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Puppy 101: Healthy and Clean with Proper Hygiene

Dog Grooming: Ear Cleaning

dog ear cleaned with cotton swab
dog ear cleaned with cotton swab

To acclimate your pup to the ear cleaning process, practice playing with and handling your dog’s ears gently. Reinforcing good behavior with treats while you carefully massage the inside of the ear is one of the easiest ways to get your dog comfortable with the sensation of ear cleaning. Once your pup is comfortable, repeat the process with cotton balls.  It is recommended that you check in with your vet or groomer to get recommended ear-cleaning products that suit your dog. Engaging in frequent ear cleanings will insure that your pup’s ears are free of uncomfortable wax, hair and debris, but more importantly will help you to understand what a healthy ear looks like, which will help you to identify when your dog is uncomfortable.

Dog Grooming: Teeth Brushing

Brushing a yorkie's teeth.
Brushing a yorkie’s teeth.

Doggie dental hygiene is an often-overlooked aspect of the dog grooming process, with around 80% of dogs suffering from some type of dental disease. Cleaning your pup’s teeth is often easiest when they are tired and calm. Sitting comfortably with your dog’s head resting (facing away from you) on your lap. Using some form of pup-friendly toothpaste, gently rub the gum and the base of the tooth. Once your dog is comfortable with the taste of the toothpaste and the rubbing sensation, it is time to upgrade to a soft children’s brush or a brush designed especially for dogs. There is no need to ever pry your dog’s mouth open, just gentle brushing on the outside of the teeth works wonders.


Dog Grooming: Nail Trimming

Nail Trimming
Nail Trimming

Trimming a pup’s nails is similar to ear cleaning in the sense that they both require a certain level of trust and comfort having a specific body part handled.  Again, the best way to acclimate your dog is through repetition and positive reinforcement. When your pup is comfortable with you handling their paws, you are well on your way to safe and easy nail trimming. Always go about trimming the claw paw up, and be sure to watch for the “quick” (the visible and sensitive nerve bundle at the base of the nail). Knowing where the quick is can be difficult on dogs with black nails, but as long as you are not cutting too short, your pup should be comfortable. It is also important to remember the dew claw, which is located on the upper inner surface of the paw. 

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