Do I need to bathe my puppy?

Bathing frequency is dependent on many factors. As a general rule, baths should not exceed once per two weeks. Bathing may be less frequent depending on size, type, and personality of the puppy. With so many topical and oral flea and tick preventives available, we no longer need to bathe dogs for parasite control. In general, dogs can be bathed in any mild pet shampoo that cleans the animal, smells good, and does not irritate the skin. For dogs with skin conditions, the doctor may suggest medicated shampoos. Unless problems exist, medicated shampoos are rarely used and are not recommended.

How often should I brush my puppy’s fur?

Longer coated breeds should be brushed frequently. Frequency depends on the length of the hair as well as the tendency of the hair to develop mats. Shedding is a reality in most breeds. What appears to be excessive shedding to an owner may be perfectly normal for a dog. Shedding, even large quantities of hair, is not abnormal unless it is associated with bald spots or skin changes.

Should I trim my puppy’s nails?

Many dogs dislike having their nails trimmed. Therefore, teaching your puppy to allow handling of the feet is a very important first step in getting your puppy to tolerate nail trims. Often, only the very tips of puppy toenails will need trimming, so in the beginning spend more time just handling the feet. If you have never trimmed a dog’s nails before, have our staff walk you through the steps. It’s always best to take too little off so that you avoid ‘quicking’ the nail. This makes the toenail bleed and is uncomfortable for the pet. It can also contribute to making dogs dislike nail trims.

Do I need to clean my puppy’s ears?

A certain amount of maintenance ear cleaning may be needed. The level of ear care depends on the breed, how much ear debris accumulates, and whether the puppy is prone to developing ear infections. If our veterinarians recommend ear cleaning for your puppy, follow this procedure:

The external ear canal (cartilage folds) may be cleaned with soft cotton balls.

Do not insert anything so deeply in the ear that you lose sight of it.

An ear cleaning solution can be instilled into the ear canal. Then, rub the base of the ear gently. Allow the puppy to shake his or her head, and then use soft cotton balls to wipe away the debris.

What can I do to keep my puppy’s teeth healthy?

Dental care is very important! Add tooth brushing into your puppy’s daily routine now so they become familiar with the process. There are also many other home dental care options – visit our ‘Paws to Protect: Dental Health’ section for more information.

~Author: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS