Perfect Puppy Care Book – Chapter 3 – Supplies (Part 5)
Chapter 3 – Supplies (Part 5)
The grooming supplies that you get for your puppy will depend a lot on what kind of puppy you have and what activities you plan for her. The requirements for grooming a Poodle, for example, are a lot more complicated than those for a Labrador Retriever. What you need to groom a puppy for the show ring may be very different from what you need for a puppy who’s going camping with you.
For guidance on grooming supplies, consult your puppy’s breeder and a professional groomer. They’ll be able to give you tips specific to your particular puppy. In general, here are some basic tools you need. You’ll find them at local and online pet retailers.
Brushes and Combs
The following are some brushes and combs that your puppy may need:
- Slicker brush: Slicker brushes remove dead fur and help with tangles. If you have a young puppy or a puppy with a very short coat, be sure to get a gentle slicker brush so that the bristles aren’t painful.
- Bristle brush: Bristle brushes are good for puppies with all lengths of coats.
- Pin brush: Pin brushes are suitable for long-haired puppies; they have long, round-ended pins. You also may want to get a comb to help with potential tangles.
- Stripping tool: If you have a terrier or other harsh-coated puppy, you may want to get a stripping tool. This tool pulls out dead hair and keeps the coat wiry, which is the preferred look for a terrier. Clipping or trimming a terrier’s coat makes it softer.
- Hound glove: If you have a hound or other very short-coated puppy, consider getting a hound glove. This glove allows you to pet your puppy to comb through her coat.
- Shedding blade: If your puppy sheds, a shedding blade can be a tremendous help. This isn’t a “blade” like a knife; rather, it is more like a comb. Most have short, serrated edges. You comb your dog with the shedding blade, and it strips out the dead fur.
- Flea comb: A flea comb is always handy. By using a flea comb and carefully going through your puppy’s coat, you will help to ensure that you’re trapping all the pesky parasites.
Coat Clippers and Scissors
Some puppies have coats that require clipping or cutting. Even if you choose to use the services of a professional groomer, you also may want to keep some clippers or scissors on hand for touch-ups between visits. A wide variety of clippers and attachments is available. If you’re going to be clipping your puppy, check with your breeder or groomer for tips on what to purchase.
A pair of ear and nose hair scissors is invaluable. These have a small, blunt tip, just like safety scissors, so that you are less likely to painfully poke your puppy. If your puppy is fluffy and growing fur between her paw pads, use these scissors to keep that fur neatly trimmed. Small-sized electric clippers also do the trick.
Shampoos and Conditioners
Avoid shampoos formulated for humans because they may dry out your puppy’s coat or skin. Instead, choose a shampoo that’s especially formulated for your puppy. For example, does she have itchy, flaky skin? She may need a soothing oatmeal-based or medicated shampoo. Does she have a dry coat? She may do well with a conditioning shampoo or even a separate conditioner.
Some shampoos can enhance certain color coats. You’ll find a variety of scented shampoos as well, some with organic ingredients. You’ll also find some that kill fleas and ticks. If you’re going to use a flea and tick shampoo, consult your veterinarian first if your dog is also using flea and tick prevention medication. You don’t want to overload your puppy with chemicals, or she could get sick.
Your puppy may be small enough so that you can easily bathe her in a sink. If you have a larger puppy or a small puppy who’s growing larger by the day, though, you may prefer to wash her in the bathtub. In this case, consider getting a faucet or shower extension attachment so that you can more easily rinse your puppy. Some are removable, while others attach permanently.
For extra drying power after the bath, try one of the special pet-drying towels. They absorb a lot more than regular bath towels and are machine washable.
Nail Care Items
There are different types of nail trimmers on the market. One type is the guillotine-style trimmer. You insert your puppy’s nail into the opening, above the cutting blade. When you squeeze the handle, it pushes the blade, which cuts the nail. Some people prefer scissors-type nail trimmers. Other trimmers have safety mechanisms that limit the amount of nail you cut.
If you use a nail trimmer, your puppy’s nails will be pretty sharp when you’re done cutting them. Use a nail file to smooth the sharp edges. That way, her claws won’t be so painful to you if she jumps on you or into your lap. You’ll find files especially made for dog nails along with the rest of the grooming supplies at your local and online pet retailer.
If you want smooth nails from the start, try an electric nail grinder. This handheld tool has a rapidly revolving sandpaper head attachment that smoothes a nail down instead of cutting it.
Be sure to also stock some styptic powder or gel, which will help to stop bleeding just in case you nick the nerve in your puppy’s nail.
Dental Care Items
Dental care is an important part of keeping your puppy healthy. Use toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs. It comes in a variety of flavors, from mint to poultry.
Use a toothbrush or finger brush to apply the toothpaste; your choice depends on what type of puppy you have and your personal preference. With a very small puppy, the finger brush may be a tight squeeze in that little mouth. Some dog toothbrushes have two heads—one small and one large—which can be convenient for reaching all your puppy’s teeth while her mouth is small, and also when she’s larger.
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