Do I Need Special Grooming Items for a Puppy?

Dog Being Groomed

It seems like puppies grow so fast. Most of the time they do. While there’s a big difference in growth rates between a Great Dane and a Chihuahua, both start out as puppies… Almost the same exact size at birth! But while you’ll likely need to purchase a lot of transition items for the Dane due to expedient growth, you won’t have those requirements with the tiny Chi. But, what you do have with any dog, regardless of size at full growth is the requirements to get the right grooming items for a puppy. Any puppy. To the question, ‘Do I need special grooming items for a puppy?’ the answer is a resounding yes!

Here Are But a Few of the Special Grooming Items You’ll Need For Your Puppy

Soft Bristle Brushes

A soft bristle brush is an essential grooming tool used for removing shedding fur, knots, and to massage the skin. They further help to maintain and condition the coat of your puppy while avoiding the skin to prevent irritation and discomfort. Depending on the breed of puppy you have, you’ll want to select the correct type of brush. For example, a smooth coat puppy doesn’t require the same type of brush as a double-coated dog. Regardless of the type of brush you end up with, all puppies will benefit from a soft bristle brush gliding through their fur until such time that they grow into their breed-specific brushes.

Silicone Comb

We highly recommend a rubber-toothed comb for puppies. Regular combing will help keep your pup’s coat and skin healthy and feeling good. Since the chances are good that your pup has thin hair, we find the silicone combs work well - and they provide adequate texture for your puppy to adjust to the feel of a real comb as s/he grows. You may also want to invest in a super fine-toothed flea comb to help check for fleas.

PH-Balanced Shampoo and Conditioner

You’ll want to pay very special attention to your puppy’s shampoo and conditioner. The skin is the largest organ for a dog - so it needs special care. A dog's skin is as close to a neutral pH as you can get. Also, a pup’s skin is significantly more alkaline than humans’, so the shampoo and conditioner you use on your puppy should be much more neutral in pH than the typical pH value of shampoo. Look for soap-free shampoo so your puppy doesn’t experience residue problems. Also, make sure that everything you put on your puppy is organic, non-toxic, free of synthetic and artificial ingredients.

Special Tub

Just like a human baby, your puppy will require a special tub for his or her routine baths. While down the road you’ll want to get a free-standing large dog tub with adjustable legs and a hose attachment, while your dog is a little puppy you’ll need something much smaller. We recommend a small plastic puppy bathtub that can be placed on a countertop and has a rubberized bottom to keep the tub from slipping as well as quick drain feature for easy emptying.

Blow Dryer

Another essential item you’d need is a blow dryer that will keep your puppy’s coat feeling soft and fluffy for days afterward. However, dogs, in particular puppies, require much less heat - so never use a human dryer on high heat. It’s best to invest in a dryer that’s made specifically for dogs as these have individual temperature and air pressure controls. For puppies, it’s best to keep your puppy in warm, dry towels, while drying him/her with cool, soft and consistent air from the blow dryer.

Nail Trimmers

Needless to say, pups need to have their nails trimmed and so you will need scissor trimmers for their soft nails. Don’t wait until your puppy is older to trim his/her nails - start right away, even if you are just snipping the tiniest pieces of the nail from your pup. The scissor-style trimmers are perfect for puppies as they are easily handled, don’t make loud clipping sounds, and are easy to gauge how much nail you are trimming. Also, have styptic powder on hand just in case of any bleeding.


How to Create a Soothing Environment for Puppy Grooming

Grooming a puppy can be nerve-wracking for many first-time pet parents - no judging, we understand. You can help your pup get through his or her first grooming sessions by using the following tricks and tips.

  • First, make sure you regularly brush your puppy as it helps remove dandruff and dead hair and enhance circulation. If your puppy will develop a medium to long coat, you can use a technique known as line brushing. This type of brushing involves combing the coat but avoiding the skin. Line brushing requires your pup to lay on his/her side, and then you divide the hair in a straight line, from his shoulder to tail in small sections and comb through each piece. Once done with one side your dog will lay on his/her other side and you repeat the process.
  • Second, consider giving treats to your pet throughout the entire grooming process. If you get healthy, balanced treats they could replace your puppy’s dinner. Treats have the magical ability to get your puppy to enjoy whatever s/he will encounter during grooming. Just give your puppy a treat or two as you finish each step of the grooming process.
  • Third, previous studies have suggested that music plays a key role in determining the behavior of dogs. So before you start the grooming process, create an environment of calm by playing some soft, melodic classical music. This genre of music is widely used to create a soothing environment for pets being professionally groomed.
  • Last, if your puppy gets anxious during grooming sessions try some natural calmers. Replacing your pup’s drinking water with a mixture of chamomile tea can help greatly without any negative side-effects.

Puppy Grooming Can Be Fun

When you have the right things, and you’re not struggling, puppy grooming most certainly can be fun. Take it from me, washing your puppy in your bathtub isn’t fun… For you or your puppy. It’s too big, slippery, and different than what s/he is used to. It’s somewhat the same for a human’s blow dryer - they are too hot and too loud. By taking a few minutes to think through how your puppy is experiencing things, you can often find ways to enhance the experience - this will help build your puppy’s confidence and help to boost your human-animal bond.

Rebecca Sanchez

Rebecca Sanchez lives in Seattle with her husband and three dogs and is a published author, and nationally recognized leader in the pet industry. Known as The Pet Lifestyle Guru™ Rebecca firmly believes “we need animals as much as they need us!” Rebecca specializes in researching and writing about holistic dog health and nutrition, and develops DIY recipes designed to enhance a pup's well-being.


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