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60–63 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy

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A Checklist for Grooming Your Dog

Since puppies start shedding at around 11 months and their fur continues to come in until about month 15, it's a good time to look at your long term grooming choices. Keeping a dog well-groomed offers many benefits. The obvious one is less fur on your clothes and furniture but it also encourages a stronger bond between your puppy and you.

Groomed puppies suffer less from skin allergies, parasites and mats. It also offers a regular chance for you to check your puppy for burs, ticks, fleas, cuts, scrapes and bumps. And grooming keeps your puppy cooler and more comfortable.

It's best to do the grooming or take your puppy to a groomer on a regular schedule. Even if you do use a groomer, you should do your own lighter grooming weekly to ensure the health of your puppy's skin and coat. How often a heavier grooming is necessary depends on your dog's coat.

A Poodle should be completely groomed every 4 - 6 weeks, a Siberian Husky about every two months, while a breed such as the Labrador Retriever only needs it about every three or four months. There are several things to keep in mind when doing the grooming yourself or bringing your puppy to a groomer.

Grooming at Home

  1. Bathe - Bathing loosens up underneath fur and helps get any foreign objects off your puppy. If you're bathing your puppy as much as every month, consider an oatmeal shampoo, which is soothing to the skin.

  2. Condition - Dogs need conditioner to make their fur softer and to discourage tangles. It also can help control shedding. Be sure to use a natural product with little or no scent as some dogs can be allergic to additives.

  3. Dry - Use super absorbent towels - there are some made specifically for grooming. There is also an attachment to your vacuum that is available which dries quickly but may frighten some dogs.

  4. Brush - Start this while your puppy is still damp. There are many different brushes available for dogs. To brush a long-haired puppy, work on the undercoat first with a sturdy brush such as a wire one. Then brush the topcoat. Short-haired puppies do well with a brush such as the Furminator which can get to their short undercoat.

  5. Trim - This is a long stand for your puppy so be patient and correct him gently. Scissors specifically for dog grooming are sold at major pet stores and online. This is a tricky step unless you happen to be a hair dresser and for long haired dogs, a groomer is probably best.

  6. Nail Clipping - At this point your puppy is tired of being prodded. Start slowly, doing only a nail at a time until he gets used to it. Keep styptic powder on hand in case your hand slips and up the treat ante.

How to Help Your Groomer

If you decide to take your puppy to a groomer for some or most of your grooming, there are a few things that will help her with her task and help your dog feel more comfortable. Take something familiar of your puppy's such as a blanket or toy and ask the groomer to keep it close by. Try to send calming signals to your pup on the way there and when you leave him, do not make a fuss. Enlist a groomer who is willing to come out front before the grooming and spend some time letting your puppy sniff her and get to know her. If the grooming place seems like it's turning clients around like cattle, go someplace else.

Throughout the grooming session, both you or your groomer need to be calm and encouraging with lots of praise and treats for reward and distraction. Look for a groomer who has been working at the job for years and get a recommendation from a friend if possible. Also make certain the groomer is experienced with your type of dog. Ask to watch a grooming session to see how she handles her customers.

Keep in mind that even skipping one grooming session can result in mats, even in some short-haired dogs, which can hide irritants. These can quickly become infected or abscessed. So, though brushing may seem like something you can put off, remember that a well-groomed dog is healthier, happier, and can visit the dog park with her head up.

Advice from Other Dog Owners 

Puppies Eat Less When They are Teething

When my dog was teething his appetite decreased quite a bit. Our vet recommended adding water to his food to soften it up, which worked great. He did not recommend that we do that all the time because the hard food helps their dental hygiene. That worked for us! Ice cubes and toys in the freezer also helped (i.e. water down a rope toy and freeze).

~TALIE D., owner of Labrador Retriever

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