Poodle Grooming – A Complete Guide To Properly Groom Poodles

Not only do Poodles belong to the top 10 most intelligent dog breeds but they also belong to the list of the most challenging dog breeds to groom. Grooming a Poodle requires a lot of patience and time because of their curly and thick hair.

A Poodle needs daily grooming at home, lest, your dog will end up with tightly knotted mats that are very difficult to remove. Your grooming kit should include a slicker brush, a de-matting comb, a pin brush, and a set of scissors. Basically, your Poodle must be bathed, blow-dried, and brushed before starting the grooming procedure.

In the subsequent sections, we’d give you tips on how to properly groom your Poodle. Issues like how to keep your Poodle’s coat hair (not fur) silky and mat-free and how often you should bathe your Poodle will be shared. You’d also learn how to trim your Poodle’s face to keep it looking clean.

What about the eyelashes, the hair in the ear and foot areas, is it necessary to trim them? We invite you to keep reading to find the answers on how to keep your Poodle looking fabulous and elegant.

Do You Bathe A Poodle Before Grooming?

Yes, it is advisable to bathe your Poodle before grooming. Bathing and brushing your Poodle before you cut its coat helps get rid of mats, tangles, and dirt that can make grooming a lot more difficult.

If you groom before bathing, the dirt from the Poodle’s coat can clog the clipper making your job even more challenging to finish.

In this section, we’d give you the detailed process on how to properly bathe your Poodle and find out if you can immediately brush the hair coat while still wet. Can you let your Poodle’s hair dry out naturally? Let’s find out.

Image from Instagram:@villapinepoodles

How To Bathe A Poodle The Right Way

  • Make sure that the water temperature is neither too cold nor too hot.
  • Saturate your Poodle’s coat from the top of the head up into the back of its tail.
  • Apply mild shampoo and then begin scrubbing to form a lather. Massage the shampoo into its hair using your hands, and then use a sponge to clean the tummy and genital areas.
  • Then rinse very well. We want to emphasize the importance of rinsing because if shampoo residues are left on your Poodle’s skin, it will cause irritation and flaky substances, similar to dandruff. This is why a second rinsing is recommended.
  • Wrap your dog with an absorbent towel, blot the coat to absorb water. At all costs, avoid rubbing the hair coat with a towel because this will only encourage mats to form.

Now it’s time to dry the coat of your Poodle.

Can You Brush A Wet Poodle?

Yes, you can brush the Poodle’s hair coat even when wet. In fact, both the brushing and the drying process are combined as one cannot happen without the other.

Blow-dry your Poodle by using the lowest heat setting. As much as possible, use a blowdryer made specifically for dogs because these are designed to reach and fluff the dog’s undercoat and are less likely to burn their sensitive skin.

Blow-dry and brush the wet coat simultaneously using a slicker brush until the coat gets dry. Failure to do this only leads to more mats and knots.

Now, what if you have no time to do this step, can you let the hair of your Poodle air dry?

Can You Let Your Poodle’s Hair Coat Dry Out Naturally?

We do not recommend that you air dry your Poodle’s coat as this process will only increase the mats and tangles. Second, air drying leads to the growth of fungus in between its paw pads and in the armpits.

Not to forget that air drying can also cause ear infections, which Poodles are known for.

How Do You Maintain A Poodle’s Hair?

When it comes to a Poodle’s hair maintenance, there are 4 steps you need to remember, these are brushing, bathing, clipping, and proper diet.

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Daily brushing using either a pin brush or a slicker brush is highly recommended. This is because a Poodle’s hair is 80% cottony and dense, meaning the coat is very prone to matting. Daily brushing encourages the skin’s natural oil to be evenly distributed, resulting in your Poodle’s coat being shiny and silky.

Employing the line brush method, begin by holding in your non-grooming hand a 3-inch section of the hair and then start brushing the hair under it in a downward motion. It’s easier if you start with the hind leg and then work your way up in a straight line until you reach the back section. Then move on to the head, ears, neck, and tummy areas.

