We spoke to our groomers from our sister practice at Animal Hospital of Pensacola, Michelle Webber and Courtney Wistner, for professional tips on grooming, as well as tips and tricks for grooming at home to ensure that your puppy looks and feels his/her best and has an easy, comfortable grooming experience!
Courtney and Michelle on Puppy Grooms:
Courtney: Patience is key when it comes to grooming puppies. Puppies aged 3-6 months have to learn how to be groomed. Until your puppy is 6 months old, sanitary, face and feet trims can be done to help the puppy learn patience and appropriate behavior around sharp, loud, and sometimes scary equipment. Waiting until the puppy is ready for a full haircut ensures a safe and happy "spaw" day. Pushing puppies into a full haircut too soon can result in a fearful or stressed response later on.
Michelle: Patience and repetition are key! We are asking our puppies to do things outside of their instinctive comfort zone, so repeating the process over and over, with patience, teaches them that it won't hurt. I ask the puppies to let me do "weird," new things to them, and in return, I respect them enough not to lift, twist, or forcefully teach them so that they have a comfortable experience.
Grooming at Home:
Courtney: What can pet parents do at home? Brush and comb! While brushes are useful, combs get all the way to the skin to help locate tangles. Once a tangle is found, gently brush it with a soft bristle brush. Never brush wet skin/coats, as it can cause brush burn.
Michelle: The most important thing pet parents can do at home is deciding on a hairstyle that suits their lifestyle. Not all lifestyles lend to long, flowing hair. Pet parents should also determine, from the day that the puppy comes home if they have the patience and diligence to comb and brush the pet's hair for the rest of the pet's life.
Dealing with Painful Mats:
Courtney: If your puppy gets wet, use a comb to prevent mats. You should never cut out mattes. If a puppy does get mats, there are two options to deal with them: de-matting (which can't be done on the ears or sanitary area for safety purposes) or shave, done by a groomer.
Michelle: I do not suggest taking scissors to your pet if they develop a mat, as the skin can be easily cut. As I mentioned before, the best thing you can do is decide on a hairstyle early on in the pet's life, then set a grooming schedule. My years of grooming experience have taught me tips and tricks to save matted ears and tails and keep sanitary areas clean.
Fear-Free Grooming Experience! Taking the "Pet" Out of Petrified
Courtney: Ask a groomer how to safely clip nails so you can practice at home. Handle your puppy's feet frequently to help with nail clipping behavior. Lots of treats, patience, and love can teach your puppy that nail trims aren't scary!
Michelle: Fear-free grooming is really, very simple when it comes to puppies. They are easy to distract with love and treats, and, as puppies tend to live in the moment, you should always end each grooming session on a good note! Extra cuddles and a special treat that they really love, and only get after grooming, teach the puppy how much you, the parent, love it when they are groomed!
Our groomers have a combined professional experience of over 25 years, and they can't wait to meet your puppies! They are available for grooming appointments at Animal Hospital of Pensacola 7 days a week! Call or email to get a grooming appointment scheduled for your fur-baby today! Contact us for an appointment.