New Pet Parent Guide: How to Groom at Home Like a Pro

New Pet Parent Guide: How to Groom at Home Like a Pro

Dr.Mat Glassman
Last updated: July 1, 2021


Congratulations, new pet parents! I'm sure you’re in for a lot of exciting (and likely intimidating) “firsts” with your fur baby. We understand the emotional tug of war. And want you to feel confident as you start caring for your latest addition—especially in the puppy grooming department. That’s why we’re sharing pro tips and our all-natural, vet-formulated products that gel with your everyday routine. 

In this blog we’ll walk you through:

  1. What to know before you bathe (how often, how to introduce touch, and positive reinforcement) 
  2. How to pick the right products (all about safe ingredients and our best-selling grooming duo)
  3. Grooming time (final recap so you’re ready to groom)

We swear you’ll be a guru in no time!

Before You Bathe

Your puppy or kitten’s first bath is a big deal. It sets the tone for future cleaning and wellness sessions. Let’s make it a positive—and simple—one.

Don’t Overdo It!

Bathing your puppy too often will dry out the skin and harm its fur. We recommend washing once a month until your pet turns 6 months old. Puppies have very sensitive skin, so choose products with natural ingredients and without colorant, parabens, sulfates, or alcohol. Think: the gentler, the better.

Get Touchy Feely

It’s important to gradually introduce touch and handling to your pet. So before going bubbles out, softly stroke behind the ears, around paws and nails, and along the belly. Regularly cover all the spots you’ll be cleaning, so your pet isn’t surprised at groom time.

You should also practice getting your pet into “grooming position.” Gently hold them on a flat surface like a table or countertop. You can also support your fur baby in a lightly filled tub or sink. Testing the waters will help lessen the shock of their first real bath.

Don’t Forget Those Feet—or the Treats! 

While you’re easing your pet into touch, give their feet some extra attention. To prepare them for life-long pedicures, touch your pet’s paws daily. This reinforces from an early age that it’s just part of the routine. And makes them more likely to forgive a nail cut too short in the future. Trust us; it’s inevitable! Practice pretending to clip their nails while handing out treats. That way, they associate their pedicures with good stuff. 

Using positive reinforcement (read: yummy rewards and sweet words) before you bathe and as a nail clipping trade-off will make the actual experiences go swimmingly. Plus, your pup will form glowing behavioral habits early on. 

Picking the Right Products

Now that you’ve done the pre-work, it’s time to tackle the puppy grooming tools. We’ve got just the duo to help you launch your pet’s #selfcare routine: Dr. Cuddles Everyday Foaming Pet Dry Shampoo and Dr. Cuddles Pawfect Gloss™ Bubble Pet Shampoo. Consider these dermatologist-approved products your grooming godsends. 

Our puppy shampoos are made with all-natural ingredients and are safe for sensitive skins. The innovative set is basically foolproof. Or perfect for mindful pet parents balancing busy schedules and little sleep. 

Use the Pawfect Gloss™ shampoo for full, sudsy baths. Each pump of the hemp oil- and yuzu-scented solution soothes and nourishes your little one. Bathtime anxiety, be gone!

For between baths, apply our foaming dry shampoo. The pampering puppy and kitty shampoo soaks up leftover oil and dirt from any adventure. Bonus? It smells like Gerbera daisies and star fruit and conditions for days. 

It’s Groom Time

Ok, let’s recap. Before the big day, ease your baby bestie into touch. Gentle rubs and a dry run of bathing and grooming motions is key. Use treats for positive reinforcement. And if you haven’t already, add our all-natural Grooming Duo Kit to your cart ASAP!

Now, you’re good to groom. Don’t forget the post-bath social share if you’re one of those pet parents. (We definitely are.) And be sure to tag us on Instagram at @drcuddles! 



Dr. Mathieu Glassman, VMD & DACVS
Co-founder of Dr.Cuddles
Chief of Surgery at Friendship Animal Hospital
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