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How to Groom a Papillon: 7 Expert Tips

Visnja Radosavljevic

By Visnja Radosavljevic

Grooming a Papillon dog with dog grooming tools and brushes

The Papillon, also known as the butterfly dog, is a stunning toy breed that weighs between 5 and 10 pounds and reaches a shoulder height of 8–11 inches. These little dogs are extremely friendly, affectionate, and caring, which is why they make great pets for people of all backgrounds and ages.

Caring for Papillons is usually easy because despite having long, silky fur, these dogs have moderate grooming needs. However, due to their distinctive fur and body features, you’ll need to learn how to properly groom them in order to keep them healthy and looking good.

Here, we cover expert tips for grooming this breed and provide you with additional grooming details that every Papillon owner needs to know.


The 7 Tips on How to Groom a Papillon

1. Keep the Fur in Good Shape

A crucial aspect of Papillon grooming and care is keeping their fur in good shape. This dog has a long, silky coat without an undercoat, which makes grooming them much easier than grooming dog breeds that have an undercoat.

The hair of this breed is particularly long on their ears, chest, legs, and tail. These dogs also don’t shed much, which is why they make excellent pets for people looking for a low-shedding dog.

Since their coat is long, you should ensure that it’s kept in good shape. It’s usually obvious when a Papillon has a healthy coat, as their fur looks bouncy and silky.

Woman combing brushing a Papillon dog
Image Credit: Reshetnikov_art, Shutterstock

2. Practice Regular Brushing

Papillons don’t have an undercoat, so they don’t require much brushing. Typically, it’s enough to brush your Papillon two to three times per week to keep their coat in good shape. When brushing, it’s best to use tools like:

  • Pin-style brush
  • Bristle brush
  • Slicker brush
  • Tangle remover spray

You should carefully untangle any mats in your Papillon’s fur and use a tangle remover spray if necessary to make the process go smoother. Brushing can be stressful if your dog has multiple mats, so try to handle the whole situation gently and calmly.

3. Bathe and Dry Your Dog

Many people refer to the Papillon as a wash-and-go dog breed, as these canines don’t require frequent baths unless they get extremely dirty or smelly. That said, washing your Papillon once a month should be enough to keep their coat clean, silky, and shiny. Endeavor to use a high-quality dog shampoo along with a quality conditioner. This combination will nourish the coat and make it softer. After the bath, your Papillon can also get a good blowout.

Since this is a small breed, there’s no need for a dog hairdryer; your regular hair dryer should be just enough to finish the job. Always dry your dog’s body in a line-brushing style.

Papillon taking a bath
Image Credit: Vyshnova, Shutterstock

4. Regularly Check Your Dog’s Eyes and Ears

Papillons have extremely long ears that are prone to infections, which is why you should inspect your dog’s ears regularly and ensure that they’re dirt and debris free. If you notice any ear scratching, redness, or inflammation in your Papillon’s ears, speak with your vet.

As for eye care, you should regularly check the area around your dog’s eyes to ensure that there’s no discharge, irritations, or redness. This dog breed is prone to eye-related health issues, such as progressive retinal atrophy, so their eyes require extra attention.

5. Keep Up Regular Nail Maintenance

The Papillon is a toy breed, so everything about them is miniature, including their nails. They still require regular care, of course, though they can be tricky to cut due to their size.

When cutting your Papillon’s nails, it’s best to use scissors-like clippers and cut the nails one by one to prevent possible injuries. It’s also a good idea to have an antiseptic on hand just in case you accidentally cut deeper into the nail and cause it to bleed.

Dog nail trim
Image Credit: GaiBru Photo, Shutterstock

6. Keep Up Your Dog’s Oral Health

An important aspect of your Papillon’s health is oral hygiene. This dog breed is prone to several dental issues, so it’s necessary to keep their teeth in good shape.

The best way to upkeep your Papillon’s oral health is to use veterinary-approved toothpaste to clean their teeth, offer them dental treats, and take them to regular veterinary dental cleanings.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Trim if Necessary

The Papillon’s stunning coat sets them apart from other dog breeds. Unlike most, this canine doesn’t have the option of having a long or short coat. Instead, their coat is always long at particular body areas and doesn’t require clipping or trimming.

However, you shouldn’t be afraid to trim your Papillon if necessary. These dogs grow longer hair on their ears, paws, backs, and around their anus area, so those places might require slight trimming every once in a while to keep everything neat and tidy.

Photo credit: Victor Cayke, Pexels

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is It Important to Groom Your Papillon?

Caring for your dog’s grooming needs is an essential step of dedicated canine ownership. Grooming will enable your Papillon to stay in good shape, as their skin and fur will be healthy, shiny, and free of mats and tangles.

Regular grooming will also reduce the need for bathing and strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion.

How Often Should You Groom Your Papillon?

It may seem that the Papillon has long fur that’s hard to care for, but grooming is generally easy, as there’s no need for extensive brushing or pricey haircuts.

Ideally, you should groom your dog weekly and provide them with monthly baths to keep them clean. That said, the grooming needs of your Papillon can vary based on their age, activity level, and similar factors.

Do Papillons Shed?

The Papillon has a long coat but no undercoat, which is why they shed much less than many other long-haired breeds. As long as you regularly groom them, shedding should be moderate unless it’s the shedding season.

Generally speaking, these dogs are ideal for anyone looking for a pup that doesn’t shed much.

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Final Thoughts

At first glance, it may seem as if grooming a Papillon takes a great deal of time and effort. But actually, these canines have moderate grooming needs, and their requirements are not as high as those of other long-haired breeds, which is convenient.

As long as you provide your Papillon with regular brushing, bathing, nail trimming, and eye and oral care, you’ll have yourself a healthy and beautiful dog.

Featured Image Credit: SviatlanaLaza, Shutterstock

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