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A Complete Guide To Grooming Your Dog

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.

Smooth

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.

Double

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.

Silky

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

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.

Wire

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.

Combination

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.

The Process

Brushing

There are lots of different 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.

Bathing

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.

Drying

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 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.

Why dog grooming is important

Keeping your dog in top condition is vital, though many dog owners don't realise the significance of grooming your dog and the connection to better pet health. Grooming is not purely concerned with making your dog look good, it can have a significant effect on your dog’s health and quality of life. When someone usually thinks of grooming their dog, they commonly start with their dog's coat. Dogs should be brushed on a frequent basis, principally if they are long haired breeds. This will remove knots and tangles in their hair and also remove any dirt which may be present. Matting and dirt build up can advance to skin irritations if not sorted out fairly swiftly, which can cause irritation for your pet. Furthermore it can sometimes lead to more significant health problems further down the line. Moreover fleas are a universal problem in dogs and by monitoring your dog's hair you can keep fleas in check. Longer haired dog breeds will profit from having their coat trimmed regularly, chiefly around the ears and eye's to avoid weeping. There are a broad variety of dog-grooming brushes and combs on the market, designed to suit different coats. There are also products like Frontline which is a powerful flea spot-on flea treatment. A whole host of detangling products are available on this website.

Another key aspect of dog-grooming is bathing. This should be carried out on a monthly basis and at any other time when your dog may have become exceptionally dirty. It is always a good idea to use a dog shampoo rather than human shampoo. This is because these products are mild and designed to care for a dog's coat. There is a wide range available. Johnson's do a comprehensive range of dog shampoo products. This includes tea tree shampoo, coal shampoo, along with other varieties designed to treat a number of canine complaints. Furthermore bathing a dog also helps you notice any other injuries such as lumps, cuts and scratches. Most dog owners will know how difficult it is keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy. There are lots of dog chews and bone pet products available in pet stores, which help to keep your dog's teeth and gums healthy. Nevertheless it is suggested that a dog's teeth are cleaned properly on occasion. You will find that toothbrushes and tooth paste products are available online and in pet stores. If however you find this a real struggle, then your vet should be able to give you advice, or else there are professional grooming professionals available to complete this task. However this can be costly. If not, then give your dog regular teeth cleaning dental sticks. Pedigree does a great range of these products.

If your dog is energetic and spends lots of time outdoors, then nail clipping might not be necessary, however for smaller dogs it is essential. This is because long nails on a dog can be dangerous to you, other people and household furniture. You must ensure that you use the correct dog nail clippers and do not cut down too far. To conclude, dog-grooming is good for your dog, it will also improve the cleanliness of your home too. This is especially true if your dog is prone to shedding. Moreover grooming your dog will also create a special bond between you and your dog. They will feel loved and special. Overall, everyone (humans and pets) feel healthier and happier when we look good. A clean dog is a happy dog.

Dog Grooming Do’s And Don'ts

If you want to groom your dog then there are some simple rules you should try and abide by. Get your dog to get used to the grooming process and looking fantastic by following some of these simple tips. There are some things you need to avoid if you want to groom your dog safely and make things as enjoyable as you can for them. Of course if you don’t want to do the grooming yourself you can take your dog to a dog groomer. However, you will still need to brush your dog regularly and give them the care and attention they need. Here are some helpful do’s and don’ts when it comes to grooming your dog.

Do's

Brush Your Dog Regularly

If your dog has a coat that needs to be brushed regularly then make sure you take the time to do it. Failing to do so can leave your dog’s coat in a terrible state, this makes them feel uncomfortable and very difficult to brush through. If you leave your dog’s hair to get very matted then they will have to endure the pain of having their hair brushed, and if the matting is severe they will have to have it clipped off. Some dog owners don’t like their dog’s hair to be clipped off, but if brushing out knots and tangles takes longer than 15 minutes then it is cruel to continue.

Brush Before Bathing

This is a very important rule to follow. If you don’t brush your dogs hair before the bath then any matts will be made much worse as it tightens them. It’s also a lot more difficult to get the shampoo into hair that hasn’t been brushed.

Get Nails Trimmed

Your dog’s nails will wear down naturally, but they will probably still need trimming regularly. Keep an eye on how long your dog’s nails are and cut them when they start to get too long. You can do this yourself or if your prefer you can get a vet or a groomer to do it.

Rinse Off Your Shampoo

If you leave any shampoo on your dog it can irritate their skin, so it is very important that you rinse off all the shampoo. Be methodical and check all the hard to reach areas. Common places people forget to check include the arm pits, tail and around the ears.

A Health Check

Grooming your dog presents the perfect opportunity to do a quick health check on your dog. You might spot things that you wouldn’t otherwise notice. Feel your dogs body to check for any unusual lumps or bumps and keep an eye out for anything whilst drying them.