Finish it off by using a metal comb to remove the remaining mats. This process may be tedious and time-consuming but we guarantee you that it will make your Poodle’s coat silky and mat-free.


Bathe your Poodle once every 3 weeks. Color-enhancing shampoo products are what you can use on your pooch. For instance, a color-enhancing shampoo for Black Poodles contains green pigments that will bring back the uniformed black color of a dull and grayish Black Poodle’s coat.

For White Poodles, a brightening with color-enhancing pigments like the Seamus Cherry Blossom Whitening Dog Shampoo is the best choice to keep your Poodle’s hair white.

We love this shampoo because it is soap-free, making it the ideal choice for an allergy-prone dog breed like a Poodle. It contains a patented Pharmasone technology that penetrates into the skin that results in a longer-lasting Japanese Cherry Blossom Scent.

The Pharmasone technology also makes it possible to clear away stains and brightens the natural white color of a White Poodle.


Clip the hair of your Poodle at least once every 2 months. This dog breed doesn’t shed but the coat gets matted easily. If you fail to groom or clip its hair regularly, matting can lead to a dull-looking coat. Plus, matting pulls on a Poodle’s skin similar to a tight ponytail on a girl’s skull.

Proper Diet

A diet rich in protein and does not contain fillers makes a huge difference in maintaining the silky coat of your Poodle. Look for dog food that contains amino acids, omega 6 and 3 fatty acids because these contribute to the overall wellness of your Poodle.

Should You Shave Poodles?

Yes, we suggest that you shave your Poodle’s hair, in fact, we deem it necessary to prevent tangles and mats from forming.

Unlike other double-coated dog breeds that shed, Poodles only have a single layer of dense and curly coat hair that does not shed. Rather, the hair wraps around the other sections and eventually gets entangled that results in heavy coat mattings. This is the main reason why you have to shave your Poodle.

In this section, we’d let you know how to determine if your Poodle’s coat is already matted and what you can do to prevent this from happening. It is also interesting to learn more about the growth pattern of a Poodle’s hair.

Image from Instagram:@juchien81

How To Tell If Your Poodle Is Matted?

First, what is a mat? A mat forms when the coat hair twists together into knots and tangles. Eventually, these knots also twist together and form into mats.

To determine if your Poodle’s coat is matted, you’d usually feel some clumps in different parts of the body each time you pet your dog. Another way to tell is by combing the coat all the way down to the skin. If the fine to medium toothed comb gets stuck while combing, then that is a sign that your Poodle is matted.

Does Matting Hurt Your Poodle?

Yes, heavy coat mattings can hurt your dog because of the pulling effect on the skin. This can result in a lack of blood circulation which can be uncomfortable and painful.

Plus, moisture from bathing, snow, or rain can get trapped in the skin under the matted hair which becomes an ideal ground for bacteria to grow that can lead to painful hot spots in your Poodle’s skin.

How To Prevent Matting

Aside from daily brushing, regularly shaving your Poodle’s hair is the best way to prevent matting. Ideally, shaving should be done every 6 to 8 weeks.

Just don’t shave it to the point that the skin gets exposed. Leave enough hair to protect your Poodle’s skin from sunburn and rashes.

Hair Coat Growth Pattern

Unlike fur that grows depending on the season, the hair of a Poodle grows continuously from ½ to 1 inch per month. You can let a Poodle’s hair grow to any length you wish but that entails a lot of work and additional expenses on grooming supplies.

However, if you cannot commit to daily grooming, you are better off shaving its hair regularly.

Can You Groom A Poodle With Scissors?

Yes, you can use a pair of scissors to groom your Poodle but be very careful, lest, you’d end up hurting your pet. It pays to watch tutorial videos before you start the grooming process. Plus, learn from us on how to safely cut your Poodle’s face with a pair of scissors in the next section.

In the meantime, we’ll give you tips on how to choose the perfect scissors and the benefits of using scissors to cut a Poodle’s hair.

