PWD Grooming Needs

Getting a Puppy Series

Time for a Puppy
How to Select a Breed
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
PWDs and Kids
Where to Get a Puppy
Responsible Breeders
Puppy Placement
Health Issues

The six steps of a complete grooming:

1. Brushing and combing
2. Nail trimming
3. Ear cleaning
4. Bathing
5. Blow drying
6. Clipping/scissoring

Introducing You and Your Puppy to Grooming

Steps 1 - 3 should be done on a weekly basis, although brushing and combing can needed more frequently, depending on coat length and activities. Bathing and drying are best done every two to three weeks. Clipping is done as needed or desired, depending on your personal preference for your dog's appearance.


  • The Portuguese Water Dog, like Poodles and other low shedding breeds needs to be clipped or scissored on a regular basis. Their coat will continue to grow longer and longer, until it becomes unmanageable otherwise. You can learn to clip your dog yourself, or take them to a professional groomer regularly. The latter can become costly; so many owners opt to learn to groom themselves. It pays, in the long run, to purchase a good dog clipper, and keep it maintained. Even if you choose to have your dog clipped by a professional, you will find a good pair of scissors at home for tidying to be useful. Expect to pay $500 and up annually if your PWD will be professionally groomed.
  • A grooming table is not necessary, but is very helpful. It can make you and your dog more comfortable during the grooming process. Your dog does need to be on a solid, steady surface where it feels secure.
  • Brushes and combs are a must for every Portuguese Water Dog owner. Your breeder should be able to help you decide which ones, of the wide variety available, are appropriate for your needs.
  • Nail trimmers or a nail grinder are another necessary item. Even if you choose to have your dog groomed by a professional, nail care needs to be done at home, on a regular basis. There are several types of nail clippers available. Another choice for many pet owners is an electric grinder. Some of you may have such a grinding tool already, sold under various names such as Dremel.
  • Styptic powder, such as Kwik Stop is a good addition to your grooming tool box as well. Careful as you try to be, at some point you will cut too close and get the dog's quick (the live part) and the styptic powder stops the resultant bleeding.
  • The Portuguese Water Dog, like many drop eared breeds, can be prone to ear problems. Cleaning them out regularly can help prevent these. There are many good ear cleaners available over the counter, and from your vet.
  • Your dog will need bathed on a regular basis. A human shampoo is not appropriate for bathing your dog. Their pH levels and needs are different than your own. Again, your breeder can help advise you on a good dog shampoo.
  • Conditioners can be very helpful to reduce matting and keep coat from splitting when being brushed.
  • After a bath, your dog will need dried. There are a number of very good blow dryers on the market. An item many Portuguese Water Dog owners find very helpful is the "forced air": type dryer. This literally blows the water off of the dog. Once most of the water is out of the coat, a traditional hand held dryer can be used to finish.  
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