Use The Correct Shampoo

Get some high quality Dog Shampoo. Do not use human shampoo as it can contain ingredients that could be harmful to your dog’s skin.

Start Your Dog Young

If you want to get your dog used to the grooming process then make sure you start them young. They need to feel comfortable with being bathed and get used to sounds like the hair dryer and clippers. The later you start the harder it will be to groom your dog. Start when they are a puppy by giving them a simple bath and brush.

Choose The Correct Brush

There are lots of different types of brushes for dogs with different coats. Make sure you buy the correct brush for your dog.

Don’ts

  • Allow water to get into your dog’s ear canal
  • Leave shampoo on your dog
  • Brush a wet coat
  • Leave your dog unattended while grooming
  • Tug hard when brushing/combing
  • Forget to cut their nails
  • Hold their limbs awkwardly
  • Forget to brush out the undercoat if your dog has a double coat
  • Blow the dryer in your dog’s face
  • Get Shampoo in their eyes and ears
  • Leave too long between grooms

Extreme Dog Grooming Potentially Distresses More Than De-stresses

The RSPCA has voiced concerns about the growing trend of a number of different services that fall under the category of extreme dog grooming and their affect on the health and welfare of the dogs in question. Procedures which put fashion and style first, whilst highly unnecessary for dogs, have also, most importantly, proven to be discomforting and generally stressful for dogs to go through.

‘Harmless fun’

Although dog spa representatives have replied to these claims to suggest that the creative and extreme grooming industry is simply ‘harmless fun’ and that dogs enjoy the process, certain animal welfare charities are unsure of the basis of this suggestion and, furthermore, are worried about the largely unregulated nature of dog spas, whereby the services offered to people’s dogs may not have been checked by professionals who understand dog behaviour, thus meaning that they may unwittingly be distressing the dogs that they are trying to de-stress.

There is however of course a valid point to be made that it can be dangerous not to groom one’s dog enough, as this can lead to discomfort, with matted hair and overgrown nails and even infections being the prime causes of problems. However, might this growing industry be taking advantage of dog owners’ sincere intent to show their pets love and care whilst not always putting an interest in the wellbeing of the dogs first?

A growing trend

The Pet Industry Foundation suggests that the rapid growth of dog spas illustrates in turn a growing trend for people to humanise dogs and to treat them as they would a child. This in itself is no great problem, though it does begin to become a cause for concern when owners spend as £500 on ‘creative grooming’ procedures for their dogs which predominantly have a superficial focus on cosmetics. A spokesperson from the RSPCA suggests that this is indeed a worrying trend if it does continue to develop as, far from caring for the concerns of their dog, owners might increasingly view their pet as a mere ornament, saying that this intense pampering often ‘sends out an extremely worrying message that dogs could be viewed as novelty accessories rather than as intelligent, sentient animals.’

Misplaced affection

Though it may start as harmless fun, charities such as the RSPCA are worried about how this may change the way humans view pets in the long run, and therefore how this might negatively impact the level of care which dog owners may be giving their pets, perhaps misplacing money and misdirecting their affection by having their dogs’ hair dyed for example. There are however many spas who do not use dye and have an ethos which is opposed to that of the more superficially minded spas. These instead will focus on services such as massages and trimming hair and nails.

It seems that with all of this, the key thing is always listen to your dog and to make sure you are aware of whether they are enjoying something or whether they are not. Grooming after all should be all about the dog’s comfort and wellbeing and not purely about the owner’s satisfaction. It would appear that most dog owners understand this general rule, whilst others perhaps are too quick to buy into fads and fashions without thinking: ‘am I de-stressing my dog or distressing my dog?’

Getting Your Puppy Used To Grooming

Build Their Confidence

Puppy’s need to get used to the grooming process from a young age, so they don’t find it too daunting. Especially breeds that will need regular grooming as they get older, it’s best to introduce them to being groomed as early as possible. This doesn’t mean giving them a full groom straight away or cutting their hair. It’s getting them used to the essentials such as brushing, bathing and being dried. If you overwhelm them when they are young by doing too much they can be more difficult to groom. If you don’t feel comfortable grooming them yourself, take them to a grooming salon where grooming experts can introduce them to each stage properly.

Brushing

Try and start brushing your pup regularly so that they see brushing as a normal, enjoyable experience. Make sure you get the correct brush for their coat.

Bathing

Some dogs love a nice bath, but others don’t particularly enjoy it. Start by giving your puppy regular baths so that they can get used to the sound of running water and the sensation of being washed. It’s best to use a hypoallergenic or puppy shampoo for young dogs such as this one

Drying

A lot of dogs don’t like hair dryers and having air blown on their skin. It helps to try and use a dryer when they are fairly young so that they become used to what it feels like and aren’t scared by the sound of the dryer. Try and towel dry your dog as much as possible before using a dryer. You can take them into a dog grooming salon where they use professional dryers.

