Dog Grooming Information
Why should you groom your dog regularly?
All dogs will benefit from regular grooming – whether they are short haired or have a long or fluffy coat. Not only will the coat maintain its clean and glossy appearance, your dog will look smart and feel more comfortable when their coat is managed and kept in good condition.
Cleaning and brushing the coat removes dirt and unpleasant odour as well as excess hair – preventing extreme moulting. It aids circulation and encourages new hair growth, preventing knots forming which can lead to skin irritations.
Regular grooming aids health checking, allowing you to possibly prevent any diseases such as parasites or identify skin complaints or any suspicious lumps and bumps. It should be done in conjunction with the regular health inspections that the owner should carry out themselves.
Grooming also helps the owner as well as the dog – allowing bonding by building trust in the relationship, encouraging socialization of the dog and accustomizing them to being handled. Grooming should be carried out at an early age to allow your dog to get used to and enjoy the process.
Different breeds of dog have different grooming needs. In general dogs will either be a 'bath and brush only' with de-shed (e.g. Labrador), a clip (e.g. a cockapoo), a handstrip (e.g. border terrier) or a scissor (alternative to clipping).
Unless for medical reasons (proof required) I will not clip a coat which is designed to be de-shedded only. Not only can this cause the coat to grow back thicker and uneven but it will remove any protection your dog has from the elements - and will not stop your dog from moulting unfortunately. Of course it's your choice whether to clip or handstrip, I can discuss the pros and cons of both with you, and will groom these dogs as per your requirements.
Why it is important for you to carry out regular health checks
Eyes should be bright and clear with an alert expression and no signs of yellow or green discharge. Check they are not cloudy, red or swollen. There should be no sign of involuntary movement and the eyelids should look normal.
Ears should be clean and odour free with no signs of discharge or parasites. Check they are not red or swollen and there is no excessive hair, too much wax build up or cuts. The dog should show no sign of itchiness or hold their head to one side.
The nose should be clean and moist to touch with no signs of discharge or bleeding. It should not be dry or crusty or hot to touch. Check for any small growths.
A healthy mouth should show no signs of gum disease, plaque or tartar. The breath should not have an unpleasant odour and the dog should not be salivating. Check for broken, retained or loose teeth as well as ulcers and tumours on the gums.
The inner cheeks and gums inside your dog’s mouth and should be salmon pink in colour. Darker/ paler in colour should be referred to a vet. When pressed, the colour should return within 2 seconds. They should not be inflamed or show signs of bleeding.
The skin should be clean and supple with a glossy and even coat. Check for signs of dandruff, scabs, and sores as well as lumps and colour changes, especially along the mammary line. The dog should not suffer from incessant itching. Also look out for hair loss and signs of parasites.
Check your dog is not showing signs of discomfort when walking and has good reflexes when touched. Nails (including dew claws) should be smooth and either white or black – they should not be flaky or break away easily or left too long.
Why you shouldn't let your dog get matted
All dogs should be brushed and COMBED regularly between grooms. This improves circulation and increases bonding and trust with your dog as well as reducing the build up of knots, leading to severe matting.
Extreme knots and matting can be uncomfortable for your dog as the knots pull on the skin. This can lead to restricted movement, dogs becoming lethargic, skin irritations and bruising, and in serious cases, possible haematomas once the matt has been removed and blood rushes back to the area.
As you can imagine, removing matts can be painful for your dog. They are difficult to manipulate and take a lot of time to get out, extending the time your dog is being groomed. This can result in your dog being fearful of future sessions as they don't enjoy the process. Grooming should be a fun pamper session for your dog, resulting in a clean and beautiful haircut - not a session where horrible knots stuck to the skin have to be removed.
It is SO important to introduce your puppy to being brushed/ combed from the moment you get them. If your dog is resistant to this, please speak to me and I can give you some tips to help encourage the process. Not only does this result in a happier dog, which is the most important thing, but it saves your pocket in the long run too :-)