Image from Pet Supermarket

How To Choose The Perfect Scissors

The first thing to look for is the quality of the metal. Avoid choosing the one made with soft metals as these are thicker, heavier, and need to be sharpened all the time.

Instead, opt for scissors made with hard metals as they are a lot thinner and lighter, thereby making the job easier and safer to cut even the matted parts of your Poodle.

Secondly, always purchase scissors with rounded tips. This will give you the confidence in not accidentally hurting or poking your Poodle’s skin. Plus, the ones made with rounded tips make it safer to trim around the face, genitals, and ear areas.

Third, is the ergonomic design. It is best to choose a pair of scissors that have cushioned handles to give you precise control when cutting the hair coat of your Poodle.

The good news is that we found a product that has met all the factors we are looking for in a pair of scissors and that is the Pet Magasin Round Tip Grooming Scissors. As an added bonus, you get 2 scissors at a reasonable price – a longer pair for trimming the body coat and a smaller one to target the face and paws.

Benefits Of Using Scissors To Cut Your Poodle’s Hair

Every fur parent knows how sounds can cause a great amount of anxiety on dogs, and that includes the sound of an electric clipper. Scissors, like the aforementioned Pet Marasigan Scissors, is designed to be quiet so it won’t scare and agitate your Poodle.

The other benefit of using scissors is controllability and precision especially if you need to target areas such as the face, around the feet and legs, and the tip of the ears.

How Do You Cut A Poodle’s Face With Scissors?

The facial area is one of the toughest parts to trim in a Poodle but it is necessary to shave the face to keep it clean and free from tangles and dirt.

Over time, as the hair in its face grows unruly, food and other debris, as well as, encrusted eye discharge or eye boogers, can get in between the hairs and form bacteria that can cause some eye problems.

In this section, we will discuss the precautions to consider before trimming the face as well as the steps in trimming your Poodle’s face with scissors. We’d also teach you how to trim your Poodle’s eyelashes.

Image from Petcube

Things To Consider Before Trimming Poodles’ Face

  • Use scissors with a rounded edge to avoid injuring the eye.
  • Make sure the scissors are well-sharpened and ideally with a serrated edge that helps grab fine hairs.
  • Never point the scissors towards the eyes. Try to keep it parallel with the eyes or perpendicular to where the nose is pointing.
  • Groom its hair coat when dry. Wet hair can get caught between the scissors.
  • Grab an assistant if you cannot keep your Poodle still or use a grooming restraint.
  • Go slow and be patient. Always pause and take a break for a minute or two if your pet gets a bit anxious.

Steps In Trimming Facial Hair At Home

  • Prepare the scissors, brush, and comb.
  • Give your pet a wash and towel dry afterward. Blow-dry and use a brush and comb to fluff its coat and remove any knots or tangles. When it is completely dry, you can start trimming the facial hair.
  • Start trimming between the eyes and above the nose while your other hand is grabbing the hair under its chin to keep it steady. To keep your Poodle from moving around too much, try familiarizing it with the scissors by rubbing it lightly in the nose area.
  • Move down around its mouth and underneath the ears and cut evenly with an oval shape to give it a teddy bear effect. Remember not to cut too close to the skin since this is just a trim.
  • Cut and trim the top of the head like a pom-pom to give it that desired poodle look. Comb as you go along to take out the excess hair.

Should I Trim My Poodle’s Eyelashes?

Yes, you can trim your Poodle’s eyelashes since they can grow back. If the eyelashes grow into the eye, then they should always be trimmed to prevent any eye irritation. It is to the dog owner’s own preference if they want a longer eyelash for their dogs.

For darker Poodles, the eyelashes may be harder to differentiate since it blends in with the other hair. Always exercise caution and conduct the trim in a well-lit area to avoid accidents.

How Do You Remove Hair From Poodles’ Ears?

You can do this by either plucking or trimming the hair.

Poodles tend to have thick hair inside their ears, and it is common for them to develop yeast infections when it is not adequately dried leading to irritation and foul, strong odors.

