming a puppy’s nails is more challenging. To avoid hurting the puppy during its first grooming, be sure to cut small slices from the tip of the nail at a forty-five-degree angle to avoid the quick.

When Grooming is Finished

It usually takes two or three sessions for a puppy to become completely comfortable with its groomer and the grooming process. But if the first visit goes the right way, this will enable you as a certified pet groomer to establish a lifelong relationship with your new furry client. For more tips on how to go about first grooming a puppy as a newly certified groomer, call Merryfield at 954-771-4030.

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