Vaccines Needed for Dog Grooming: Be Prepared

If you’ve just adopted a dog and are taking it to the groomer for the first time—or you’ve tried the DIY approach and are ready to hand over that work to a professional—you need to make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Dog groomers are legally required to check vaccination records for dogs before grooming them, as a means of reducing the risk of disease transmission between the dog and groomer, as well as between other dogs visiting the same dog grooming business.

Here’s what you need to know to avoid any last-minute hang-ups for your dog’s first grooming visit.

when to groom a puppy at Pet Spa Grooming Salon

When to Groom a Puppy for the First Time

Some dog owners think it’s best to avoid grooming until the puppy is older—waiting until about six months old, or longer—however, it actually benefits your puppy to bring them to a groomer as soon as their vaccines are up-to-date. In most cases, dogs have had enough vaccinations to visit the groomer between 12 and 16 weeks old.

Early exposure helps dogs acclimate to the experience of being groomed and makes it easier to train them to properly behave when working with a groomer. Early grooming sessions may be shorter, due to the smaller size of your puppy, and because shorter sessions will provide an easier training experience reducing stress on your dog. After the initial grooming, try to bring your dog to the groomer on a regular basis—every three months or so, although certain breeds require more regular grooming services. 

Vaccines Needed for Dog Grooming

Due to the individual health risks and considerations involved in the vaccine process, there’s no one-size-fits-all dog vaccination schedule. Your vet may have a customized vaccination timeline they recommend for your dog based on what’s best for his or her health. Regardless of the schedule you set for your dog, you will need certain essential vaccines administered before a groomer will provide services.

In general, these required dog vaccines will follow a set schedule:

  • 6-8 weeks: Parvovirus and distemper vaccines.
  • 10-12 weeks: DHPP shot, which includes vaccines for distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and adenovirus. After this vaccination, your dog may be eligible to visit your local groomer for the first time.
  • 16-18 weeks: DHPP booster and rabies vaccine.
  • 12-16 months: DHPP and rabies boosters.
  • Every 1-2 years: DHPP booster.
  • Every 1-3 years: Rabies booster.

You will need to make sure that vaccinations are up to date on the date of the grooming. If the next DHPP vaccination is overdue based on your dog’s age, your groomer will likely require you to get the vaccine before the grooming appointment.

Be prepared to show proof of rabies vaccination and other boosters and vaccinations as required by local law. You should also make sure your dog receives any additional required vaccines not listed above, which may be determined by your local government. Your local vet can make sure your dog’s vaccine record is in compliance with these requirements.

How Long After Shots Can a Dog Be Groomed?

If your dog is up to date on his shots, you can take him in for grooming any time after 48 hours from his most recent vaccination. Once dogs reach adulthood, they only require annual boosters for certain vaccines to be properly inoculated against illnesses. If you establish regular care with a local vet, the veterinary office will likely send out reminders when it’s time for your dog to get another booster shot.

If you bring your dog to a new groomer, you may need to offer your dog’s vaccination record, so the groomer knows your dog is safe to work with. Have these records on-hand to avoid last-minute appointment cancellations due to concerns over your dog’s vaccine history.

Other Rules for Dog Grooming

Want to set your puppy up for success at the groomer? Educate yourself on important dog grooming policies before your dog’s first visit to provide a smooth experience for everyone involved. Common policies include:

  • Don’t bring dogs to the groomer within 48 hours of vaccination. Dogs may be irritable or in discomfort after receiving a vaccine and could suffer an adverse reaction from the vaccine during this time. Wait until your dog has recovered from the vaccine to bring them in for grooming.
  • Make yourself available by phone while your dog is at the groomer. Questions or concerns could arise during your dog’s grooming. These can range from your preferences regarding your dog’s style of haircut, to worries about rashes or other health concerns discovered during the grooming process. For the sake of your dog and your groomer, have your phone available and your ringer on.
  • Follow the groomer’s requests when it comes to assisting with your puppy or leaving the office during the grooming visit. While some groomers may want your assistance in controlling or calming your dog as they get familiar with your pet, it’s normal for groomers to ask that owners leave the office, or at least stay out of view to eliminate distractions.

Dog grooming isn’t just a luxury for your dog. It’s an important part of your dog’s health and hygiene, just like vaccinations—so make sure you stay on schedule with both services.