Proper air circulation in the ear canal is needed to prevent this kind of problem which can be achieved by removing the hair from their ears.

Plucking involves pulling the hair and the root leaving a clear ear area. This does not damage the hair follicles, so hair eventually grows back.

Trimming, on the other hand, only shortens the hair strands around the ear canal. This promotes a thicker and denser hair growth in the long run that may allow more bacteria and dirt to accumulate if not done regularly.

In this section, we will tackle the issue of ear plucking and if this method can be painful for your Poodle.

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To Pluck Or Not To Pluck

Plucking ear hair is a touchy subject among Poodle owners. Some say that plucking increases the chance of infection by damaging the delicate inner ear tissue. They also say that healthy ears are self-cleaning and trimming the hair is enough.

But some will argue that not all Poodles are the same. A lot of Poodles do grow a lot of thick hair in their ear canal causing an accumulation of bacteria and ear wax. Some Poodle owners even say that their pets hear much better when the hairs are plucked because thick hair causes too much obstruction.

Also, if your pet is having chronic problems with ear infections, then plucking the hair out may be a good option. In the end, it is recommended to get some advice from your veterinarian regarding this topic.

Does It Hurt To Pluck Hair From The Ears?

Of course, plucking can hurt your Poodle if all the hairs are pulled in one big yank.

Have a professional groomer or your veterinarian perform this if you are new to this activity to avoid hurting your dog. Some Poodle owners will pull hair little by little with their fingers until it is clear.

How To Pluck Hair From The Ears

It is preferable to do it when your Poodle is tired or relaxed. Have some ear or baby powder and a hemostat ready and find a comfortable position for you and your dog.

Sprinkle some powder in the ear area for a better grip when pulling it out and then clasp some few hairs with the hemostat and quickly lock and pull upwards. Be careful in grabbing too much hair for this may frighten and hurt your Poodle.

Gently massage the base of the ears when you are finished and give it some treats so it will better appreciate this routine next time.

Should I Brush My Poodle’s Teeth?

Yes, you should brush your Poodle’s teeth and make it an integral part of its grooming routine.

Poodles are prone to dental problems, such as plaque, tartar, and gingivitis. In fact, 80% of dogs, including Poodles, are known to develop periodontal diseases by the age of 3.

This can lead to problems later in life especially in the liver and heart when bacteria travels through the bloodstream via the fissures in the mouth.

Problems with tooth and gum pain and eventual tooth loss can also impact your Poodle’s eating habits resulting in health issues like weight loss.

Teeth products specific to dogs should be used, instead of the regular toothpaste we use since it contain ingredients that may be harmful to our pets.

Image from Instagram:@johannathyren

When To Start Teeth Brushing

Poodles as early as 2 months old should start teeth brushing. Introducing it early on will familiarize your pet with this activity and problems with thrashing and biting will be reduced.

Dogs do not usually like the insides of their mouths getting touched so desensitizing it by rubbing their gums will be a good start. This can be done for a few days and after your dog gets used to it, you can start touching every tooth reaching deep into its molars.

Once this is accomplished, you can now introduce the toothbrush and the paste. There are finger toothbrushes you can use that will make it easier for you to navigate its mouth especially when your Poodle is just a puppy. Brush from the gumline to the teeth with small circular movements for a thorough clean.

Brushing the teeth for 3 to 5 minutes should be enough time to cover every part of your Poodle’s mouth. Take care to lightly brush its gums also and look for any black markings, bleeding, or tooth decay that may give problems later.

Is It Safe To Use Dental Water Additives?

Dental water additives are a good alternative to keep your Poodle’s breath fresh. It is the dog’s version of mouthwash, and it prevents bacterial growth, fights plaque, and minimizes tartar buildup. It is no substitute for regular teeth brushing but it has several benefits that complement your Poodle’s oral hygiene.

Dental water additives come in powder form, and they are added to the water bowl for drinking. Ingredients like citric acid and zinc chloride are usually present that minimizes the release of sulfuric compounds that cause bad breath. Sodium citrate is also used that prevents tartar buildup and bacterial growth.

