Poodles seem practically perfect. They are friendly, active, intelligent, and loving. They have low-shedding, low-allergen coats. You can find poodles of all sizes—from under ten pounds to more than sixty! There’s only one snag—grooming. Although poodle coats are beautiful and low-shedding, their fine, curly hair is prone to matting and needs quite a bit of maintenance. That means that caring for your poodle’s coat can be expensive or time-consuming.

But if you pick a DIY approach, these simple tips can help. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy all the great things about owning a poodle with minimal trouble.

The 7 Tips & Tricks on Grooming a Poodle

1. Groom Often

Frequent brushing makes a huge difference in poodle coats, especially if they’re grown out a bit. Brushing your poodle’s fur out several times a week helps distribute oils throughout the fur, leaving it healthy and shiny. It also ensures that serious tangles are resolved quickly before they have a chance to pick up dirt and become matted. The last benefit of frequent grooming is that it makes it more normal for your puppy, too—just another part of the routine.

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2. Choose the Right Brush

There are lots of options for brushing a dog, but most groomers recommend a slicker brush for poodle coats. This brush is square or rectangular, with lots of closely spaced teeth. It’s perfect for getting out mats, tangles, and cleaning fur all the way down to the skin. Make sure to be gentle and avoid scratching or scraping your poodle’s skin. Once you’re done brushing it out, consider using a bristle brush to smooth down the hair.

3. Use a Raised Surface

It’s not necessary to put your poodle up high, but many groomers suggest using a raised surface to brush or trim your poodle’s hair. A table, desk, or counter will work fine. This will make it easier to get to tough-to-reach areas and can help you control your dog more easily. Just make sure to clean the space thoroughly after your dog’s paws have been on it!

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4. Trim and Wash Every Four to Eight Weeks

The sweet spot for haircuts depends on the dog and the style, but most poodles should be trimmed every four to eight weeks. If you wait much longer than that, your poodle’s long hair might start getting in the way. Most poodles don’t need extra baths between haircuts unless they start to get smelly or play in a muddy area.

5. Bathe and Blow Dry Before Trims

If you decide to cut your poodle’s hair yourself, you’ll want to start with a bath and a blow dry to clean out your poodle’s coat. Because poodle hair is similar to human hair, some owners swear by sensitive shampoos and conditioners designed for humans, but a dog-safe shampoo and conditioner is guaranteed to be safe and non-toxic. Blow drying and brushing out your dog’s hair helps it to dry evenly and be at its maximum volume before trimming.

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6. Start Slow and Simple With Haircutting

The elaborate poufs of a show poodle’s fur might be exciting, but it’s best to start simple. Poodles usually get a “puppy cut” for their first year—a fairly short all-around cut that is easy to care for and easy to cut. Puppy cuts are great for learning the basics of hair cutting and helping your poodle get used to being trimmed so that it isn’t so scary.

If you’re starting with your puppy’s first haircut, they may need some time to explore the tools and get used to the sounds they make before you even try cutting. Once you get that down, there are lots of options out there for branching out—and the nice thing about hair is that a bad haircut only needs a few weeks to grow back.

7. Don’t Forget Nails, Teeth, and Ears

Grooming usually focuses on the coat, but keeping your pup’s nails, teeth, and ears clean is important too. Dental chews and doggy toothbrushes can help your poodle’s teeth stay healthy and clean, while nails may need regular clipping or filing to stay healthy. Poodles also need occasional ear cleaning to avoid wax buildup. These last few bits of grooming will make a big difference in your dog’s appearance and health.

Wrapping Up

Grooming is a big job, and poodles don’t have the simplest coats to care for. But once you’re done with the job, you’ll have a coat you can be proud of. And regular care and practice really makes a huge difference, with haircuts and brushing sessions becoming calmer and faster for both you and your poodle.

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