Nails

Your puppy's nails will probably grow quite quickly and need regular trimming. This is another thing that puppies need to be comfortable with. If you are worries about cutting them to short then get your vet or a groomer to do it for you.

Things To Avoid

  • Getting water in their eyes and ears.
  • Having the water power on too high.
  • Having the water too hot or too cold.
  • Blowing the hair dryer in your dogs face.
  • Getting soap in their eyes.
  • Overwhelming your pup by doing too much at once.
  • Being too rough when brushing out matts.

The Importance Of Dog Grooming

Grooming isn’t just about making your dog look fantastic. It’s nice to have your dog looking at their best but that’s not the only benefit of having your dog groomed. Many people don’t realise just how important it is, especially for dog breeds with longer, thicker hair. If you are thinking of getting a dog that requires a lot of grooming then you need to make sure you have the time and finances to have them groomed regularly. Here are a few reasons why dog grooming is so important.

Health Checks

Groomers are expected to perform a 7 point health check on your dog before they are groomed. This includes checking their eyes, ears, skin, teeth, gums, ears, nails and bottom. This will highly any health issues with your dog so that the groomer is aware when grooming. These health checks often pick up things that owners are unaware of such as hidden lumps and wounds. Owners can then get their dog the treatment they need.

Prevent Matting & Knots

You must make sure your dog is brushed regularly. You can brush them yourself and take them to a dog groomers if necessary. Matts are very uncomfortable for dogs and can cause them a lot of pain and discomfort. They can tear the skin, cut blood circulation, restrict movement and cause skin irritations.

Keep Nails Trimmed

Your dog should have their nails clipped regularly so that they don’t get too long. If they get too long they can cause injuries to the dog and injure people. You can do this yourself or get your vet or dog groomer to do it for you.

Cleanliness

A clean dog is a happy, healthy dog. It’s no secret that dogs love to roll in dirt and get filthy, but they do need regular washes to get rid of excess dirt and keep them nice and clean.

Dog Welfare

Dogs should be groomed regularly to keep them comfortable and for animal welfare purposes. If you let your dogs coat get really matted and keep them in a poor condition you could be prosecuted.

Getting Used To Being Handled

Grooming gets your dog used to being handled. It’s a good idea to get your dog used to grooming from a young age so that they get used to the whole process.

External Parasites

The grooming process will usually help to identify any external parasites your dog has that you may be unaware of such as ticks and fleas.

Understanding Grooming Products For Dogs

If you have a dog that requires a lot of grooming then it is useful to know what equipment is available. With all the different types of brushes, combs and scissors available it can get a little confusing, especially if you are new to grooming. It is very important that you groom your dog regularly to prevent knots and mats. If you leave their coat and it gets in bad condition then it can be painful for the dog to brush through, and you will end up spending a lot of money at the groomers. It’s definitely worth investing in some basic grooming equipment so that you can keep your dog’s coat in top condition. Here are some grooming products for dogs and what they are used for:

Slicker brush

A slicker brush is for brushing through your dog’s coat and it can be used on a daily basis. There are a few different types of slick brush including soft and hard, it depends what type of coat your dog has as to which one is best. If your dog has a thick double coat then it’s probably best to opt for the hard slicker brush.

Comb

Once you have brushed through your dog with a slicker brush then use a comb to get some of the remaining tangles out. Check the tail, back legs, ears and chest area for any knots. If your dog is very knotty then do not attempt to comb all the knots out as this will cause them pain. Take them to the groomers to get their coat clipped off. A comb is also useful to use with scissors if you are trimming your dog’s hair.

Furminator

Having problems with your dog’s hair shedding everywhere? A is a tool that helps you to brush through the undercoat and get rid of some the loose hair. It’s main benefit is that is reduces shedding and removes excess hair.

Nail Clippers

You should make sure your dog’s nails are clipped regularly using nail clippers. If you do not feel comfortable doing this then take your dog to a vet or groomer to get it done. Your dog’s nails can be dangerous and cause them injury if they get too long. Invest in some nail clippers and get into the habit of clipping your dog's nails regularly.

Hair Thinning Scissors

Thinning scissors are a safer option over normal scissors as they are not as sharp and contain teeth to gently remove hair. You can use these scissors to trim your dogs coat in areas where it is a bit thick and for basic styling. They are mainly used for thinning hair and not full styling.

Undercoat Rake

If your dog has a really thick coat then try using an undercoat rake to get to their hair underneath. Undercoat rakes are really good at getting deep into the coat where other brushes can’t reach. They also help to get knots out and remove excess hair.

Easidri Dog Towel

When drying your dog off you will probably go through a few towels. Easidri dog towels are much more effective than normal towels as they highly absorbent. They will dry your dog much quicker than a normal towel and reduce grooming time.

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