If you own a dog then you need to know about of basic care and grooming. If you have a dog with a smooth coat you may not need to brush them regularly, but there are still things you need to check. People often buy a new puppy without realising just how much they need to be groomed.
Some dogs need to brushed everyday and have a haircut at least every four weeks. This takes up a lot of time and if you can’t do it yourself you will need to pay to take them to the groomers.
If a dog is not brushed properly then their hair can become severely matted, this is very uncomfortable for the dog. All dog owners have a responsibility to ensure their dog is groomed properly. If you are new to dog grooming or could use some help then here are some tips to get you started.
Dog coat types
All dogs coats are different even if they are the same breed. However, every dog will have a coat that falls into a specific coat type. Knowing your dog’s coat type is extremely useful for grooming, as certain coat types should be groomed in a specific way. Ask your groomer for specific advice on how to groom your dog’s coat type.
A dog with a smooth coat will have hair that is close to their body. These dogs require the least amount of grooming of all the coat types. However, they still need to have their ears cleaned, nails clipped and to be washed occasionally. Dogs with smooth coats can also mault quite a lot so they need brushing regularly to remove their dead coat. This gives it a nice shine. Some examples of smooth coated dogs include Dalmatians, Boxers and Pointers.
Dogs with a double coat with have a dense undercoat with a longer top coat. These types of dogs need a fair amount of brushing to keep their coat matt free and in good condition. They need regular brushing to get rid of their dead undercoat. A few dogs with double coats do need cutting whereas others can be left as long as they are brushed enough. Some examples of dogs with double coats include Huskies, German Shepherds and Alaskan Malamutes.
Of all the coat types, silky coats are most similar to the texture of human hair. Silky coats need very specific care as they can get very knotty and tend to be quite fine. Silky dog’s coats look amazing when groomed, they look extremely soft and silky. Some examples of dogs with silky coats include Yorkies, Cocker Spaniels and Afghan Hounds.
Wool coats are very appealing to dog owners because they have a ‘teddy bear’ look. Dogs with wool coats need to be dried in a specific way so that their coat looks at its best. Most groomers will ‘fluff dry’ a woolly coat, this helps to straighten the hair. Some examples of dogs with wool coats include Bichon Frise and Poodles.
Although wire coats are not as soft to the touch, they have a very distinctive look. Many owners choose to have their dog’s hand stripped if they have a wire coat, as this brings out the best results. Dogs with wire coats have a harsh top coat and a soft undercoat. Any show dogs with a wire coat are always hand stripped. For pet owners, this isn’t always an often. It’s expensive and hard to maintain, therefore lots of pet owners will simply get their dog’s coat clipped and trimmed. Some examples of dogs with wire coats include Fox Terriers and Schnauzers.
These days there are lots of crossbreeds about which means they have a mix of different coat types. When two dogs with different coats mate it is extremely difficult to predict exactly what the puppies coats might turn out like. Dogs with combination coats include crossbreeds such as Cockapoos and Labradoodles.
There are lots of different brushes you can get for your dog depending on the texture of their coat. Slicker brushes are probably the most common type of dog brush, you can get hard slicker brushes for thick coats and soft slicker brushes for thinner coats.
Other brushes include matt breakers, coat kings and bath brushes. Brush in the direction of your dogs coat, being careful not to apply too much pressure.
If your dog’s coat is very matted or has a long of tangles don’t try and brush through it as it will cause them too much discomfort. Get their coat clipped or take them to a reputable groomer.
When bathing your dog make sure you don’t get water or shampoo in their ears or eyes. When washing their face hold their ears down or out of the way to keep the water out. If your dog is a little fearful don’t start showering near their face, start at their rear end.
Make sure you get all of the shampoo out, it could irritate your dog’s skin it is not washed off properly. One way to make sure you have done this is too look for bubbles and check hard to reach areas such as the armpits and stomach.
Towel down your dog in the bath to get rid of any excess water.
There are lots of different ways to dry your dog. You should always make sure your dog is dried thoroughly after a bath to prevent them from getting a chill. You can hand dry them with a towel although this will not get them completely dry. You can also use a hair dryer or a blaster but take great care not to burn your dog, or scare them too much with the dryer.
When drying try and aim the dryer in the direction of the dog’s coat. If you go against the coat it will create knotts. Turn the dryer down to a low setting when it comes to drying their face and if they still won’t tolerate it use a towel.
Don’t attempt to use this equipment on your dog if you don’t know what you are doing as you could hurt them. Stand dryers are also available for dogs with wool coats and dogs that are scared of other drying methods. If in doubt take your dog to a groomer and they can bath and dry your dog for you.