How Do You Groom A Poodle’s Foot?

The Poodle’s foot is one part of the body you should never overlook. Overgrown hair and nails can get messy down there if not maintained properly. Plus, knots can get tangled with debris making it difficult for your poodle to walk.

This is why we’ll share the reasons why Poodle’s feet should be shaved and the procedure on how to safely cut the nails.

Image from Instagram:@kw.grooms

Why Are Poodle’s Feet Shaved?

Hair tends to get very long in your Poodle’s feet without proper maintenance since they do not shed a lot. It grows over the foot and in between the pads and it can cause knotting and matting if left unkempt.

Your pooch can start to nibble on it if it gets too uncomfortable to walk, the same way a stone will feel if it got between our toes. This, in turn, may lead to bleeding and infection later.

Groomers will usually shave the Poodle’s feet from the toes up to around the base of the big pad in the middle of the paw. The area between the toes and pads is also shaved being careful not to injure the web between the toes.

Keeping them short allows a cleaner look and makes grooming much easier. This also makes it easier to check for cuts and wounds around the paw area.

Dog grooming clippers with a #10, #15, #30, and #40 blade are used with the #10 being the safest to use when you are a beginner and doing it at home, while the #40 blades are usually used for dog show Poodles.

Also, light-colored Poodles are more prone to clipper irritation so a closer shave may not be ideal.

How Do You Cut A Poodle’s Nails?

Nails should be clipped just above the quick of the nail which is where the veins are located. It runs along the core of the nail and clipping beyond this will cause bleeding. The quick is easier to pinpoint on lighter claws where it is pink-colored, but it is where the natural “v” usually ends.

Start trimming at the tip of the nail first with dog nail clippers and work your way on the sides. Cut a little bit at a time to prevent injuring your Poodle.

It should be noted that the more you trim the nail, the shorter they will be because of the quick retracts back up. After trimming, you can use a Dremel or a nail file to even out the edges.

How Often Should Poodles Be Groomed?

Poodles require to be groomed fully every 6 to 8 weeks. As we said earlier, they are minimal shedders, the hair can grow quickly and form mats and tangles all over their body especially around their eyes which can cover their faces.

The ideal age to start grooming your Poodle is when it is between 11 and 16 weeks old. Anything before or after this is not recommended since it will be considered either too young when it just left its mother, or too old and not being comfortable getting groomed. 

In this last section, we’d focus on how often you should clean your Poodle’s teeth and ears. Plus, how often you should trim the nails of your pet. And, if you plan on taking your Poodle to a professional groomer, learn how much it will cost you.

Image from Instagram:@dsu_groomer.yukiko


Your Poodle’s ears should be cleaned once a month because of the nature of its floppy ears that hold more moisture. Swabbing the ears with an ear solution will prevent wax accumulation.

Ear plucking can also be recommended by your veterinarian every 2 to 4 weeks if it gets too thick that it interferes with the airflow in the ear canal.


Proper dental care is one of the most integral parts of your poodle’s grooming since it affects its overall health and well-being. This is especially true among miniature poodles which are more prone to dental issues.

Teeth brushing should be done at least three times weekly since plaque is constantly produced and tartar can form easily within the gum line.


Nails should be trimmed every 3 to 4 weeks depending on the size and activity levels of your pet. Poodles who are always indoors and less active may need regular trimming more than those who are always out running and walking since this wears out nails easier.

Also, if you notice the nails clicking on the floor, then it is definitely time for a trim.

How Much Does It Cost To Groom A Poodle?

The average price is $70 upwards every six weeks for a professional groom. Price depends on the size of the Poodle, and this includes the basic services like bathing, nail trim and haircut.

Additional services like teeth cleaning, ear plucking, and flea treatments have extra charges. You can opt to invest in grooming paraphernalia like hair and nail clippers, hemostats, and scissors if you want to do the grooming at home.

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Pete Decker