How to Groom Papillons

His coat might not stay that tidy for long.

His coat might not stay that tidy for long.

Papillons might be small and fluffy, but they won’t stay fluffy for very long without a good grooming routine. Long hair together with a well-developed sense of curiosity and fun can turn that silky coat quickly into a tangled, grubby mess.

Check your dog’s ears after every walk. Remove burrs or anything else caught in the fur and brush or wipe away dirt. The comb or blunt-nose scissors might be needed for some objects. Pet MD notes that a Papillon's large, furry ears can attract all sorts of things. The same goes for the legs and tail. If at any point you notice a bad smell or a discharge coming from his ears, make an appointment with your vet.

Brush him twice a week, using a metal comb to tease out any tangles. Fortunately, a Papillon's coat, although long, has only a single layer, which makes brushing is straightforward. Brush his entire coat, not forgetting his tail, the outer side of his ears, his legs and belly. Use the comb for tricky places if you find it easier.

Brush his teeth using a dog toothbrush and paste. Papillons are prone to dental problems.

Moisten a cotton ball with water or an ear cleaning solution and wipe the accessible parts of his ear carefully. Do not push anything into the ear canal. Use a fresh cotton ball for the other ear.

Examine his eyes and feet during each grooming session. With the eyes, you are looking for a discharge or redness. This might indicate simply that a twig or something has poked him, but it also could be a sign of infection. Also look for signs of injury, such as swelling, on the feet. Active breeds, such as your Papillon, even though he is small, may encounter all sorts of sharp objects and stinging creatures when they exercise. In the event of any apparent injury, infection, bite or sting, it is advisable to take him to the vet.

Items you will need

  • Metal comb
  • Blunt-nose scissors
  • Medium to stiff bristle brush
  • Dog toothbrush and paste
  • Cotton balls


  • It is important to ask your vet or a professional dog groomer to show you the correct procedures for tooth brushing, inner ear cleaning and nail clipping. These are essential parts of grooming your Papillon, but without an in-person demonstration, you may risk hurting your dog.
  • Ear cleaning and tooth brushing should be part of the regular grooming routine. When his nails get too long, i.e. when they make a clicking sound when he walks, they need trimming, but this is a procedure you always should see demonstrated first.

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About the Author

Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

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