Checking Your Puppy, Grooming & Hygiene

Checking Your Puppy, Grooming & Hygiene

How To Examine Your Puppy

Knowing how to check and examine your puppy has always been important but is now more important than ever due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s a good idea to know how to keep an eye on your pets when you’re at home.

It’s good practice to have a regular look at your puppy’s nose, eyes, ears, teeth and gums, not only for the purpose of checking their health but also to get them used to you handling them. You want them to feel comfortable with you checking them over, touching their feet and lifting their tail to check their bottom. It makes the vet’s job easier if your pet is used to being handled and examined. This could ensure better health for your dog during their lifetime.

How To Check Your Puppy's Nails

Checking your puppy’s nails is very important. The video link shows how you can clip your dog’s nails at home, which can be really useful in the current lockdown situation. However, in normal circumstances we would generally recommend leaving grooming and trimming nails to your vet. We wouldn’t suggest trimming your puppy’s nails at home either. Puppies often have very sharp nails because they haven’t been outside but these will soon wear down as they start to go out more.

How To Check Your Puppy's Eyes

Try to get your dog used to you looking at their eyes. What you want to see is that the whites of their eyes are a clear, bright white and not red. You shouldn’t be seeing any discharge either– green or yellow discharge should be checked at the vets. Don’t worry if you do notice a small bit of dark, crusty discharge on the inside corner of their eyes, you can simply take it away with a bit of damp cotton wool.

How To Check Your Puppy's Ears

You usually won’t need to clean your dog’s ears, although you may sometimes need to depending on veterinary advice. As long as your dog is not shaking their head, their ears don’t smell and they don’t appear to be causing them any problems, ears are often best left alone. Pulling out the hair from inside the ear canal (stripping) can be useful to remove excess hair in the canal but is often best done by the groomer or vet if needed

Grooming & Hygiene

Grooming - Anal Glands

Sometimes dogs can get impacted anal glands. Looking out for signs of them rubbing their bottom or chewing their behind may help you to notice this. Dogs have two small, grape-like sacs by their anus, which can sometimes get a bit blocked, inflamed and irritated. If left untreated this can cause your dog pain, which nobody wants. The signs of blocked anal sacs are rubbing the bottom on the floor or chewing in the bottom or tail region. If your dog’s anal glands do get blocked, consult your vet, as they will need squeezing out. In some cases this will be needed fairly regularly, for example every few weeks or months and in other cases, they may never need squeezing again.


Another common question is when can I shampoo my dog? The simple answer to this is when they are dirty! Don’t feel like you need to rush to shampoo them right away, as this isn’t necessary. Obviously, when they are muddy shampooing is needed. So, we would suggest shampooing them as and when you think it is required.

Coat Trimming

Many breeds of dogs require regular trimming, so do some research and find a good dog groomer in your local area. Dogs can pick up grass seeds when running through long grass and these can easily get stuck and cause problems. They commonly get stuck inside dogs ears, so it’s worth keeping the hair around their ears trimmed to help avoid this. We’d also suggest checking your dog’s feet and ears for grass seeds when they come back inside from a walk

Top Tip: It’s a good idea to keep your dog’s fur trimmed quite short in the summer because of grass seeds and also when it’s really muddy as this will keep them cleaner. If you’ve got a dog with fluffy paws such as a Spaniel or a Retriever, it’s a good idea to have them trimmed fairly short especially in the summer months when grass seeds can be a big problem.

Oral Care

Tooth brushing is great for dogs! It’s a brilliant idea to start this when puppies are young as it gets them used to it early on and gets them accustomed to you handling the gums. If you haven’t done so before, you might find it difficult to brush your dog’s teeth but we’d recommend giving it a go and persevering. This is something that is definitely possible to do at home and it really does make a massive difference.

Top Tip: If you’re looking for extra help with teeth cleaning, Hills and Royal Canin food in particular are good choices because their kibbles are made in a way that semi-cleans the teeth. They have a special technology in them that helps with cleaning.