Reader Mila V. Asks:
“We’ve got a 13 week old Doodle and the humidity is kicking in here, and she’s so hot.”
To get straight to the point, most groomers won’t groom at all until all shots are up to date – typically when the puppy is around 16-17 weeks old.
However, you can actually start getting your puppy full-body groomed whenever your groomer believes the pup is ready.
The Grooming Introduction Process
After the 16-17 week mark, groomers usually recommend starting a new puppy client out with two or three “puppy visits”. This is when they are “mini groomed”, or groomed in just the essential areas. They recommend doing this to gradually introduce the grooming experience, so they can get used to the process without too much stress.
Did you know? Poodles get their feet and face shaved for the first time before they leave their mom, usually somewhere between 4-6 weeks of age.
When is a Puppy Ready to Get a Full Haircut?
A Puppy’s readiness for a full haircut will be based on their emotional and mental readiness – not based on their age. Your groomer will be the one to let you know when they are ready.
If Groomers Won’t See Puppies Until 16 Weeks, Where Should You Go?
Actually, private salons will all have their own rules. The 16-week thing is just a general observation, so be sure to call around to double-check. You might get lucky!
Also, it is said that Petsmart does not require rabies shots in dogs under 4 months, and will take puppies as early as 8 weeks with the recommendation that they have at least 2-3 rounds of puppy shots to help keep them safe while in the salon with other dogs.
If you’re concerned about your pup not having all their shots, consider a mobile groomer or a house-call groomer, who will come to your house and work one-on-one with your puppy. This reduces the risk of your puppy contracting diseases from other dogs. Mobile groomers cost more than a salon, but it’s very important that grooming starts as early as possible.
Whatever option you decide to go with, make sure you introduce grooming to your puppy as young as possible. Besides a few special odd cases, most puppies are so much less stressed about grooming as a whole if you start them young and work up to the full groom.
“Almost all of the doodles that I’ve groomed that haven’t been started young take a long time to get used to the process, and some never do, which can result in not being able to get the groom as smooth as possible, can impact what style of grooms are possible, and can even result in unfinished grooms because of severely stressed out dogs. The more stressed out a pup is for grooming, the more likely they are to accidentally injure themselves.”
Home Grooming Before 16 Weeks
Another option is to handle basic grooming at home before your puppy turns 16 weeks old. This is great for helping to introduce grooming to your puppy as young as possible.
The most important things you’ll want to do on your puppy is nail trimming and line brushing. The nail trimming is especially important so your puppy can get used to people handling his feet, as well as to stay on top of an ideal nail length.
P.S. The “you’ll ruin their coat if you don’t wait until a certain age” thing is a total myth, and we’ll address this in detail in the next post.
What do YOU think? What’s the earliest you got your puppy in for a full haircut? Let us know in the comments below!
The information on this page is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional groomer advice. Always seek the advice of your groomer, veterinarian, or other qualified animal health provider with any questions you may have.