Grooming Puppies and earthbath Wipes

As a new puppy (actually, puppies) owner (yes, those are my lil’ furbabies), the following items are indispensable to me:

1) Tons of tiny training treats in a variety of flavors and textures (puppies want to learn, are food-motivated, and get bored easily)
2) lots and lots of old rags and towels
3) white vinegar (to go with the old rags and towels…)
4) patience
5) earthbath puppy wipes

Puppies get messy and dirty in a very, um, indiscriminate way, and I found these wipes imperative to keep both the puppies, and my house, clean. This was made clear to me this week when I ran out, didn’t have any in reserve, and figured, oh well, I can probably make do with a wet cloth till I can get some more…

Not so fast. A warm wet cloth is great for some things, like un-sticking gummy, glue-y goo from sensitive puppy eyes, but for wet, muddy paws, and the dreaded poopy bottom (not to get too scatological on you’re here, but chances are, if you have a dog, cat, or any little creature that’s dependent on you for its well-being, you’re all too familiar with such things). You might mean well by training your puppy to stand perfectly still for a full grooming session and/or bath, but it’s neither feasible nor desired, from either your or your puppy’s point of view, to give your puppy daily baths and full grooming sessions. It IS, however, perfectly reasonable to get your puppy used to being handled, particularly around his sensitive paw pads and nails, by giving a quick swipe-down after every outing, particularly after a romp in the rain or through muddy grass. –> 

Perhaps surprisingly, many owners (wrongly) think that it’s a mistake to bathe or brush dogs under six months of age. They worry that bathing will dry out the coat or that brushing may be too rough on a puppy’s sensitive skin at this age. The opposite is actually true. This is the best time, as with all training, to get your puppy used to a routine which will stay with him throughout his whole life. It’s going to be much easier on both of you in the long run, if you start getting him used to grooming sessions as early as possible.

The same goes for brushing: if you have a full-coated dog, regular brushing is an absolutely necessary part of your canine maintenance routine, as crucial to keeping your dog healthy and comfortable, as it is to feed him well and give him enough exercise. Brushing daily gives you time to examine your dog’s coat and skin and identify and remove anything like pests (e.g., fleas or ticks), burrs, thorns, disgusting-who-knows-what, tangles and mats immediately before they become larger problems. It also feels great to puppies, and especially to older dogs. Remember having your hair brushed by your mom? If you were like me, you used to beg her to brush your hair each night because it felt so good (unless she was yanking out tangles). Brushing is just as important for dogs as it is for humans, in that it cleans the coat, removes loose hair, and stimulates natural oil production to help keep the coat lush and conditioned. At this young age, just as with all training, keep the sessions short but consistent. Then the puppy will think of brushing as just another form of petting. If you start early enough, and pair the brushing with rewards, both you and he will come to look forward to this sweet time together as a relaxing part of the day.

When it’s bath time, make sure to use a shampoo specifically formulated for sensitive skin and/or for puppies, and have lots of treats on hand. The average puppy probably needs a bath at least weekly, if not more frequently, depending on what he gets into. This not only helps keep your puppy smelling more like a daisy and less like “dirty dog,” but it also helps to prevent skin infections that are caused by unhygienic conditions. I’ve been told that most puppies, especially those that are very young, enjoy the bathing process. Not mine. That’s why wipes come in so handy for me! They help prolong the time I can go between baths!

I’ve got to run… gotta go brush some puppies and pick up some more earthbath wipes. It’s been a rainy day and it’s not letting up all week! Prediction: Chance of muddy paws: 100%.